Reporting Marybel Rodriguez
Neighbors 4 Neighbors
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Summer is here which means baseball season is in full swing and as Neighbors 4 Neighbors discovered, there’s support to build a new kind of ballpark to serve some special players so that every child has a chance to play baseball.
The Miracle League of Miami-Dade County is working to build a baseball field for special needs children.
“This is one of those projects that bring everybody together,” explained Alfredo Mesa of the Miami Marlins Community Foundation.
The Miracle League gives children with special needs the chance to step up to the plate and fall in love with America’s favorite past time.
“The kids love it so much, they love their friends, they love playing, and everybody is a winner there. It’s just awesome,” said Miami Marlins player Heath Bell.
The Miracle League now has plans to create miracles in Miami-Dade County.
“The sole mission is to bring the great game of baseball to the special needs children of Miami-Dade County,” explained Karl Sturge, Co-chair of the Miracle League of Miami-Dade County. “There are 30 thousand special needs kids in our community and not one single baseball field specifically dedicated for the special needs children of our community.”
It’s a cause close to the hearts of Miami’s home town team and especially to Miami Marlins players Heath Bell and John Buck.
“The Miracle League and I have a strong connection, because I have a 10 year old little girl that has Down’s Syndrome and has been playing for the past 5 years,” said Heath Bell.
John Buck agreed.
“You sit in the stand and watch them kind of be themselves, it’s very rewarding for the parents as well, the parents and siblings benefit as well,” said Buck.
The Miami Marlins Community Foundation joined in support of these players and donated $100,000 to a special needs accessible field to be built in Tamiami Park.
“The Miracle League fields themselves are a specialized rubber that allows the wheelchairs, the walkers to glide easily along the field and make it safe for the children,” said Sturge.
But it’s more than just creating a safe place to play; it’s about bringing the community together.
“You can participate as a player, as a baseball buddy, at any level, we welcome everybody. It’s a big wagon everyone can jump on,” said Sturge.
If you’d like to volunteer, be a sponsor or sign up a child to play in the Miracle League of Miami-Dade, click here for the website.