Canaries Take the Field with the Miracle League on their Day Off
By: Ari Ross
Sioux Falls, SD – The Canaries take the field either at The Birdcage or on the road almost every day from mid-May to September. To be more precise, the Canaries play 100 games in 110 days from May 18 to Sept. 4.
The Canaries didn't take the field on one of their few off days Thursday afternoon, but they did provide a helping hand to those who couldn't on their own.
According to their website, the Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America's favorite pastime.
And for the second time this season, the Canaries took the field with the Miracle Leaguers are Frank L. Boyce Miracle Park, lending a hand to help kids play baseball.
"I think it's really cool, that the kids get a chance to play baseball like normal kids," Laurie Rogers said, "They seem to have a really good time when they do it, and to have the Canaries out here, that's really cool."
Rogers' grandson, Clayton, paired up with Canaries infielder Brett Marr, as he took the bases, hit home runs and crossed the plate, playing baseball with the rest of the Canaries and Miracle Leaguers.
"I think it means a lot, it really does," Steve Rogers, Clayton's grandpa, said, "Not just for the kids but for the parents and grandparents, to see them come out and spend time with the kids."
"It brings more joy to me than people even know," Charlie Dubanoski, one of the league organizers, said, "It's a really, really special thing, the kids are awesome, it's just a blast to do."
With only 10 off days over the course of the season, it can be tough to find time to get out into the community, but it's these type of events, Canaries GM Duell Higbe said, that really make a difference.
"This is one of the more important events of the summer, outside of our games and all that," Higbe said, "As far as getting out into the community, there's nothing like this, it's as good as it gets."
"It makes appreciate everything that they have," Higbe continued. "They come out, and they might not want to do something like this on their day off, but when they come here and they do it, every guy leaves with a smile on their face and it makes them appreciate what they've got and how lucky they really are to be able to play baseball," he said.
Thursday was the second time the Canaries were able to get out to Miracle Park, and the kids had been anticipating it since their season began.
"It's amazing, probably some of the biggest Canary fans out there are our Miracle League ballplayers," Dubanoski said, "I've had Miracle Leaguers talking about it since the beginning of the season. 'When are the Canaries coming out? Are the Canaries going to make it?'"
"So, it's really special that they take time on their days off to come out here. And I know that they don't get a lot," Dubanoski said, "So it's very cool and it's something that our Miracle Leaguers talk about all the time."