By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Saturday, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) visited the Miracle League Field in Moody, AL on their tenth anniversary.
Miracle League Field is a special baseball complex designed exclusively for children with disabilities. Miracle League Field is covered with a custom designed, cushioned synthetic turf that accommodates wheel chairs and other walking assistance devices. The stadium restrooms are all completely accessible to people with disabilities and the dugouts are designed so that wheelchairs can easily make their way to and from home plate. Miracle League gives children and adults with disabilities a place to enjoy the thrill of athletic participation in a safe environment.
Gov. Bentley said, “This is a wonderful organization. I am proud to meet with you and your families.” Bentley said, “There is no such thing as a disability there is only ability. God made all of us and he made all of us special.” Bentley said that it really touched his heart to be with the Miracle League on their tenth anniversary of Miracle League. Bentley praised the Moody Miracle League for being the first such field in Alabama and the second in the nation.
The Governor was presented with a ball and a Miracle League hat.
Gov. Bentley was accompanied by Moody’s two state representatives: Jim McClendon (R) from Springville and Dickie Drake (R) from Leeds. Rep. McClendon introduced Gov. Bentley. McClendon said coming into office Gov. Bentley vowed to focus on jobs and already he has recruited new 38,000 jobs to the state. McClendon said that is 38,000 families with a paycheck; but Bentley has not taken a single paycheck himself. Unemployment has gone from 9.3% to 7.3%. “And he made one more vow that he has stuck too: No new taxes!”
Rep. Drake commended the Miracle League for their unwavering commitment to excellence and presented an official commendation signed by the Governor to the Mayor. Drake said, “The new Pope said ‘Our mission is to provide service to the less fortunate’ and that is exactly what you are doing.”
Moody Mayor Joe Lee said of the Miracle League, “I was here ten years ago when we opened and it was as popular then as it is now.”
The first Miracle League Field was built in Conyers, Georgia in the year 2000. After seeing an NBC News Report on the Conyers field some residents in Moody began organizing an effort to get a field in Moody, headed by Phillip Deason. Independently, local radio personalities Rob Conrad and Shannon Stevens began trying to raise money for a field in Alabama. Some communities rejected the opportunity. Eventually Deason convinced Rob and Shannon to team up their efforts. They went to the City of Moody who agreed to offer up land in the city’s park and the services of retired Army Colonel Dave Treadwell who heads special projects for Moody’s Public Works Department.
Deason told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ that the Moody Miracle League Foundation then raised nearly $500,000 to build the field. Deason (now also a Moody City Councilman in addition to his role as Miracle League Executive Director) said that building a field like that today would cost over $700,000 due to the rise in construction costs.
According to their web site, The Miracle League is a charitable organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league. For children with mental and physical challenges participating in normal team sports can be difficult or even impossible. The Miracle League gives those children the opportunity to participate in organized baseball. Players are paired with a buddy” who helps them play the game and protects them from injuries. Every player get a hit, gets on base, and crosses home plate.
Several other Miracle League fields have been built across Alabama after the initial success that the Moody field has had.