PHILADELPHIA -- Citizens Bank Park on Saturday looked a little different than it normally does on a game day. With the big league club out of town playing the Padres in San Diego, the American Red Cross teamed up with the Phillies organization to host its fourth annual blood drive at the ballpark. The Hall of Fame Club's red carpet was covered in a sheet of plastic. Donors stretched out on tables in the stadium's hallways while Red Cross officials checked others in. But Saturday was no ordinary day for the Red Cross, either. The organization aimed to have 1,500 fans donate blood at the ballpark -- a much bigger contingent than they would take in on any other Saturday.
"If all goes according to plan with this drive, we're going to collect at least twice as much as we do on a normal Saturday," said Christopher Schimpf, a district manager for the Red Cross. "However many units we collect, multiply it by three. That's how many lives we saved. For every unit, we break it down to three different products. It's easy to make a huge impact with one donation." The need for blood donations increases during the summer months because of vacations, holidays and the absence of high school and college blood drives that take place during the school year. Phillies fans who came to the ballpark on Saturday were happy to fulfill the need for donations. Tim Anderson, a fan from Glendora, N.J., heard about the blood drive when he attended a recent Phillies game. Anderson's 23-year-old son recently received donated blood as part of an operation, so Anderson became motivated to donate. "I just wanted to do my part," Anderson said. "I was like, 'I've got to do this, and start going on a regular basis.' " Other fans at the ballpark Saturday have been donors for years. DeeAnn Barton, of Holland, Pa., has O-positive blood, which can be transfused to any recipient with a positive blood type. It is also, according to the Red Cross, a very common blood type, which means more people need it for transfusions. "I feel a commitment to the community, because I'm almost a universal donor," Barton said. "It's no problem for me, any time of year."
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.