Normally, at this time of year, the Major League Baseball umpires are busy calling balls and strikes. But with baseball games postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing, umpires are trying to stay safe like everyone else.

Still, umpires at all levels are finding creative ways that they can give back to the community during this time.

Major League Baseball umpire Paul Emmel (and secretary at UMPS CARE) was recently featured in The Denver Post for his efforts working at a food bank, called Manna Care, at his local church in Denver – Cherry Hills Community Church. Paul and his 16-year-old son, Ryan, have been boxing and distributing food for more than 1,200 families. Paul has been participating in these efforts regularly and was concerned that the coronavirus outbreak would prevent some of these families from continuing to receive food they desperately need.

“The toughest part right now is we have so many social-distancing guidelines to go by,” Paul told The Denver Post. “So it’s groups of 10 or fewer. Everyone’s 6 feet apart. We’re all wearing gloves and face masks and keeping things disinfected. So it’s become an extra level of challenge, but it’s been met by everybody very well.” (Read full story here)

Paul is not the only umpire who is supporting the community.

Daniel Labrie, a member of the Central Maine Board of Approved Baseball Umpires (CMBABU), has called games at many levels of baseball ranging from high school to 65+ men’s leagues. With no games to cover, he has traded in his umpire mask and is now sewing masks for local healthcare workers.

Daniel has been creating hundreds of masks, sending them to the local hospital and area doctors’ offices.

Days into this project, he saw the impact of the masks firsthand. His 20-month-old daughter, Violet, suffered seizures and had to be taken to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Maine. Because of the coronavirus, only one visitor could stay with Violet. Mom stayed at the hospital. Daniel returned home and made masks for the nurses treating his baby girl.

Fortunately, scans revealed a cyst – no tumor – for Violet, and she was able to return home, but Daniel knows how valuable his sewing skills have become. Daniel’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. UMPS CARE shared video of him sewing while sporting an umpire mask, and ABC News featured the video (It has attracted 175,000 views and counting! Check it out here) and he has been interviewed by the YES Network.

Thanks also to Jim Kirk and his crew at for shipping Daniel a new umpire mask as a thank you for his efforts!

We know there are a lot of umpires out there doing great things on and off the field, if you are an umpire want to share your personal story or give a shout out to an umpire in your life, please email #Helping People is an Easy Call!