Before they handled balls and strikes, fair or foul, and safe and out calls for the conclusion of a two-game interleague series between the Nationals and Orioles on Wednesday, baseball’s men in blue brought some happiness to youth patients at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
Umpires Alfonzo Marquez, Mike Estabrook and Ryan Blakeney - part of the umpiring crew for the Nats-O’s series this week at Camden Yards - visited patients at Johns Hopkins, offering words of encouragement and Build-A-Bear stuffed animals to children and families coping with serious illness.
The Oriole Bird was also on hand as the umpires allowed patients and their families to choose from a variety of pre-stuffed animals as well as clothing outfits for their new furry friends. Among the clothing options were Nationals and Orioles uniforms.
The annual visit was made possible by UMPS CARE Charities, a nonprofit organization founded by Major League Baseball umpires to enrich the lives of youth and children coping with serious illness. This was the 156th hospital visit that major league umpires have made since the program’s inception in 2006 and the sixth of 16 scheduled visits this season.
For more information on UMPS CARE Charities, click here.