It’s been a long time coming but the wait was well worth it. 

For the first time since 2019, UMPS CARE Charities hosted an in-person hospital event with a full crew of MLB Umpires delivering Build-A-Bear® furry friends at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

The crew working the Orioles-Blue Jays series down the road at Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Mark Carlson, Jordan Baker, Ryan Additon and Nick Mahrley – took time out to deliver special stuffed toys to children undergoing treatment. Most importantly, the crew spent time with the kids, families and staff at the hospital. The kids loved the visit, and especially loved seeing the Oriole Bird! 

The umpires delivered 100 Build-A-Bear® furry friends, and kids got to choose from a variety of animals to call their own. UMPS CARE also provided 100 outfits for the new friends, baseball-themed activity books, crayons and baseball-styled stressballs. Green dinosaurs and Spiderman outfits definitely were fan favorites. 

After meeting some of the young patients in the hospital great room, umpires went to visit some kids at their bedside. Whenever the umpires came by, they saw many smiling faces. One patient had even practiced whistling for the past couple of days so he could greet the Oriole Bird in kind. 

“The experience of returning to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center after such a long time away,” said Jennifer Skolochenko-Platt, Executive Director at UMPS CARE Charities. “The Major League Baseball Umpires absolutely love spending time with the families, and we know the families feel the support every time we make a visit.”

UMPS CARE wants to thank Peyton Pike and the Children’s Life staff at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the media team at the hospital, and Will Kirk for capturing the special moments with his photography. Thanks also to the Oriole Bird for swinging by! 

We also want to thank our sponsors, Eisai, which has supported our BLUE for Kids hospital program and make these visits possible. To date, UMPS CARE has delivered more than 18,840 Build-A-Bear® stuffed toys to young patients at hospitals across the country and in Canada. 

To learn more about this program or how to get involved, email Jennifer Skolochenko-Platt at