Utica, NY (WIBX) - With the 2012 New York State American Legion Baseball Tournament gearing up, players took time to meet with veterans and residents of Utica's Saint Luke's Home.
Players from eight teams, including Whitestown, Oneonta and Adrean Post in Utica visited with residents, giving residents commemorative blankets.

Mike Macchione, director for the tournament, says players also brought baseballs, but not for them to autograph.

"It would be very simply for us to hand the balls to the residents and veterans here and ask the players to sign the ball, but that, to us, would be totally meaningless," Macchione said. "It's more meaningful, in a baseball way, it's more meaningful for us to be asking them for their autographs."

Michael Calkins and Ben Moxley play for the Oneonta post. They say the visit means a lot to both the residents of the home and to them.

"It's just a really cool time, just to soak up everything that is going on in the state tournament, and it's an honor to be here," Calkins said. "This is kind of a pre-game ritual. It's really fun to do and it's just awesome to be a part of it."

The American Legion tournament will be at Murnane Field through August 4th, with a rain day scheduled for the 5th. The cost to attend each game is $2 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under. But, if kids bring in a canned good, they get in free and the food is donated to charity.

For more information on the tournament or how to get involved, click here.