All the transition this winter has not stopped the Orioles from venturing into the community, where their outreach has long been directed toward helping local children.In that sense, this year's OriolesREACH holiday party was no different. The 40th annual outing took place on Dec. 11, when Chris Davis led an
All the transition this winter has not stopped the Orioles from venturing into the community, where their outreach has long been directed toward helping local children.
In that sense, this year's OriolesREACH holiday party was no different. The 40th annual outing took place on Dec. 11, when Chris Davis led an O's contingent that hosted 80 grade-school students at Dave & Buster's in the Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Md.
Together, the Orioles served lunch, played games, signed autographs and took photos with the students, all of whom attend either fourth, fifth or six grade at The Commodore John Rodgers School in Southeast Baltimore. Once identified as a "turnaround school" based on struggling climate, declining enrollment, poor parental satisfaction and low achievement, Commodore has worked to change that trajectory in recent years.
Students selected to attend the party exhibited exemplary attendance, high academic achievement, strong character associated with the school's standards and improvement since the start of the school year.
The students' reward was a chance to brush shoulders with Davis, the Orioles' most recognizable player, and others sporting orange and black. Right-hander David Hess also participated, as did former O's Brian Bass, Al Bumbry, and Scott McGregor. The Oriole Bird was also on hand, donning a festive red-and-white twist on his usual plumage.
The event was hosted by Rob Long of 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM), the flagship station of the Orioles Radio Network.
"Getting an opportunity to be part of such a great tradition like the kids' holiday party is an honor and something I really value," Hess said. "To have a chance to give back to the community and the kids involved is really what the platform we are given through baseball is all about. I'm incredibly proud to be a part of an organization that utilizes these opportunities."
The season of giving didn't stop there for Davis, a two-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee. Davis and his wife, Jill, also delivered gifts to patients at a local hospital later in the week. Doing so capped a busy year of charitable work for the couple, who aid a variety of causes.
The Davises serve as ambassadors for the University of Maryland's Children's Hospital and work to help critically ill children through the Casey Cares Foundation. They are also regular donors to O's initiatives that assist underprivileged youth, military servicemen and women and abandoned animals.
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.