ST. LOUIS -- Welcome to Marine week in St. Louis. In the Fox Sports Midwest booth during the Phillies-Cardinals game on Tuesday night there were a few fireworks. Lieutenant Colonel T. Shane Tomko was in the booth to talk about the events of Marine week in St. Louis when he said this:
Col. Tomko: I'll tell you what, with that M1A1 Abrams we got across the street, if Halladay keeps on pitching well, we can fix that with one round pretty quickly.
Announcer: (awkward laugh) I'm sure you could. I don't know if we should say that, but you just did.
Col. Tomko: I can say whatever I want because I'm a war fighter, and this is the Cardinals Nation the last time I checked.
Fox Sports Midwest has issued and apology for the comments but fans in Philadelphia are still very upset. One live side comment has turned a non-story into a national debate, one that Lt. Col. Tomko never intended.
"I’m not trying to kill Halladay, not in a million years," Lt. Col. Tomko says about the joke he made in the booth.
"I was referring to his pitching ability and our ability to knock a ball out of the air with a thermal sight. The tank [M1A1 Abrams] can track multiple targets while moving in rough terrain at 50 miles an hour."
Could they track something the size of a baseball then?
"They can track anything,” says Lt. Col. Tomko. "If it had heat, they can follow it and Halladay throws heat."
Marine week "is about just showing America who we are," Lt. Col. Tomko says. "Their [America’s] sons and daughters and how great they are. These are the kids who miss Christmas; these are the kids who don’t get to sit in baseball games while others do because they’re defending our country."
There were 1,000 Marines at Busch stadium on Tuesday night to celebrate Marine week.
"It’s a chance for these guys to come home and a see a game and have some sanity and enjoy themselves and breathe and not get shot at or IED’d." Lt. Col. Tomko says. "It’s a chance for us to remember all of these guys around here in this area we’ve lost."
Lt. Col. Tomko enjoys going to baseball games and says he never meant anything against Halladay or Philly fans, stating that, "The Marine Corps supports Major League Baseball to the Nth degree."
Lt. Col. Tomko says there is something he would say to Philly fans if he was in the Fox Sports Midwest booth again tonight. "Well, just tell them I’m looking forward to a Philadelphia-Red Sox World Series," says Lt. Col. Tomko.