Did you play baseball as a child? Of course you did.
Innovative Health - Fall 2017
Unless, that is, you might have had special mental or
physical needs, and were excluded from team sports.
If so, you might have only wished you could play.
That is why Miracle League of Plymouth (MLP) was created—to
remove barriers that prevent children and adults with special
mental and physical needs from playing America’s favorite game.
MLP provides the opportunity to have fun actually participating in
a game instead of just watching others.
Players enter the field and feel like
champions. They become part of
a team and find friends through
the hope, the determination and
the display of the human spirit that
And of course, there’s baseball!
Each player in MLP’s games has
at least one volunteer buddy, age
10 or older, to help him or her
play the game. Buddies bring
enthusiasm and good spirit to each
game as they befriend their players
and make sure they stay safe and
have fun. Sometimes a buddy is a
sibling who is very happy to assist
their brother or sister. This is the
ultimate role reversal for those who
could previously only watch and
cheer for their capable siblings.
MLP President/Commissioner Deb
Madonna said, “We all think that
the best thing in the world is to be
a kid, play, play with others, play
baseball. But really the most fun is
to be an adult who gets to hang
out at a baseball field and watch
kids play baseball, especially if they
have not been able to play before.
That’s the best!”
The work to create the league
and its field involved meticulous
planning to accommodate the many
needs of all involved. Baseball games
are played on a rubberized surface at
the Bilkie Family Field, located at 357
Theodore Street in Plymouth, MI. The
field is somewhat smaller than standard
size, to give these special players a better
chance to “hit the ball out of the park.”
Parents and friends watch the games
while creating relationships with others in
the bleachers and cheering for everyone
on the field—both teams! And there are
umpires and concession stands just like
at regular games. In fact, parents can let
the concession stand manager know what
their children’s favorite snacks are, so
they’re always available at their games.
There are two baseball seasons—spring
and fall—with seven game days in each
season. Four games are played on every
game day, with teams divided by age.
The youngest four teams are composed
of children ages 5 through 12, and there
are four teams of kids 13 years old and
over. Right now, the oldest player is 50
years old! More than 150 players are
currently registered, some of them for
The Miracle League of Plymouth
BASEBALL /// BY DEBBIE HARDY