When Major League Baseball umpire Chris Guccione heard about a 13-year-old who was officiating a youth baseball game that ended with adults brawling, he wanted to lend his support to the teen umpire. Guccione, who is from Denver, not far from where the incident occurred (in Lakewood, Colorado), reached out to the teen’s father and invited them to come to an MLB game.
Guccione is an active supporter of UMPS CARE Charities, the official philanthropy of MLB umpires, and he turned to the non-profit organization to support Josh and his family.
Through Major League Baseball, the Colorado Rockies and UMPS CARE Charities, Josh Cordova, the teen umpire, and his family enjoyed being special guests at the Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field on Sunday, June 30. The umpire crew, with Guccione on staff, will meet with Josh and his family before the game to talk with him about the umpiring profession and to provide a positive ballpark experience. All of the crew members - Guccione, Cory Blaser, Laz Diaz and Tony Randazzo - had a great time meeting Josh and his family. Josh even got a chance to meet Rockies Manager Bud Black and Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts!
This little act of kindess helped turn a negative situation into a positive one - and once word got out, it spread throughout the umpiring and baseball community and beyond. CNN even shared the story in this segment
Guccione provided Josh and his parents and brothers with tickets for the game. UMPS CARE Charities provided goody bags filled with all things baseball – including peanuts, popcorn and sunflower seeds, baseball hats and eye black – everything that we provide to our 800+ participants in our BLUE Crew Ticket program every season.
Guccione, now in his 20th season as an MLB umpire, knows firsthand what it is like to be a teen umpire in Colorado. He began his own umpiring career when he was about the same age as Josh Cordova and certainly can relate to the pressures.
“I am excited to see him and meet their whole family,” Guccione said before the game. “It is an extremely hard job to be an umpire and keep the peace and to make the calls. I just want Josh and his family to have a great time at the ballpark.”
This simple act of kindness embodies everything that UMPS CARE Charities is all about as our mantra is “Helping People Is An Easy Call.”
As Josh wrote us afterward: "I want to again thank you guys for the amazing experience you gifted me and family today. I can never put in to words how grateful I am. It was unfortunate that we had to meet under these circumstances, but I'll remember this day and you guys for the rest of my life and I'll remember all the positivity and support that has come from this very ugly situation. The crew was amazing and made me and my family feel so welcomed and comfortable. You guys have given me a whole new outlook on MLB. You all are the unsung heroes of baseball. You all deserve so much more appreciation and credit than you're given. If the MLB doesn't pan out for me I'm definitely going to follow in your footsteps and work towards umpiring professionally. Please know what an impact you all have made on me. Thank you Chris, Laz, Tony and Blaze!"
On behalf of all of us at UMPS CARE Charities, we want to thank Chris Guccione, Tony Randazzo, Cory Blaser, Laz Diaz, Dave Roberts, Bud Black, Major League Baseball, the MLBUA and the Colorado Rockies for making this possible.
PHOTO: MLB Umpire Chris Guccione with Josh Cordova on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Coors Field, courtesy of the Colorado Rockies