BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There was a flurry of activity at Camden Yards Saturday but it wasn’t due to baseball.

The Baltimore Orioles teamed up with the American Red Cross, Budweiser and the University of Maryland Medical System to hold a blood drive on Saturday.

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Among those who donated blood was Phillip Mark from Baltimore. The diehard fan was decked out from head to toe in Orioles gear — his Opening Day outfit.

“I figured since I was coming down, it would cheer me up,” he said.


Mark, like countless other fans, was disappointed the baseball season is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite that, the longtime blood donor wanted to help the community.

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“We have people that have food struggles, community struggles, people are getting sick, and I just think that it’s really important that you don’t forget this piece of it as well,” he said.

With COVID-19 forcing many blood drive to be canceled, blood donations are in need, especially as some elective surgeries resume, Red Cross district manager for donor recruitment Tonya Peters said.

“Now it’s starting the ramp up, so it’s very very important that we start to give now so we don’t have a shortage,” she said.

Around 200 people gave blood Saturday, potentially saving up to 600 lives. As a thank you, each donor got two free tickets to a future game this season or next year.

While the fans don’t know when they’ll be able to use the tickets, it gives them something to look forward to.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher