SAN DIEGO — Major League Baseball umpires made a call that fans can agree with.
They put a smile on the kids’ faces who are being treated at Rady Children's Hospital by giving them teddy bears.
“A lot of people helped and showed me, and I figured that Spa (bear) was nice,” said Isabel Horvath, 10.
As children of all ages visit the table filled with various Build-A-Bears and outfits, you can see a wave of comfort wrap around them and their illnesses.
“Just to see the smile on their face, that gorgeous smile, it's unbelievable,” said Laz Diaz, MLB umpire.
Diaz may not be the Padres' favorite ump after Monday night’s call against the Orioles, but off the diamond, he, the Pad Squad, and Friar Faithful hit it out of the park at Rady Children's Hospital.
“I like that everybody is kind and greeted us nicely,” said Horvath.
Diaz is part of UMPS CARE Charities, a non-profit that allows umpires to visit hospitals nationwide while on the road. Since 2006 they've made 199 visits and given away 20,000 Build-A-Bears.
It's beautiful to get them out of their room for 10-15 minutes,” said Diaz.
For a brief moment, these children get to be a kid and not worry about being sick, especially on their birthday.
“To have her birthday in the hospital is probably not her first choice, but to have all of these people love on her and celebrate it has a profound impact on her and us,” said Richard Horvath, Isabel’s father.
This is a home run for families too.
“It's just being loved on. Sometimes you are in a room waiting on results or a lab report, and it's the joy she should be having as a 10-year-old,” said Horvath.
Sometimes comfort can be the strongest medicine a young patient needs.
UMPS CARE provides VIP experiences to participants from youth-based organizations and military families, visits to pediatric hospitals (complete with Build-A-Bear furry friends), and college scholarships. In addition, UMPS CARE supports families facing financial needs within the baseball community.
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