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Mascots visit kids in area hospitals
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07/14/2004 12:16 AM ET
Mascots visit kids in area hospitals
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The team mascots visited kids in two Houston hospitals on Tuesday morning. (MLB.com)
HOUSTON -- The team mascots got an early start on All-Star Game day festivities Tuesday. Fourteen mascots spent the morning delivering teddy bears to kids at two Houston children's hospitals as part of the annual All-Star Mascot Friendship Tour.

"I think it was the best part of the whole All-Star week with the mascots there," said Rita Suchma, Community Development Manager for the Houston Astros. "The kids love it and they have a lot of fun -- I think the mascots had just as much fun."

Suchma helped coordinate the mascots' visit to to Texas Children's Hospital and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"I hope the kids see that they're great mascots, great role models and just brighten their day," she said. "For us, it's wonderful to see that."

Build-A-Bear Workshop's mascot Bearemy helped the baseball mascots hand out the stuffed bears, which were clad in All-Star T-shirts and donated by Build-A-Bear.

2004 All-Star Game

Host mascot Junction Jack from the Astros headed up the visitation party. He was joined by mascot friends from around the league, including: The Bird from Baltimore, Wally the Green Monster from Boston, Gapper from Cincinnati, Slider from Cleveland, PAWS from Detroit, Mr. Met from New York, The Phanatic from Philadelphia, Pirate Parrot from Pittsburgh, Swinging Friar from San Diego, Lou Seal from San Francisco, Mariner Moose from Seattle, Fredbird from St. Louis and Ace from Toronto.

Kids and adults alike were happy to see the jubilant mascots as they made their way around the hospitals. The mascots excitedly greeted all the patients and hospital employees along the way, hugging and entertaining people with their rambunctious antics.

The mascots visited the children in their hospital rooms at the Children's Hospital and in a large playroom at the Cancer Center. Each child was given an All-Star bear and was able to take photos with the mascots.

The kids and families were excited to have the mascots visit them to celebrate All-Star Week.

"It was cool," said Martha Zapata, whose 3-year-old nephew, Anthony, is a patient at the hospital. "Day after day they see doctors coming in and they get scared, so this is something totally new, it was nice."

She said they are Astros fans and planned to watch the All-Star Game.

"Yeah, absolutely, we're going to watch it here at the hospital," said Zapata.

Manishe Sheh said her 5-year-old son Aumihar was especially happy to see Junction Jack.

"He was excited, he liked it," she said. "He likes baseball, he just learned watching TV. His dad was telling him how to play baseball, so now he knows the Astros, that's why he was excited."

Sonja Torres said she and her daughter Monica, 8, had been watching the All-Star festivities on TV this week, so it was great to see the mascots in person.

"I think it made her happy, and it was real nice of them to come and bring joy to the children," she said. "You should have seen her smile when she [saw them]. It made me happy to see that."

Her daughter said she was glad the mascots came to visit.

"They were funny," Monica said.

Torres was thankful to the mascots for bringing the All-Star excitement to the hospitals.

"It's real nice of them to dedicate some time to the kids," she said.

Christie Cowles is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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