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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

If You Drink It, You Can Help Them Build It: Daytona Tortugas Beerfest to Benefit Miracle League of Volusia County

It gives new meaning to "take me out to the ball game."  The Daytona Tortugasthe "Advanced A Affiliate" of the Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball team, is holding a beerfest Saturday, June 4, from 4-7pm along the Riverwalk at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach to benefit The Miracle League of Volusia County. 

The fest, featuring around 20 local and national breweries, will also include raffle items from local businesses. It's a picturesque setting for a beerfest, along the Halifax River in front of the ballpark, affectionately known as "The Jack."  On a couple of trips to Daytona, I visited the park for the first time and also spoke with Rick Spraggins, the President of the Volusia County Chapter of The Miracle League.






The Miracle League is a charitable organization dedicated to providing kids and young adults with the opportunity to play Miracle League baseball, regardless of their physical and mental abilities, on specially-constructed rubberized flat-surface fields.  Currently, there are 275 chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada, including one in Australia. There are a handful of chapters in Florida, including those in Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami and the Panhandle. 


According to Spraggins, the Volusia County Chapter was founded in January 2015, and it gained IRS 501(c)(3) status in April 2015. New Smyrna Beach has provided the land at the city's Sports Complex, and the Chapter's goal is to raise enough capital to build the special field on this land. The field itself is a rubberized non-latex flat surface T-ball sized field, measuring roughly 15000sf, built over a concrete pad. Bleachers will also be constructed. There are three approved U.S. vendors authorized by the umbrella organization to build the specialized fields across the country. It takes several months to construct the ballfield. 


The poster includes a photo of Sam,
top left.
Spraggins and wife Jolene decided to start the Volusia County Chapter because their 15-year-old son, Sam, who is wheelchair-bound, loves to play baseball! Sam has been playing T-ball for years at the Orlando Miracle League chapter, and the Spraggins decided it was time to bring the program to Volusia County to service the approximately 13,000 special-needs children in the area. Each Miracle League participant has a "buddy" who, depending on the level of assistance needed, helps the participant move across the bases. It's a non-competitive baseball league serving ages 5 to 25, where every player has the opportunity to bat and get on base. 

The cost to build the ballfield is approximately $220,000, and Chapter holds several fundraisers throughout the year, including golf outings and dinners, in an effort to raise the necessary funds. It's about 20% of the way there. 


So, if you're around the Daytona area on Saturday, drink some beer and help these guys build a ball field! And, if you know of anyone who may want to make a generous donation and maybe acquire some naming rights, the Chapter just might want to listen. It's a good cause, and as someone who grew up with a physically- and intellectually-challenged sibling, I definitely can appreciate the mission of the organization.  

Tickets can be purchased online at the Daytona Tortugas website, directly through this link to the ticket site. Or, contact the ball club by phone, 386-257-3172. 

In the meantime, I enjoyed my walk around the ballpark, and there are a number of informative and historical references to Jackie Robinson. 












Til next time, 

Cheers!


Linda