Miracle League of New Albany celebrates first opening day
Six baseball teams are taking the field tomorrow for an opening day that celebrates the spirit of inclusion.
State of play: The Miracle League of New Albany is debuting with a brand-new stadium built for players with disabilities.
- Organizers are still looking for volunteers to help with the inaugural 10-week season.
How it works: The game is designed to remove all barriers for players, league directors Denise and Brian Bell tell Axios.
- Rubberized turf is used instead of grass and dirt to accommodate those with walkers and wheelchairs.
- Each player is joined by a "buddy" who helps with batting, running and fielding.
- Games last two innings and all players get to hit and score a run. There are no strikeouts, so every game finishes with a lively grand slam.
The big picture: Miracle League is a nationwide organization with more than 200 participating communities.
- Dublin's league, along with a similar organization in Grove City known as "Buddy Ball," also celebrate opening day tomorrow.
Flashback: The Bells' oldest daughter played in the Dublin league for seven years, while other family members coached and served as buddies.
- Denise and Brian say the league was a safe haven where she could step away from doctors and therapy for one day a week and simply enjoy being a kid.
Between the foul lines: Their daughter's surgeon, Kevin Klingele, was inspired after watching a Dublin game and worked to organize the New Albany league.
- The city donated land and local donors funded the new ballpark on Swickard Woods Boulevard.
What they're saying: Not only has the league attracted 80 players from around Central Ohio, Brian notes, high school teams and church youth groups have already pledged to help this summer as buddies.
- "We couldn't be more excited for opening pitch."
Want to help? The league welcomes community volunteers to serve as buddies, announcers, national anthem singers and game day assistants.
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