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Posted May 7, 2013
Rays Players Cobb and Wright Visit All Children's

Rays Players Alex Cobb & Jamey Wright
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 Alex Cobb makes a living hurling baseballs as hard as he can. But Tuesday morning at All Children's Hospital, the Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher had a blast tossing an oversized, cushy ball back and forth to a beaming little 5-year-old named Madison.

Veteran Rays reliever Jamey Wright is known for his towering, 6-foot-6 presence on the mound. Yet at this particular moment, he had a different kind of motion: a silly, stomping move toward two grinning little boys by their hospital-room door - brothers Omar, 4, and Carlos, 1.

Fresh off a grueling 10-game road swing and a painful home loss one night earlier, the two Rays took time out of their demanding schedule to pay a visit to All Children's patients and parents - one of several scheduled trips this season by the Rays in conjunction with Sagicor, a financial services company and corporate sponsor of the team.

Cobb and Wright's delivery was natural and heart-felt as they mingled with dozens of sick children, signing autographs and sharing words of encouragement - with furry team mascot Raymond adding hugs and dance steps for good measure. The impact they had during their 90-minute stay could be measured in smiles and buoyed spirits.

"It puts everything in perspective," said Cobb, whose mother worked as a pediatrician. "What these kids have gone through, and the struggles that they're going through, is what hits home. This helps you take a step back from what you're doing. You realize it's real-life stuff; it's not a game."

Wright found the visit equally meaningful. "For me, it means everything," he said. "Right now I've got three of my own children back in Dallas, so I'm really missing them. To come up here and be around kids, that's what I love. ... We've gone into rooms where they're not feeling good, and they're ready to get out of here. And hopefully us coming in here makes them happy and gives them something to think about other whatever is going on with them in this hospital."

Wright kidded with children every chance he got, and even engaged in an impromptu game of soccer with a 12-year-old boy, Chas, who explained he wasn't very good at baseball.  Cobb threw the pillowy balls back and forth to excited youngsters - or simply listened attentively as he spoke with kids and their parents and wished them well.

It was an outing to remember - one in which everyone came away a winner.