MLB umpires to visit Comer Children's Hospital May 7

MLB umpires to visit Comer Children's Hospital May 7

April 30, 2008

Major League Umpires Ted Barrett and Lance Barksdale will visit the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital Wednesday, May 7, at 10:15 a.m. This special visit, organized by BLUE for Kids, a non-profit organization founded by MLB umpires, captures the spirit of the Build-A-Bear Workshop experience and brings it to the hospital.

This marks the second consecutive year that BLUE for Kids has sponsored this event at Comer.

"I am excited to return to Comer Children's Hospital for the second straight season and I'm proud of all MLB umpires participating in programs organized by BLUE for kids," said Barrett, a major league umpire since 1996. Barksdale, who was named to the major league staff in 2006, will be making his first visit to Chicago's newest pediatric hospital.

The visit to Comer is the second of 12 scheduled hospital events in 2008 by MLB umpiring crews around the league.

The BLUE for Kids children's hospital program is a fun and interactive event designed to reduce the stress that the family experiences when a child is hospitalized. Umpires offer children the choice of a pre-stuffed bear, puppy or kitten. Children can also select an outfit for the stuffed animal. Outfits include Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs uniforms, cheerleader outfits, surgical scrubs, pirate costumes and more.

"Hospitalization can be a very difficult experience for both the patient and the family," says John Cunningham, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Comer. "A program like this lifts everyone's spirits. On behalf of patients, families, and staff at Comer Children's Hospital, I would like to thank both BLUE for Kids and the MLB Umpires for reaching out and making a significant difference."