Major League Baseball umpire supervisor Jim Reynolds (left) and MLB umpire Dan Iassogna (fourth from left) got their start in umpiring at a course at UConn.
UMPS CARE Charities, the official philanthropy of the Major League Baseball umpires, is thrilled to share that two umpires who were inspired to pursue professional umpiring following a college course they took at the University of Connecticut took time out to give back to the community on Friday, November 10.
Dan Iassogna, a Major League Baseball umpire, and Jim Reynolds, who spent nearly 25 years in MLB as an umpire and is now an umpire supervisor, deliverd 100 Build-A-Bear® stuffed toys to young patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. This visit marked the 208th delivery of Build-A-Bear® furry friends since the program started back in 2006.
Including this visit, UMPS CARE has now delivered 21,295 Build-A-Bear toys to children in pediatric hospitals across the country and in Canada.
UMPS CARE was thrilled to have Hartford Yard Goats mascot, Chompers, on hand to add to the fun.
Dan, a native of Shelton, played baseball at St. Joseph High in Trumbull and followed in his father’s steps by becoming an umpire. Jim hails from Marlborough, Massachusetts, and played baseball at South Catholic High School in Hartford. The two met at UConn, where they took an umpiring course with former baseball coach Andy Baylock. They later went to umpiring school and both climbed the ladders through the Major Leagues.
Dan was the crew chief for the 2022 World Series and worked the 2023 NLCS. Jim worked two World Series, including 2018 when the Boston Red Sox won the title. Both were named MLB crew chiefs on the same day in 2020.
Both Dan and Jim are heavily involved in UMPS CARE Charities but this is the first time they visited a hospital in Connecticut. Michael Barile, a local real estate agent and umpire, and his wife, Jody Cox, also a real estate agent, reached out to UMPS CARE with the desire to host a hospital visit in Hartford. Now their dream has become a reality.
“Danny and I are so grateful for what we have been able to achieve on the field and to make careers in baseball together, thanks in a big part to Andy Baylock,” said Jim, who serves as vice president of UMPS CARE Charities. “Now we are able to come full circle and use our roles in sports as a vehicle to give back to the Hartford community. It is very rewarding and something we are both very proud of.”
“Jimmy and I have participated in many hospital visits across the country but to do this together at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, back where it all started is very special,” Dan said. “It might seem like a small thing to give a child a stuffed toy, but it is such a great distraction for the patients and their parents, and the umpires are very proud we have these opportunities to give back.
Jody Cox and Mike Barile supported this event financially and as event volunteers.