BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s a staple at sporting events nation-wide. “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been played before athletic contests for more than a century, which means it’s been heard millions of times from high school fields deep in the country to the greatest international stages. Being a staple has its downfalls. It means some become numb or unaware of the significance of the song. Not so for Barons pitcher Carson Fulmer and his pitching coach J.R. Perdew. “I get the chills every time I hear it,” said Fulmer, the son of an Army veteran. His father, Art, was stationed at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and retired from service before Carson was born, but he carried those military values long after he hung up his boots. “It was a lot of ‘Yes sir, no sir,'” Fulmer said with a smile about growing up in a military home.
Perdew knows exactly what Fulmer means. Not only is he the son of two veterans, he served in the Marine Corps for three years. “I always compare it to high school football when you practice three-a-days,” Perdew reminisced. “It’s like wow. You never stop grinding. Not that I’d compare high school football to the Marine Corps,” he added with a laugh.
Due to his life in and around the service, Perdew takes the national anthem very seriously. He’s been known to chastise players caught goofing off during the pre-game ceremony. “I think just giving two minutes of your respect means a lot,” said Perdew. Long before stepping foot in the Magic City, Perdew coached in Venezuela where he says he also honored their national anthem. He said it’s important to veterans to honor every country’s national song. Fulmer also takes the anthem seriously, standing at taught attention during its playing. “That’s what a lot of guys take for granted, that two minute national anthem,” he said before pausing and adding. “It’s important.”