Kids with disabilities have been getting a chance to play baseball with the Miracle League for a few years now – now it’s time for adults to get their chance.
This is the third season adults have been able to play on the special rubberized turf field at Ridge Road Park in Hartsdale. Every Monday through Friday, starting at 10:30 a.m., you’ll see dozens of disabled adults clad in team shirts and hats trying their hand at batting and making their way around the bases.
The rules are a little different than conventional baseball. Everybody gets to bat in each inning, base runners are rarely called out; every player scores a run before the game is over (last one up usually scores a home run); and most games end in a tie.
The most important rule is everyone has to have a good time.
“People who come to our games say it’s one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences they’ve ever had,” said Evan Latainer, director of the OOffice for People with Disabilities. “These players used to have to sit on the sidelines. To see their faces as they hit a ball and make it to base for the first time ever is indescribable.”
Almost 500 adults have already signed up to play and more are expected in coming months. Currently, teams come through local agencies’ Day Habilitation Programs. Day Habilitation Services help people with developmental disabilities develop, improve, or maintain their independent living skills. So far, that includes Another Step, Abbot House, Ability Beyond Disability, Jawonio, WARC, Cardinal McClosky and Living Resources. Group homes affiliated with these agencies hope to soon be organizing an evening league.
The field, paid for by Westchester County through a partnership with the not for-profit Miracle League of Westchester, is the county’s first baseball diamond designed specifically for people with disabilities. While the original intent was to make baseball accessible to every child, the mission has now expanded to include adults. Participation is free. For more information, call (914) 960-6391.