The men in blue made a few new friends on Tuesday, before donning their usual garb and taking the field at Nationals Park for a game between the Rockies and Nationals.
The four-man crew assigned to the four-game series - Jerry Meals, Ron Kulpa, Gabe Morales and John Libka - took time out of their schedules to visit patients at Children’s Nationals Medical Center and their families as part of the UMPS CARE Charities BLUE for Kids program.
Instead of balls and strikes, safe or out, fair or foul, the arbiters made calls on children battling series illnesses and their families. Patients were able to choose from a variety of pre-stuffed Build-A-Bear animals, as well as clothing outfits for their new furry friends - including bear-sized Nationals uniforms.
UMPS CARE Charities was founded by Major League Baseball umpires to enrich the lives of at-risk youth and children coping with serious illnesses. This was the 157th visit MLB umpires have hosted since the program’s inception in 2006 and the seventh of 16 visits during the 2019 campaign.
The visit was made possible by support from Eisai.
For more about UMPS CARE Charities, click here.