Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has joined with the Easter Seals, Ogden Newspapers and other Wheeling-based partners in the development of the J.B. Chambers Miracle League Field. The J.B. Chambers Foundation, the City of Wheeling and the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley also played vital roles in the construction of the now complete project.
The field, located in the J.B. Chambers Complex, is the first of its kind in the Wheeling area. The J.B Chambers Miracle League Field will serve the 15 surrounding counties in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania that participate in the Miracle League of The Ohio Valley. The Miracle League is open to any special needs child who wants to play.
"Today is a great example of why I love being a part of the game of baseball and the Pirates. It is moving to see the passion that these children have for the game, while, at the same time, seeing the passion our organization and players have for making a difference in the community," said Bob Nutting, Chairman of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pirates Charities. "Thanks to the collective efforts of everyone involved, from this point forward every child in this area, no matter what challenges they may face in life, will be able to experience the dream of playing organized baseball."
The field, which is one of five that Pirates Charities has helped construct, is designed with a completely synthetic surface to make it possible for children in wheelchairs and walkers to safely move about. The Miracle League Fields provide children with the opportunity to develop relationships with their peers and coaches while playing the game of baseball, many of them for the very first time.
"We are forever grateful to all of the generous supporters of this project that are truly changing lives for generations to come," said Lorie Untch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Easter Seals, West Virginia. "This field is a dream come true and we are so thrilled to have a state of the art accessible facility for individuals of all abilities. Everyone is invited join our team, whether as a player, coach or volunteer."
The Miracle League operates with the goal of empowering children and adults challenged by any form of special need to experience the joys and thrills of baseball regardless of their ability to play. The Miracle League, whose motto is "Every child deserves a chance to play baseball," allows for each player to bat once each inning and that all batters are "safe" and score a run before the inning is over. Games are two innings long and each team and each player always wins. Integral to the Miracle League concept is the "Buddy System." Buddies assist all Miracle League players, and are volunteers from youth baseball organizations, local civic and community groups, and individuals with an interest in helping players with special needs.
Other Miracle League Fields that Pirates Charities have assisted with:
- In May of 2009, Pirates Charities opened up the region's first Miracle League Field in Cranberry Township, Pa. to benefit the Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania. More than 300 participants have benefitted from the original field located north of the city of Pittsburgh. In 2012 Pirates Charities renewed their commitment to the Cranberry Township field by donating funds to help construct a much needed storage facility.
- In February of 2012, Pirates Charities partnered with the Baltimore Orioles' OriolesREACH on the grand opening of "The Miracle League of Manasota Field presented by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles" located in Longwood Park in the Sarasota-Bradenton, FL area.
- In May of 2012, Pirates Charities partnered with Casey's Clubhouse to lead Opening Day festivities for the inaugural season of the Miracle League of the South Hills at the Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center in Boyce Mayview Park. More than 145 participants take part in the league.
- In September of 2012, Pirates Charities partnered with the Rotary Club of Murrysville-Export and the Municipality of Murrysville to support the construction of the Rotary Miracle Sports Complex of Murrysville. The centerpiece of the Complex is the Bill Mazeroski Miracle Field.
About Pirates Charities
Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on three core areas of youth health, fitness and education. Each year, Pirates Charities and the Pirates partner with more than 3,000 organizations and programs committed to improving the lives of children and adults. Pirates Charities has created successful signature programs including Pirates Fields for Kids, Wins for Kids, Pitch for Hope as well as others supporting cancer research and families and youth in our community. To learn more about Pirates positive impact in the community, visit www.pirates.com/community.
About The Miracle League of the Ohio Valley
The Miracle League of the Ohio Valley is sponsored by the Easter Seals. Currently, more than 80 players participate in the program. In addition to these players, more than 200 local residents are actively participating as "buddies" for the program. For more information about the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley, please contact the Easter Seals at (304) 242-1390.