(July 19, 2003) -- It looked like a baseball game at LB's Blair Field on July 19.
Visitors entered through the turnstiles...
...and were met by people in festive attire who proclaimed, "Get Your Program!"
The "program" revealed this game was in a league of its own.
It was a wedding unlike any we've ever seen.
Deborah and Michael love baseball...and each other. "Attending many games and two World Series while dating, we just couldn't help but feel there isn't anything more appropraite than stepping up to the plate literally," Deborah told us.
Wedding guests signed in on a giant baseball.
The stands filled with invited guests as traditional baseball tunes played on the stadium P.A. system.
"It's a beautiful day for a ballgame..."
Ushers escorted family and VIPs to field seats between third base and home plate.
The P.A. announcer summoned the team -- the "Long Beach Groomsmen" -- from their dugout.
The Groomsmen wore custom pro uniforms with "Long Beach" across their jersey. The uniforms were styled after the Boston Red Sox.
And wearing number 11, the "pitcher," groom Michael.
The "pitcher" is greeted by his teammates...
...and warms up on the mound.
He was throwing good ones...above the knees and below the shoulders.
The crowd meets the "umpire," Rev. Jerry Shurmard.
Bridesmaids dressed in red were met by groomsmen and escorted down the third base line toward home plate.
Here Comes The Bride!
"Umpire" Rev. Shurmard pulls out a hand whisk and cleans home plate.
The wedding opens like a baseball game...with the Star Spangled Banner.
The flag flew in Iraq and Kuwait...where a familymember now serves.
Sacred words, solemn wows and then...
A "7th inning stretch" as the P.A. plays "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and ushers toss bags of peanuts to guests.
The newlyweds join in.
"Root, root root for the home team..." Deborah adds, "Go Angels."
You may kiss the bride.
The newlyweds exit, followed by bridesmaids and groomsmen who exchange high-fives.
Hamburgers, hot dogs...
...baked beans and potato salad on paper plates. Good! (And a lot better than some of the greasy stuff we've had at other nuptials)
Big smiles attest to a joyful day.
We wish the newlyweds many homeruns and extra innings.