Team’s visit to children’s hospital is a big win after a bad loss

Syracuse Chiefs pitcher Mitch Lively signs a team photo for a patient at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.

Syracuse Chiefs pitcher Mitch Lively signs a team photo for a patient at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

A professional baseball player whose team gets clobbered, yet shows up the next morning at a children’s hospital — I mean really shows up, doesn’t just phone it in —  is more than OK in my book.

Ten players from the Syracuse Chiefs, the minor league Class AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals, did just that Tuesday. They brought a lot of smiles to pediatric patients at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse.

The players stayed a good two hours, handing out souvenirs, talking with kids and their parents and signing autographs. Pitcher Matt Grace read a children’s book aloud (“Knuckleball Ned,” by Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey). None of the players seemed to be in any hurry to leave, and the adults in the room were just as happy as the kids about that.

Three players were particularly impressive.

Starting pitcher Taylor Hill leaves the mound in the fifth inning of Monday night's loss.

Starting pitcher Taylor Hill leaves the mound in the fifth inning of Monday night’s loss.

Taylor Hill was the starting pitcher for the Chiefs Monday, and his night didn’t go well. Hill lasted just four-plus innings and gave up seven runs in a 9-3 loss. He’s still having a very good season, with 10 wins and 6 losses, and a solid Earned Run Average.

At the hospital, you’d never have guessed from Hill’s demeanor that he had taken a tough loss just 12 hours earlier. He was full of smiles and very “present” with the children. As he and his teammates prepared to leave, Hill was more than gracious to a hospital representative.

“Thanks for having us,” he said. “This was awesome.”

A patient's autograph book featuring signatures of Syracuse Chiefs baseball players.

A patient’s autograph book featuring signatures of Syracuse Chiefs baseball players.

Mitch Lively, another pitcher, was acquired just a few weeks ago from the San Francisco Giants organization. Lively took a great deal of time with several patients, even sitting down next to one and taking turns drawing a Chiefs’ logo with him.

“Look how much better yours is than mine,” Lively told him.

Greg Dobbs, who went hitless in four at-bats the night before, took his time with the patients as well. During introductions at the beginning of the Chiefs’ visit, Dobbs said his seven-year-old daughter was starting second grade this week and it was difficult to be 3,000 miles away.

Pitcher Taylor Hill with a patient at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.

Pitcher Taylor Hill with a patient at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

As a Class AAA minor league team, the Chiefs are one step away from the majors. Several Chiefs, including hospital visitors Hill, Dobbs, Aaron Barrett, Tyler Moore and Blake Treinen, have been in “the bigs” off and on and are trying to work their way back up. (Dobbs was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2008 World Series champions.)

The Nationals are in first place in the National League East, and the Chiefs are atop the International League’s North division. That kind of  success will make for some interesting player decisions next month as the post-season arrives.

I’ve been a baseball fan all my life, and those close to me know I’m partial to the Boston Red Sox in the American League and the Washington Nationals in the National League. After the hospital visit by the Syracuse Chiefs, I’ll be rooting for these guys as well.

Syracuse Chiefs

Greg Dobbs of the Syracuse Chiefs signs a team photo for a hospital patient.

 

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About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in Baseball, books, children's hospital, Irish Investigations, role models and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Team’s visit to children’s hospital is a big win after a bad loss

  1. markbialczak says:

    Class guys on our Class AAA team, Jim. I’m glad they showed the children and the adults at Golisano how much they bring to life and our city. Thank you Taylor, Mitch and Greg. I’m proud to have been rooting for your squad out at NBT Bank Stadium this season. Thank you for telling us about their graciousness, Mr. McKeever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Klee says:

    I am so impressed by our Chiefs. How wonderful the have support from our local team. The Syracuse Silver Knights have visited our school and performed for the kids. I am so happy to see our sports teams be present and giving to our community.

    Like

  3. I love when local celebrities do wonderful things for kids!
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Jim. It sounds like these men know what’s more important. The game is wonderful and gives a lot of people a lot to do (work for some, enjoyment and relaxing for others). But they sure knew the importance and priority for these children. Class alright, and it has nothing to do with the rating of the team.

    Like

  5. Jim McKeever says:

    Colleen, I bet not one of those kids had a clue as to the team’s won-loss record, or how any of the players fared the night before. Dobbs, by the way, had two clutch hits later that night to help the Chiefs win. Karma??

    Like

  6. I love it when I hear about events like this. It’s heartwarming, and it’s a nice reassurance that there is hope.

    Like

  7. Pingback: A turnaround season ends too soon | markbialczak

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