April 29, 2013

News Release

For Immediate Release

Springfield Cardinals Visit Miracle League Field Tonight

The Springfield Cardinals will visit the Betty and Bobby Allison Miracle League Ball Field during youth ball games tonight, Monday, April 29, at Dan Kinney Park, 2701 S. Blackman Rd., Springfield. Games begin at 6 and 7 p.m.; the Cardinals are expected between 6:30 and 7:30.

At least six members of the Springfield Cardinals plan to attend, along with Manager Mike Shildt and General Manager Matt Gifford. The Cardinals will have their pictures taken with Miracle League players, sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and serve as guest buddies with the players.

"We are super excited to have the Texas League Champion Springfield Cardinals coming out to visit our Betty and Bobby Allison Miracle League Ball Field Program tonight," said Bob Belote, Director of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. "There's no doubt our Miracle League ballplayers are champions as well, so this should be a very special opportunity for all concerned."

Springfield Cardinals have been contributing sponsors to the Miracle League since inception of the program. Proceeds from 2012 St. Louis Cardinals/Springfield Cardinals exhibition game went back to Miracle League Program.

Miracle League Field opened in October 2011 and is the first certified field of its kind in Missouri. The facility was built especially to help players with physical or developmental disabilities to hit, run, catch and play ball. The 1/3-size field features a barrier-free cushioned synthetic surface, easy to maneuver with wheelchairs and walkers and by players with gait issues. Bases are built into the field, dugouts are wider and the entire facility is ramp-accessible. Each player is paired with a volunteer "buddy" who may assist in swinging a bat, running bases and catching.

The Miracle League follows the National Miracle League Association standards of non-competitive play, including:

Games last about 50 minutes and at the end of each game, all players are invited to the field to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

The spring Miracle League program includes nearly 100 youth and adult players. About 50 youth players are expected to play tonight.

The field was built through generous support of numerous donors, including the Betty and Bobby Allison Family, Rotary Club of Springfield-North, Walmart, Ozarks Coca-Cola, St. John's- Mercy, Jack and Fran Hood, Paul Black, James and Jill Lohmeyer, MSU Bears First Pitch, Wayne and Betty Bessinger, Lost Hill Bluegrass Band, Drury University Baseball, Springfield Cardinals, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and others.

For more information about the Springfield Cardinals, visit www.springfieldcardinals.com or call Matt Gifford, General Manager, at 417-863-0395.

For more information about the Springfield-Greene County Park Board's Miracle League, visit parkboard.org/miracle_field; or call Sheri Davis, Community Recreation Coordinator for Accessible Recreation program, or Cyrus Davis, Accessible Recreation Supervisor, at 417-837-5808. For media inquiries, call Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2176 or 417-224-5510.