The Miracle League of Central Minnesota is a charitable organization providing children with mental and/or physical disabilities the opportunity to play baseball on a specially designed, safe field, as part of a team in an organized league. Why? Because every child deserves a chance to play baseball.
I had not really become familiar with The Miracle League of Central Minnesota until last night when we went to the Twins Alumni Game at Farber Field in Saint Cloud. The bat boys and girls for the game are part of this organization so my curiosity was peaked and I decided to check it out. The goal of the Miracle League is to have 500 specially made fields constructed, and currently they have over 215 Miracle League organizations around the country.
The Miracle League started in Georgia in 1998, the organization has expanded greatly. In this area of the country the Miracle League is now active in the following areas: Metro North MN, Rochester MN, West Metro MN, St. Cloud MN, Lakeville MN, Duluth MN, Woodbury MN, Sioux Falls SD, Mankato MN, Lacrosse WI, and Fargo-Moorhead. This month alone in Minnesota there has been wonderful activity heading towards The Miracle League reaching its final goal. There was the Grand Opening of the new field at Fargo/Moorhead, the Duluth site has begun construction at Harrison Park, they are just a few steps away from breaking ground in Woodbury and in Lakeville and there was the groundbreaking ceremony at Whitney Park in Saint Cloud MN on August 16th, although they had done a little work prior to the ceremony. This Video (see below) is from the families and the people connected with the West Metro Miracle League and gives you a first hand idea of how much these fields benefit the children who get to play on them.
It is the specially designed fields that make these projects such a wonderful addition to the community. The Miracle League builds each field with a specialized synthetic rubberized surface that is able to remove the barriers from traditional field play. The fields are cleared, no grass or gravel, no bags or other potential hazards, for the players and their Buddies.
The Miracle League angels in the outfield and the infield have to be the Buddies. The Buddies are wonderful volunteers that guide ballplayers through the game. The Miracle League Buddies help with fielding, throwing, or batting, and mostly help each of the players realize their special gifts. The Buddies are a very important part of the Miracle League and the youths who volunteer come away with a sense of joy over having fun helping another child enjoy one of life's most simple pleasures, playing a game of baseball.
The Miracle league is an ever growing organization with new chapters being added regularly. Please check out their site for opportunities to participate in your local chapter or if there is not one in your area they will be happy to help you build one. The group is privately funded and through volunteering, fund-raising and sharing the information about the group many have helped along the way. Here in Saint Cloud due to a very generuos private donation from the St. Cloud Metro Lions (now a partner in the project) the new field at Whitney Park is now able to begin construction. The Miracle League of Central Minnesota will maintain the field and provide programming for the participants, please check out their site to help.