Although early weather forecasts called for rain, it was bright skies and sunny smiles for the 2012 Spring Miracle Baseball League’s Opening Day Ceremony, Saturday, April 21. In addition to 21 Miracle League players, all seven members of City Council were in attendance. Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille threw out the first pitch to impromptu catcher Vice Mayor Donley to officially start the game.
The Miracle League, designed for youths and adults with special needs to play baseball or softball, started its second season at Lee Center Field which, by the end of this fall, will be converted in a to Miracle Field. “Not only will the new field have the special rubberized surface to help our players, but enough funds have been raised to make sure it will be a special experience,” said Miracle Field Initiative Board President Bill Rivers. “There will be covered dugouts for players, a sensory and tactile garden and an entrance plaza that provides tables and benches so that players and their families can relax between games.” Lights will also be installed to allow nighttime use—all in all, said Rivers, a state-of-the-art Miracle Field.
It was a year ago that the Miracle Field Initiative of Alexandria was founded with the goal to get a special needs facility in the City. With a mandate from City Council to raise $135,000 in private sector funds, the board has been raising money through local businesses, private citizens and the Kelley Cares Foundation. Many of the builders working on the field have also provided significant discounts to ensure that the therapeutic recreation population will have a field to be proud of. Said Rivers, “The whole effort has shown what a great community Alexandria is and how it looks after all of its citizens.”
Even without the official field yet, opening day was quite the celebration. Rivers served as play-by-play announcer while members of the TC Williams Baseball Team and Councilwoman Alicia Hughes worked as Angels in the Outfield. Angels assist players in running the bases and catching fly balls and are needed for each game. Omega Psi Phi provided free snacks and representatives from Alexandria Little League, the Alexandria Soccer Association, and the Alexandria Rugby Club were on hand to deliver donations for the field totaling $11,000. Future league games will be played at Lee Center Field April 28, May 5, 12, 19 and June 2 at noon. To join the league, donate or be an Angel in the Outfield, contact Mac Slover, Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities, Sports Division, at 703-746-5407, and Bill Rivers, Youth Sports Advisory Board, at 703-683-6526 or visit the web site at www.miracleleagueofalexandria.com.