Field of Dreams: The Miracle League Opens - NBC4 Washington

Field of Dreams: The Miracle League Opens

Nationals Miracle Field Opens In Germantown



    It's opening day for a new baseball league in town. Now some athletes who used to have a hard time getting on the field have the chance to play. (Published Monday, Aug. 1, 2011)

    This is 9-year-old Saij Singh's field of dreams. "I was throwing the ball and catching the ball," he said.

    Singh is a member of the Miracle League. Some of his team members just helped cut the ribbon for the new Washington Nationals Miracle Field in Germantown, Md.

    The field is specially designed for kids with disabilities. They can safely use their wheelchairs or walkers on the flat, cushioned surface.

    The basepath is extra wide, and the bases are built into the ground.

    "It was fun," said Saij. "It was better than a regular field because my wheels would go on it and wouldn't get stuck."

    A year and a half ago, Saij was running the bases with his little league team. But, he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and now he's confined to a wheelchair.

    "It's really giving me hope and encouragement to see the world is embracing kids with special needs," said Vicky Singh, Saij's mother.

    There was no lack of fun, laughter or competition at the ribbon cutting and the game after.

    Keiran Chai-Onn, 8, spent his morning pushing his 14-year-old brother around the bases.

    "He's always sitting on the sidelines when I'm playing my sports, and now he gets to play his sports," said Keiran.

    The kids even had some pros on their side. Nationals pitchers Sean Burnett and Jordan Zimmermann, and manager Davey Johnson took part. Johnson raised two children with special needs. Both have since passed away.

    "I'm very proud to be a baseball player and have had some very proud moments in world series championships," said Johnson. "But being part of this today, I'm more proud of this."

    Dr. Jim Leder had the idea for this field a few years ago. The land is leased for $1 a year from the Montgomery County Department of Park and Planning.

    Leder has raised more than a million dollars in private donations. Those interested in signing up to play, or making a donation of their own can visit the league website.