O's Bleier, Davis cater meals for hospital staffs

Giving back to frontline healthcare workers

April 1st, 2020

During these unprecedented times created by the national emergency stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, players around Major League Baseball are reaching out to help do their part. That charitable spirit could be seen Wednesday in Orioles reliever , who catered lunch for the emergency room staff at Wellington Regional Medical Center in Florida’s Palm Beach County.

A South Florida native who still resides there in the offseason, Bleier gifted Italian food to the entire ER staff. His donation came on the same day that Florida governor Ron DeSantis ordered the state’s more than 21 million residents to largely stay at home.

“Much respect to the nurses, doctors, medical staff, and everyone else working extremely hard in all the hospitals around the country to help people,” Bleier wrote in an Instagram post. “A small gesture compared to what they are doing on a daily basis. I hope everyone who is in a position to help someone else does so in this time of need. We will all get through this together [six feet away from each other of course].”

It was the Orioles’ second philanthropic act in the span of a week, after first baseman donated breakfast to the staff at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital to honor what would have been Opening Day. Davis and his wife, Jill, made a record $3 million donation to the hospital back in December.

Catching up with Crush
Davis called it “a very odd feeling to have Opening Day come and go, not having a chance to do the things you look forward to all offseason,” during a conference call with reporters this week. The Orioles’ player representative, Davis said he’s been “extremely involved” in the union’s efforts with MLB to address salary and service-time issues during the current layoff. The two sides reached an agreement last week that did not make any concrete plans regarding the schedule, but left enough flexibility for them to work toward their shared goal of playing as many games as possible.

Davis reiterated that sentiment several times Tuesday, while saying “the most important thing right now is for everyone to stay healthy and stay safe, and for those who are ill to get healthy and get whatever treatment, whatever help they can.”

“Baseball will be back whenever we get all this behind us,” Davis said. “I think baseball is obviously a huge part of my life and a huge part of a lot of people’s lives, but now the most important thing is to deal with this virus and kind of put it past us.”

Until then, Davis remains rooted with his young family at home in Texas, where he said he’s resumed a scaled-down version of his offseason training routine. Davis has said he added 25 pounds of muscle last winter by focusing on weight training, with hopes of reclaiming the power numbers he enjoyed earlier in his career. He had a resurgent spring, hitting .467 with three homers and a 9/3 walk-to-strikeout ratio in Grapefruit League play before games were halted.

“I am confident I can pick up where I left off,” Davis said. “If you are optimistic, which I’m trying to be, I feel like that was something I could look at as a positive. I know once we start up again, I’ll have an opportunity to go back out there and get more comfortable, get more of a feel for where I want to be. It was nice to see some results and to give me a little peace of mind, that what I was doing this offseason really worked, and just to continue doing that.”

Oh, Say Hays
Rookie center fielder also spoke of recalibrating his training regime during a wide-ranging interview with SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel on Tuesday. Like Davis, Hays said he’s looking at this layoff “like another offseason,” with an eye toward recreating his winter training routine in order to stay in shape.

Hays said he remained in the Sarasota area with Cedric Mullins, Dwight Smith Jr. and others until early this week, when he returned home to Jacksonville after his spring housing lease expired. Prior to leaving, Hays said that he, Mullins and Smith frequented a local Manatee County field to throw and hit on their own after Spring Training was halted. He said he hopes to be able to continue baseball activity in some capacity, if possible, during the layoff.

“You’re pretty much wiping the slate clean,” Hays said. “Whatever I was doing in December, that’s what I’m going to go back to doing, because that’s the timeframe we’re in right now.”