Play Ball! Easy Living Individuals Deliver Homeruns of Happiness During Miracle League Season.

Miracle League player on the field with a bat

More than 120 fans packed the stands at Will Norton Miracle Field in Joplin to watch Opening Day games between the Royals, Cardinals and Pirates.

This wasn’t Major League Baseball. This was something even better: Miracle League Baseball.

But you’d never know it based on the constant cheering, as each of the 23 Easy Living individuals who took the field scored a run.

Blaze, an individual who receives services from Easy Living, said it best about the electric Opening Day experience for all who attended: “This was awesome.”

Making a Major Difference

Baseball diamonds weren’t designed with wheelchairs and crutches in mind. So, the Miracle League started in Georgia in 1998 to give differently-abled people the chance to enjoy what many of us take for granted: playing a sport.

Since it started with one player on one team twenty-five years ago, the League now boasts more than 200 local teams that play on 100 completely rubberized fields.

And we’re proud to play a part in this growing interest.

“We had one Easy Living individual who participated in 2017. Now, there’s more than 20,” recounts Darrin Day, Professional Manager at Easy Living.

In all, 75 youths and 105 adults will don their t-shirt uniforms this season.

“These individuals are amazing. Miracle League brings them so much happiness,” said Coach Sandy. “It’s nice to see players know each other, even if Miracle League is the only time they see each other throughout year, they know each other’s names and encourage each other like they’ve been around each other often.”

Miracle League playing swinging at a ball

Quick Hits

In the spirit of inclusivity, Miracle League games differ from traditional baseball in some major ways:

• There is no official score
• Everyone wins
• Every player bats once per inning
• Games last two innings
• All players are safe on the bases
• Every player scores a run before the inning is over
• Balls are thrown underhand
• Tees can be used if needed

Make no mistake: Miracle League games feature common ballpark favorites. Each player has their own nickname which is announced over the loudspeaker as they enter the batter’s box. You can buy favorites like hotdogs from the concession stand.

And you certainly won’t be disappointed in the offensive output. Saturday saw a combined 46 runs in the first game, including a total of nine home runs (two of which cleared the fences 150 feet away).

The Diamonds Are Different, Too

Instead of grass and dirt, Miracle League diamonds are cushioned with a rubberized surface to prevent injuries. And that’s not the only difference:

• The surface is completely flat for visually impaired or wheelchair-bound players
• Dugouts are entirely wheelchair-accessible
• The pitcher’s mound is 20 feet away

That’s a Winner

Rivalries get the competitive juices flowing. But in Miracle League ball, you won’t find any brushbacks or foul play. Just good ol’fashioned camaraderie among players and buddies — volunteers who help players run the bases and give them words of encouragement.

Family, friends and loved ones also enjoy every pitch. Some might say they have even more fun than the players.

A big reason is because Miracle League provides an outlet for parents and siblings. Events that allow them to cheer on loved ones, like the Special Olympics, are few and far between. Cheering from the stands brings a sense of normalcy and belonging for them, too.

“This is simply one of the greatest events. A huge joy.
Nothing but happiness and fun on the field,” says Day.

If you’re interested in a free, fun and uplifting way to spend some of your Saturdays, make your way to the diamond before the six-game season ends on May 11th.