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Professionals help build Miracle League new field

By JASON DILL, Bradenton Herald

SARASOTA — The goal says it all: every child deserves a chance to play baseball.

That’s what the Manasota Miracle League is all about.

On Saturday, the league unveiled a new field for players with disabilities in Manatee and Sarasota counties at Longwood Park, just south of University Parkway.

The dedication ceremony featured Miracle League players and their families surrounding the baselines as league president Bob Mitchell, Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting, Baltimore Orioles ownership representative Louis Angelos, Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta and Pari Miller, wife of former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Trevor Miller, took turns speaking.

“We did it,” Mitchell exclaimed as he began his speech, inspiring applause from the crowd.

The field, which features a purely rubber surface, is the first of its kind locally, Mitchell said.

“There are Challenger Leagues around the country that are rubber-based like this, but most of them, at least down here that we’ve experienced so far, are dirt fields,” said Mitchell about Little League Baseball’s Challenger Division that was established in 1989 to help children with disabilities play baseball. “That impedes some of the disabilities that can surface. This is for everybody. Nobody is turned away because of a disability on this field.”

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