Miracle League Helps Make Baseball Accessible to Everyone

Air Date: 05/11/2018
Source:
NBC Nightly News
Creator:
Lester Holt
Air/Publish Date:
05/11/2018
Event Date:
05/11/2018
Resource Type:
News Report
Copyright:
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
Copyright Date:
2018
Clip Length:
00:02:13

Miracle League is a nationwide baseball league that gives people with disabilities the opportunity to experience the joy of the game. Each player is paired with a buddy, and a rubberized field is used so players can round the bases even if they are in a wheelchair.

Miracle League Helps Make Baseball Accessible to Everyone

LESTER HOLT, reporting:

Finally tonight, we've hustled across the street because it's college game night here in Durham, but this is actually the home of the Durham Bulls, made famous in that 1988 Hollywood film. But there's some other ball fields in this area earning their own notoriety for making this sport accessible to kids who might otherwise have to watch from the sidelines.

MAN #1: Here comes Lily.

HOLT: This might be the best play at the plate you'll ever see.

BOY #1: I like being on a team because it just feels good.

BOY #2: I like running the bases, hitting the ball, and playing on the outfield.

HOLT: The Miracle League gives everyone an opportunity to experience the joy of the game. Like seven-year-old twins Grayson and Leyland Thompson who both have autism.

CARA: Yay, Grayson.

HOLT: Their mom Cara drives an hour every Saturday so they can play for the Grasshoppers.

CARA: They can come here and they can be completely themselves, and they are accepted for who they are and nobody is judging them.

HOLT: Instead, they're celebrated and supported.

MAN #2: She's going to be safe at the--

HOLT: Each kid is paired up with a buddy, and the games are played on a rubberized field for kids in wheelchairs. Nationwide, there are 300 Miracle Leagues. In Raleigh alone, there are 38 teams, more than 500 players and 1,000 volunteers. Demand so high, they've raised $1.5 million to build a third state-of-the art field in Durham. Benjy Capps first got involved more than a decade ago.

BENJI CAPPS: Good job, kid.

WOMAN #1: Are you going to high-five, too? Come here.

HOLT: When he signed up his son Micah who has cerebral palsy, he was skeptical at first.

CAPPS: Played baseball my whole life, I didn't really see how this is going to be any fun.

HOLT: He now runs the league.

CAPPS: The-- the smiles on their face and the joy that they have, that's-- that's our goal. We just want to make sure our players have a great time.

HOLT: Game day is the highlight of Kellington Morris's week. He says when he's playing he's focused on just one thing.

KELLINGTON MORRIS: Just making my family proud.

WOMAN #2: Aww. And you do make us proud.

HOLT: And that's what the Miracle League is all about.

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