On Saturday, the Nationals hosted their second and final blood drive of the season in partnership with Inova Health System. Several hundred fans turned out for the drive to donate blood to 15 local hospitals in Washington D.C. and Virginia.
Only 37 percent of people in the United States are eligible to donate blood and of those, fewer than 5 percent donate on a regular basis and hospitals are always in need of more blood donations.
"Whenever people can do it, there is always a big need for it. We need a constant supply coming in all the time," said Inova representative Terry Craddock.
"And the Nationals have amazing fans and an amazing ability to get their fans to do what we need them to do. They do make it fun with giveaways, tickets and it's just a fun time for the donors."
Those who donated received two tickets to an upcoming Nationals game, a Build-A-Bear bloodhound stuffed animal and a visit with Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard.
Clippard enjoyed meeting with the donors and learning more about the process. He has never given blood, but he's not afraid to and he looks forward to scheduling an appointment this offseason.
"There's a lot of other things in this city and this world that we can contribute to and be helping out with that are a lot more important than what we do as far as baseball players," said Clippard. "It's nice to kinda see that and be part of it too."
Clippard also recorded public service announcements promoting the blood drive.
"The important thing for us is that we're a vehicle for people to be able to donate blood," said Israel Negron, Director of Community Relations for the Nationals. "We can provide that special touch whether it's Tyler Clippard coming out and signing autographs, the tickets or the baseball bloodhound, all those things. It's a part of what we do and having people donate blood is so important."
h/t on the headline to Steve Repsher.