ARLINGTON, TX — Baseball’s opening day is just a little over a week away, but the lucky kids at the Miracle League are already playing ball.
“Today we’ve got our ten year anniversary opening day, so we have been doing this for ten years," Briana Rishel, executive director of the DFW Miracle League said.
“We have 400 kids that are playing, we’re really excited about that and just want to give every child, no matter their ability, the chance the play baseball.”
On hand at Doug Inman Miracle League Field, to toss out the season’s first pitch, was Arlington mayor Robert Cluck and his wife Linda.
“This park is the best thing we have going in Arlington,” said Mayor Cluck, “Forget the Cowboys stadium, forget the Texas Rangers, this is it!”
Speaking of the Rangers, some former players showed up to take in the festivities, including legendary catcher Jim Sundberg.
“If you talk to the kids, [and] say what’s the best thing that’s happened to you, they say ‘to play baseball,’” Sundberg explained. “It’s kind of the echo of the way I felt when I was five years old and just starting out.”
Everyone here agrees that just seeing this kids play is the most rewarding part of the day.
“It’s a great opportunity just to see the kids and the families and the smiles it brings to them everyday Saturday here," Michael Schilling said. He's with Raising Cane’s, one of the event’s sponsors.
“It really kind of touches you, you walk away with a huge smile on your face, thinking you’d make a huge impact on somebody and it’s completely the opposite,” Stefon Rishel of Max’s Wine Dive said.
The executive director agrees: “They teach us so much, they teach us how to love, they teach us pure joy and that’s what I love about it.”
“When you see kids cross home plate with a big smile, other problems they might have go away, it’s just a wonderful place.” Mayor Cluck summed it up: “This is very, very special.”