"This is a way of thanking them for their service," Thornton said. "I'm very grateful for our freedom. They allow me to play the game of baseball."
Service members said they were grateful for the experience.
"I know it seems odd," Jose Aviles, 32, a member of the Illinois National Guard, said of choosing a war-based video game for recreation. "But it's a piece of home. A lot of these guys would be playing this in their living rooms if they were at home."