Orioles pitchers raised kids' spirits during hospital visit

While fans must be enjoying the good starting pitching they have seen from some of the young Orioles starters, you may not know these guys are pretty solid people, as well.

Pitchers Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta and Jeremy Guthrie recently paid a visit to the kids at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. They did this because they really wanted to and not so someone like me would write it about. They did it to help some kids who face real challenges right now and not because someone from the Orioles asked them or told them to do it.

"I went to a children's hospital at the Futures Game (last year) and I approached the PR people here with the Orioles about wanting to go to a children's hospital. It kind of puts you in your place a little bit and you understand you are very fortunate to be where you are," Britton said.

"Me and Jake have been making an effort and this is the kind of stuff we want to do. Jake and his wife are bringing a baby into this world and they think it's nice to take care of those kids for a day. We are going to go back and do it plenty more times."

Arrieta said the experience was very rewarding for him.

"Seeing the faces of those kids when we walked into the room, you could tell they weren't having great days and spirits weren't very high,"Arrieta said. "But as soon as we walked in there and got to talk to them and talk to them on a personal level, it seemed like it brightened their day. It made them feel good about themselves.

"That is something I really enjoy doing. Bringing happiness to kids that are going through tough times. To be able to use my name as a professional baseball player in order to benefit kids like that is a good feeling."

"You feel bad for kids like that because it's sad, especially with young kids that are ill or in the hospital for whatever reason. If we can come in there for a few minutes and make their day a little better, than that is worth it."

Britton said he enjoyed meeting every youngster, but one encounter touched him pretty deeply.

"The whole thing was special, but there was one little girl that was going through a rough time. The nurse told me she hadn't smiled in a while and I actually brought her a Nick Markakis poster. She opened up and smiled and the nurse kind of broke down in tears, which made me take a step back a little bit.

"My fiance teared up, too. It's just one of those things, where, for me, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but you realize it is special for these kids. So that's why I really want to make an effort to do that again. It touched both of us a lot and there is a whole different world outside of baseball that you don't see until you go into those certain things."

Click here to see a picture Guthrie posted on his Twitter account from the players' hospital visit.

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