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Big League Stew

Army father dresses as umpire to surprise son during Safeco Field homecoming (VIDEO)

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics held an opening day in Tokyo on March 28, another in Oakland on April 6 and one more — just for old time's sake  — in Seattle on Friday.

"I'm a little tired of seeing them," Seattle ace Felix Hernandez told reporters.

That may be, but it'll be hard to tire of seeing arguably the best highlight from any of the three games. Watch what happens as 13-year-old Kyle Smerer is asked to take part in the "Steal-a-Base" onfield promotion at Safeco Field and is surprised by his father, Steven Smerer, an Army First Sergeant who had just returned from a tour in Afghanistan.
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Wow. Now that's a great homecoming.

And a great surprise, too. Kyle said he had no idea that his father was back in the country, let alone the ballpark on Friday night. He really thought he needed to get back to the warning track as fast as he could with second base.

[ Video: Red Sox catcher gets first stolen base despite embarrassing slide ]

Instead, Kyle was interrupted by his father, a 17-year Army veteran who had been out of the country since December. And it wasn't an interruption that Kyle welcomed at first.

From MLB.com:

"Somebody grabbed me and I was like, 'What are you doing? I'm trying to run back in a little amount of time,' " Kyle said.

He was in so much shock that it took him a few seconds to realize it wasn't an umpire. Instead, it was his father, First Sgt. Steve Smerer, who Kyle thought was still deployed in Afghanistan.

"I was really shocked to see him," a beaming Kyle said afterward. "I didn't know he was going to be here. I'll probably never forget this."

While Kyle's reunion with his dad was great, it was his teary reunion with 16-year-old daughter Kayla — whom you can see near the end of that clip — was just as emotional and highlight-worthy.

Seriously, what a great memory and what a beautiful family.

Thanks for a great highlight, Smerer family. And thank you for your service, sergeant.

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