What a phenomenal day.
All of us at UMPS CARE Charities are overwhelmed by the support from not one, but two, amazing golf tournaments held on the same day – both raising funds to continue growing our programs. Most importantly, we are spreading the gospel about umpires at all levels giving back to the community and that helping people is an easy call.
The day began outside the nation’s capital, in Clifton, Virginia, where UMPS CARE teed off at the Westfields Golf Club for the inaugural East Coast Classic.
Brennan Miller, a Call-Up Umpire, approached us with the idea of this tournament nearly two years ago and it came to fruition Monday. Brennan, along with MLB Umpire Chris Segal, who both grew up outside of Washington, D.C., hosted the event, which attracted 100 golfers.
UMPS CARE president and retired MLB Umpire Gary Darling and UMPS CARE treasurer James Bowman flew in from Phoenix to support the event.
“I am so grateful to everyone who came out to participate in the UMPS CARE East Coast Classic,” Brennan Miller said. “It’s been a long time coming, and it was awesome to see everyone come out and support a great cause in UMPS CARE and learn more about the charity.”
Proceeds from the East Coast Classic will support a hospital visit to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., on November 16. UMPS CARE will deliver 100 Build-A-Bear® furry friends, outfits, baseball activity books and more to children undergoing rigorous medical treatment at Children’s National.
Meanwhile, out in Utah, longtime UMPS CARE supporters Randy and Dax Upton of Out West Officials, hosted Official-ly FORE Kids at the Hidden Valley Country Club.
“We feel the need to give back and be a positive voice for officials,” said Dax Upton (pictured below). “The umpires are usually seen as the bad guys, and half the fans are angry with you at every game. Here’s a chance for us to make a call that’s always right.”
The East Coast Classic was created as a way for UMPS CARE supporters who have not been able to travel to Arizona for our annual Golf Classic, which will be held in January on a date to be announced soon.
The event drew great community support, and we would like the recognize the people
companies whose sponsorships made this event possible. A special shout out goes to Taylor and Samantha Pepple for providing this great lunch and to Stefano and his team at Mighty Meals for a terrific breakfast.
Thanks also to Stephen and Ashley for all of their hard work behind the scenes here at the Westfields Golf Club to make this day so fabulous and to our friends, Jim Kirk and his crew at Ump-Attire for sbeing our cart sponsor and for being a longtime partner for the charity.
Special shout outs to Jennifer Powell and Kayli Michaels from The Powell Team at Keller Williams Realty, Craig Alden of Shenandoah Financial, Jesse West and New Look Home Improvements, Dynamic Officials, Nats Chat Podcast, and our longtime supporters and friends from the Mid-Atlantic Umpires and the Northern Virginia Baseball Umpires Association.
Our many volunteers – including Brennan’s parents, Charlyne and Mark Miller, and longtime charity supporters Kevin Cuddihy, John Epperson and Roger Wolfe helped make the day run smoothly.
UMPS CARE would also like to thank the Sauer family (top photo with Brennan Miller) for joining us. Their family had the amazing opportunity to meet the umpire crew for a Nationals game in 2019 when their son, Parker, was undergoing cancer treatment. Now cancer-free, Parker is back to playing baseball! We also want to thank Brandon Henson, a former minor-league umpire (and Brennan’s umpire school instructor), who now serves in the Air Force and also volunteers for the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, for sharing his story with us.
“Brennan and I feel fortunate that we can use baseball and umpiring as vehicles for giving back because we want to make a difference in the community,” Chris Segal said. “We have seen UMPS CARE programs in action, whether it was during a hospital visit or on the field, and we know firsthand the impact it makes on families across the country but right here in Washington, D.C., where we grew up and got our start in umpiring.”
This was an epic doubleheader, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year!
Photos from East Coast Classic courtesy of Eric Stocklin. You can find him on Instagram at @ericstocklinphoto
Your inaugural East Coast Classic Champions – (left to right) Nick Mull, Bill Rush, Mark Rowan and Brian DeBrauwere