The Coast News Group

Miracle League kicks off sixth season for challenged children

DEL MAR — “As the nation’s pastime, baseball is woven in the fabric of America,” Channel 4 San Diego’s John Weisbarth said. “And if that’s the case, then everybody should have a chance to play — and I mean everybody.”
With those words, Weisbarth kicked off opening day for Miracle League of San Diego, which has been providing children with mental or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league since its inception in 2007. Nearly 150 athletes on 10 teams participate in a fall and spring season each year.
Games are played on a special field built with a flat-cushioned rubber mat at San Dieguito County Park’s Engel Family Field. The league also includes about 180 buddy athletes, 40 coaches and 50 volunteers who umpire, pitch and supply and operate a snack bar.
The Sept. 26 opening day at Engel Family Field included a home-run derby fundraiser, a press conference where players answered questions and signed autographs, free ballpark food and visits with the San Diego Padres Pad Squad and swinging friar mascot.