By Mary Bubala

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There was a little Orioles magic Tuesday for some special Baltimore City school students.

Mary Bubala reports the team hosted its annual holiday party and made the children the center of their attention.

‘Tis the season — the Orioles offseason — to spread some holiday cheer.  Eighty students from Morrell Park Elementary School spent the day at Dave and Buster’s at Arundel Mills.

They got one-on-one time with players like Nick Markakis, Steve Johnson and J.J. Hardy, who flew in from Arizona just for this event.

“It’s just fun. It’s fun, you know, being able to play all these games with all these little kids. When these guys asked me to come out here a couple of weeks ago, I thought it sounded like a great idea,” said Hardy.

“It’s important to come out with the kids, come out in the community and just show the kids a good time.  You know I love doing things like this,” said Johnson.

The first- through fifth-graders were selected to attend the Orioles Holiday Party based on perfect attendance, making the honor roll and being a leader at school.

“It’s really cool because they took all their time from their family to come to us,” said one student.

“I never really thought I would meet the Orioles players, but I always thought I’d be serving the Orioles, not the Orioles serving me,” said another.

That’s right, the food is served up by the players and coaches, and gifts are delivered straight from Santa.

Each student is also given an Under Armour backpack and a new baseball glove donated by the Right Side Foundation, the personal charity of Nick and Christina Markakis.

“That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about the kids. It’s a time to come together as a community and have fun,” said Nick Markakis.

This year’s event marked the 34th year the Orioles have hosted its holiday party for children.  A different school is chosen every year.


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