UMPS CARE Presents the Seldom-Seen Charitable Side of MLB Umpires

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IMarch 13, 2010

The prevailing wisdom in Major League Baseball is that umpires are best when they are relatively anonymous. The thinking goes that the more transparent he is in a ballgame, especially the home plate umpire, the better he's doing his job.

Well, they seem to take a similar philosophy to life itself.

How many times have you heard about an umpire doing charitable work in the community? Sure, you hear it when an ump blows a call, but the good work many of these men often gets overlooked.

Well, I hope to dispel the notion that umpires simply put in their hour and a half of game time and nothing else. For the more one knows about UMPS CARE, the more genuinely impressed one is with how these guys truly care about the community.

These umps take time out of their day to visit children's hospitals and host kids waiting for adoption at ballgames. Too often, the umps are only noticed for mistakes; this work displays the heart they have and the good they bring outside of the baseball world.

UMPS CARE Charities' youth programs are the official charity of Major League Baseball umpires. They are holding an online auction that started on Friday and runs through March 22, and there’s something for everyone. Items include baseballs, jerseys, gloves, and other memorabilia.

A Major League Baseball jersey signed by President Barack Obama, the chance for you and friends to watch batting practice from the field, a pre-concert meet-and-greet with the Black Eyed Peas including floor seating, tickets to the 2010 All-Star Game, and “Lunch with an Ump” are just a few of the more than 100 items up for grabs in the UMPS CARE Charities online auction at

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There are plenty of items for the non-baseball fan as well, including golf outings, the President Obama signed jersey, a VIP pass to sit in on the Mike Gallagher Show, a photo and DVD autographed by Josh Duhamel, lunch with Maxine Clark, the “Chief Executive Bear” of Build-A-Bear Workshop®, and others. A selection of signed hockey and football memorabilia is also up for bid.

Better yet, all proceeds from the auction will help children, from providing tickets to big league baseball games for children awaiting adoption to Build-A-Bear Workshops for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses.

For the Chicago sports fan, here is a listing of some of the Chicago-centric items that are available in the auction:

-Lunch with an Ump and Chicago Cubs tickets; ask anything you've ever wanted to ask an ump over breakfast or lunch, and then go to that day or night's home game as his guest!

-Aramis Ramirez signed baseball bat

-Jim McMahon signed baseball

-Dick Butkus signed football

-Duncan Keith signed hockey puck and photo

“Our online auction gives sports fans the opportunity to participate in some once-in-a-lifetime experiences with their favorite sports heroes while helping seriously ill and at-risk children,” said MLB Umpire Jim Reynolds. “We urge fans to visit the UMPS CARE Charities website during the course of the auction—and come back often!”

I urge sports fans and even non-sports fans to consider taking part in this worthwhile cause. For more information or to bid on items, go to . Winning bidders will be notified after March 22.

Too often we only hear about the cheating of Tiger Woods, or steroid use by A-Rod. Well, here's a story to warm your heart for a change. So quit reading and get out to the website. What are you waiting for?