MARQUETTE - Davin Malette took part in something Tuesday that Major League Baseball fans can only dream about.
The Negaunee native and Air Force technical sergeant from Mt. Holly, N.J., was one of 120 members of the military to hold the giant American flag used during pre-game ceremonies at the MLB All-Star Game.
"It was a remarkable experience," Malette, 36, said Thursday via a telephone interview. "It was never overwhelming, but it was awe-inspiring. I got a little emotional."
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Davin Malette, left, of Negaunee and Staff Sgt. Luis Rodriguez of Phillipsburg, N.J. pose with former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa on Tuesday at the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York. (Photo courtesy of Davin Malette)
He said he held a portion of the 1,600-pound flag, measuring "100 yards long and 40-50 yards wide" on the bottom left end right below the stars and stripes.
Malette said he had "2-3 seconds of my 15 minutes of fame" on the field.
"I was the last individual shown on TV," he said. "Afterward, I had 22 text messages from people who had seen me on TV."
His mother, Leanne Scarffe of Negaunee, was one of those viewers.
"I was tickled for him. He really loves baseball," she said. "It was so brief (him being on TV), but I was emotional. It was something different for him."
He was picked for the experience by the Air Force Community Affairs office. MLB saluted members of the military through People Magazine's Tribute to Heroes program.
"There were four slots available (to take part) through the 621st CRW (contingency response wing)," said Malette, a 1995 Negaunee High School graduate stationed at McGuire AFB in New Jersey.
"I put my name in and was selected. It was a remarkable experience from the moment I was selected."
He said once the National Anthem was done, the flag was carried into a tunnel at Citi Field in New York.
Malette and his fellow flag holders then had to exit the stadium, but were each given a standing room ticket to re-enter and watch the rest of the game.
For Malette, one of the best parts of the experience was before the ceremonies when he was able to watch batting practice on the field.
An avid Detroit Tigers fan, he obtained autographs from team All-Stars Torri Hunter and Max Scherzer, as well as Chris Davis from Baltimore, Mike Trout from the L.A. Angels and David Wright of the N.Y. Mets.
"I also saw up close (Tigers) Jhonny Peralta, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and (manager) Jim Leyland," Malette said.
His wife Rachel, and children Sydni (13), Matthew (7) and Lorelai (3), were unable to accompany him to the game.
"But we taped everything on our DVR and I watched the ceremonies later," Malette said.
"I was happy MLB honored all the troops and allowed us to be at the game."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.