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On Sunday night, baseball fans, kids, parents and strong contingent of Oriole players and staff got together at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore's Inner Harbor for the 4th annual "Brian's Baseball Bash" to benefit the University of Maryland Hospital for Children.
The popular restaurant was seemingly filled to the walls with people -- several hundred or so -- for the sold-out event that was far more laid-back and friendly; thus, it gave a chance for ardent Oriole fans a-once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet and mingle with their favorite players for three hours or so.
Walking the event, you could see Brian Roberts mingling with fans and well-wishers, or if you traveled a few feet in front of you, Nick Markakis signed anything and everything; meanwhile, if you ventured upstairs, Orioles hurler Jeremy Guthrie was taking all-comers in basketball, and only a few feet away, you saw Jim Palmer and Dave Trembley at a bar minging with fans, taking pictures and signing autographs. Or if you turned in another direction, you saw Chris Ray playing games, Danys Baez chatting it with a small kid or uber-prospect Matt Wieters meeting a throng of people.
There was also an impressive display on the main floor with autographs of who’s who of baseball – stuff from Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro Suzuki, Ryan Zimmerman and more – to bid on, as well as a live auction later on the event selling memorabilia and opportunities to learn from the pros on the team with one-on-one lessons.
As far as the eye could see, there were players, fans and a ton of food laid out immaculately everywhere; however, Brian’s Baseball Bash is more than admirers celebrating their favorite players or getting an autograph or a picture, it’s all about a larger and vital cause -- improving the lives of sick children in the greater Baltimore metropolitan area and in the state of Maryland.
The event could not have been possible without Brian Roberts and it’s one that’s close to his heart – literally.
As most Oriole fans know who have attended a game or two within the past few years, he is known for spending some of his free time during season in Baltimore visiting sick children in the hospital and doing his part to lift their spirits. When Roberts was five years old, he had open heart surgery and despite it all, he beat the odds and has made a name for himself as one of the pre-eminent second baseman in the game; thus, as his career his taken off – he decided to give back to the community.
In a time where athletes have sometimes made headlines for all the wrong reasons, it’s nice to see someone like Roberts and the Baltimore Orioles do their little part to improving the lives of many in the community.
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