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Fox Sports' Impemba Brings Tigers Opening Day to Troops

Tigers fans serving in the U.S. Armed Forces can receive a free three-hour DVD of Opening Day 2011, courtesy of Fox Sports Tigers announcer Mario Impemba.

As U.S. servicemen and women perform their duties abroad, Fox Sports Detroit announcer and Macomb Township resident is working to bring them “Operation Opening Day” from home.

For the third year, Impemba, in cooperation with the Tigers and Major League Baseball Productions, is offering a free, three-hour DVD of Tigers Opening Day 2011 to Detroit Tigers fans currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

From pregame and postgame commentary, to coverage of the Tigers 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals, the DVD “tries to capture the flavor of the entire day,” Impemba said.

“That was the main purpose (of the project), to bring the entire event to them,” he added. 

Impemba said he was inspired to pursue this project four years ago, following a visit to a group of reservists in East Lansing.

“They were saying they were going to be sad that they would not be (at Tigers Opening Day),” he said. “Part of their lives were tied to Tigers baseball and I thought there had to be a way that if they can’t make it to the ball game, we can bring it to them.”

Operation Opening Day was born and to date, some 3,000 DVDs have been sent to servicemen and women around the world.

“It’s more than just Opening Day,” Impemba said. “It’s all the events surrounding it as well. (The DVD) makes them feel as if they are home again.”

Although the content of the DVD is usually several months old by the time it reaches its military destination, Impemba said it is the DVD's ability to reconnect the viewer with home that is the true purpose of the project.

“If it brings a little piece of home to them where they can forget about what they’re doing, then that is what’s important,” Impemba said. “They’re given a chance to think back on home for a little bit and it gives them an outlet to let them forget about what they’re doing at the time, and make them feel better.”

Troops, as well as family and friends of troops, can order this DVD at Tigers.com/operationopeningday. Orders must include a valid military address (APO, SPO or FPO address, military base or ship address) and the DVD will be mailed directly to the recipient.

“I hope that as the years go on, this project can continue to gain momentum and we can have more and more of our troops take part in this,” Impemba said. “I think we take for granted the freedoms we have in this country and take for granted the people who protect those freedoms. I feel really strongly about what they do and feel it is underappreciated. Part of this project is to recognize those people who are protecting our interests, and if this in some way gets the folks at home thinking, then that’s good too.”

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