Orioles first baseman Chris Davis stayed late after Thursday's workout at Camden Yards to help host Crush's Homers for Hearts, the first of what he said he hoped would be an annual event to raise money for the Pediatric Heart Program at University of Maryland Children's Hospital.
In addition to the home run derby-like challenge event, Davis and his wife, Jill, hosted patients for a T-ball event and met with the event's participants and sponsors.
The Davis family partnered with the hospital last year, after he signed his club-record contract extension in January 2016. He's also hosting the Casey Cares' 5K on Aug. 5 at Camden Yards.
"We believe in everything they're doing at the hospital," Davis said. "I think that was obvious with our partnership with them over the past few months, and just meeting with them at the end of last year and getting to know some of the people who work at the hospital and some of the patients and their families, we fell in love with everybody and we're excited to get started. I'm excited to see how this plays out and hopefully everybody has a good time."
Added Jill Davis: "We're just thrilled to be able to host an event for the hospital. Their leadership, along with the children's heart program team, they're just doing amazing things for children in Maryland and even around the world who have heart conditions. The work they're doing there to improve their lives and not only survive, but thrive, [shows] they're really just committed to excellence and the research they're doing there is amazing. We're just happy to be a part of it and just help raise awareness."
Participants got to watch the club's workout Thursday afternoon after players returned from the All-Star break, then joined the Davises on the field for the event.
Dr. Steven Czinn, chief of the pediatrics department at University of Maryland Medical Center, said the staff there sees over 50,000 children each year, with the work going toward "cutting edge" research.
"We are truly the children's hospital for the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland, and that's exemplified every day by our incredible staff," Czinn said.
"We can't really thank the Davises enough for their commitment to our children's hospital, coming to visit families, coming to visit patients, our staff, our administrators. That sort of commitment is really priceless and has made such an incredible difference in the morale and spirit of our organization."
Around the horn: The Orioles begin their 31st annual OriolesREACH Food and Funds Drive, a three-day collection of nonperishable food items and cash at Camden Yards, on Friday. Over the past four years, the club said, it has collected over $118,000 and 28,000 pounds of food during the collections.