Tampa Bay Rays reliever Joel Peralta has his glove checked and removed by home plate umpire Tim Tschida in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Peralta did not remain in the game and never threw a pitch.
They're the guys on the baseball diamond everyone loves to hate. Umpires rarely get shed in a positive light. Fans always focus on the negativity of the missed call, but what happens when the umpires make the right call?
That's what the children at All Childrens Hospital found out this morning.
Marvin Hudson, Wally Bell and Jordan Baker loaded up their radio flyer carts with Build-a-bears and strolled the halls of the hospital going room to room handing out stuffed animals.
"They don't know me, Marvin or Jordan at all, but if Evan Longoria walked in to the room they'd know Evan, but people don't realize that we do this," said Bell.
Joining the three on the parade of gift giving was the Rays' mascot Raymond, who's known to heckle an umpire or two. But today he was the one being heckled at times, because the umpires were the ones the smallest children favored.
"Ya know we're used to the boos, that's part of the job, it's all about the kids, we could care less if they know we are umpires or anything it's all about putting that smile on their face," said Hudson.
Smiles were even more abundant than the bears being handed out.
"Kind of brings a whole different experience and feeling because we are stuck in here for a while so I guess it's kind of nice to have the umpires come in but it's a cool thing to see," said St. Petersburg native Taylor Miller.
Tonight when the umpiring crew takes the diamond at Tropicana Field, their focus will be on the play but their prescience will still be felt with the children they made smile.