UMPS CARE Visits Tampa Bay

 


http://www.msplinks.com/http://www.umpscare.com/ / Ricky Roberts

I have to be the first guy to admit this today. Sometimes I have a habit during the game of not thinking about those guys in blue being anything other than sadistic holders of my emotions during Tampa Bay Rays baseball games. For some reason, the umpiring crews are the easiest people to not feel any pleasure for in the entire scope of MLB baseball.

We all yell and scream and question their every moves. But we as fans, do not get to see that other side of them after they take their rough exterior beyond the Home Plate club area back into their little room under the stands at Tropicana Field.

But recently the guys in blue came to Tampa, Florida to bring smiles for miles to some deserving youngster through the Umps Care charities. This is a non-profit foundation supported by the MLB umpires. With a new arrival of the men in blue coming in for the Oakland A’s versus Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field, the visiting Umpire crew of Lance Barksdale, Alphonso Marquez, Randy Marsh,and Mike Winters took some time out to visit with local children at St. Joseph’s Childrens Hospital of Tampa this last Tuesday. They were also accompanied by our own “Rays” blue man in the form of the ever loving mascot Raymond.


www.umpscare.com / Ricky Roberts


During their visit to the cancer and blood disorder areas of the hospital, the umpires went from room to room with pre-stuffed bears and  a huge collection of clothing for them provided by the Build-A-Bear Workshop Experience.  They spent their first part of the visit going to the rooms in encourage the youngsters to come out and help build their own personal bear,rabbit or puppy and were allowed to get one additional outfit for their animal.   

Lance Barksdale, set to work home plate in the Rays game later Tuesday evening, told Samuel Dearth in a Special to MLB.com article, “This is a wonderful way for our umpires to give back in Major League cities across the country.”  After visiting in the wards, the umpires set-up shop outside in the lobby area of the hospital and also provided additional stuffed smile producing animals for other children in the hospital that day.

The Umps Care program was founded in 2006, and the Build-A-Bear Workshop experience is called BLUE for Kids.  In the past 3 seasons, the umpires have conducted 31 special visits to hospitals and care units like St. Josephs. 


www.umpscare.com / Ricky Roberts


In those past events, the umpires have distributed over 2,500 huggable bears to community children. The events have a firm backing of such awesome companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gerry Davis Sports, MLB.com and The World Umpire Association.  We all know that umpires are not the cold-blooded individuals they display on the turf at our stadiums every night. These events instill that sense of community bond and also a reality of life that is important to all of us……….even umpires. 

If you would like to know more about this organization, please got to www.umpscare.com where you can find additional photos and programs supported by this fantastic organization.

Just remember the next time you  see an umpire near the sideline to just thank them for what they do in this great program. We might not show our love for them once the words “Play Ball” sound throughout the stadium, but it is great to know that these guys also have a release for the pressures and the stresses of this position within the MLB.


www.umpscare.com / Ricky Roberts

So by thanking them you might not get that close call at first base, or maybe that strike called on the black, but you might instill a sense of warmth in their minds that people do appreciate them outside of the uniforms, and beyond the chalk lines on the field.

4 Comments

Rays – thanks for letting us know about the other side of the umps. Certainly the last few nights in Boston we have been cursing the umps up one side and down the other!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

No matter what they do wrong, they are still more consistent than any other sport around.
And that says a lot when you consider how much is actually going on on just one play.
Great to see and hear some good news with regards to the men in blue.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

It’s great to see them showing support in the community. I’m sure the kids had tons of fun!
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

I remember going to the hospitals and clinics when I was in college and the Colts and it was one of the most mixed emotions days for me.
You are sad to see both the kids and the parents experiencing the pains of the illness, but some of the kids have so much energy it boosts you up at the same time.
But some of those kids are some of the bravest people I have ever met because they took the fight to the illness, not vice versa and lay there and suffer.
It humbles you at times, but also renews your sense of courage and commitment to doing all you can.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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