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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Foresters ‘Ster’ Up Smiles During Wichita Hospital Visit

Ballclub takes a break from playing for national championship to provide support for young cancer patients as part of its Hugs for Cubs program

The 2016 Foresters wear hospital garb as they meet with a young man who met the 2006 team when it visited Via Christi Hospital as part of the club’s Hugs for Cubs program to support young cancer patients. Click to view larger
The 2016 Foresters wear hospital garb as they meet with a young man who met the 2006 team when it visited Via Christi Hospital as part of the club’s Hugs for Cubs program to support young cancer patients. (Santa Barbara Foresters / Hugs for Cubs photo)

As they have every year they’ve been traveling to the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan, the Santa Barbara Foresters paid a visit Wednesday to Via Christi Hospital to continue their Hugs for Cubs cancer support program.

Two dozen hunky ballplayers filled the hallways and patient rooms for nearly three hours, delivering stuffed animals, playing games, telling baseball stories, and creating smiles as well as they have been hitting fastballs.

“We had a great visit with lots of kids,” said manager Bill Pintard, who started Hugs for Cubs in 1994 with his son, Eric. “The players were playing Uno and bowling in the hallway with the kids. This is such an important part of who we are as an organization and we’re always so happy we can help out here in Wichita.”

The Forester players cheer on a young girl who rolls a strike as she bowls in the hospital hallway. Click to view larger
The Forester players cheer on a young girl who rolls a strike as she bowls in the hospital hallway. (Santa Barbara Foresters / Hugs for Cubs photo)

Added slugging first baseman Hunter Williams, “That’s one of the best feelings you can have. You make those kids’ days and they look at you like you’re a hero. They brighten my day as much as I helped them.”

Pintard has been bringing his team here for more than 20 years. The connections they have made over the years continue to bring smiles and support.

“Earlier that day I was at the ballpark,” Pintard said with a smile. “I met a man who said, ‘You visited my son (at the hospital) when he was 1 year old.’ And then over walks this big, strapping 16-year-old kid who was once that little boy. Then later, we also saw a boy who was unfortunately back in the hospital, but we had seen him when he was very young, too. So it was great to be able to cheer him up again.”

The Foresters continue play at the NBC World Series on Thursday for a quarterfinal game, and they’ll certainly have some new young fans rooting for them.

Foresters manager Bill Pintard meets with a hospital staff member and a young patient at Via Christi Hospital. Pintard and the Foresters have been making their Hugs for Cubs hospital visit for the last 24 years. Click to view larger
Foresters manager Bill Pintard meets with a hospital staff member and a young patient at Via Christi Hospital. Pintard and the Foresters have been making their Hugs for Cubs hospital visit for the last 24 years. (Santa Barbara Foresters / Hugs for Cubs photo)

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