The Miracle And Joy Of Baseball

May 9, 2019

Credit Courtesy of the Miracle League

When the owners of the Dome Sports Center in Schoolcraft were looking for a plan to develop nearby property, they were taken to a baseball field in Grand Rapids designed for people with disabilities. Jud Hoff says “In about five minutes we turned to each other and said ‘we have to do this.’”

Hoff is the president of the board of directors of the Southwest Michigan Miracle League. They are launching a $1.1-million fundraising campaign to build a Miracle League field in Schoolcraft. A kickoff fundraising event is being held Saturday May 11th at the Dome Sports Center near U.S. 131 in Schoolcraft.

The Miracle League is a national organization that provides opportunities for young people with disabilities to play baseball. Hoff says that includes people with physical and developmental disabilities, as well as someone with a visual impairment.

Extended version of the interview with Jud Hoff in WMUK's WestSouthwest podcast

Hoff says to guard against injuries, every player is paired up with a volunteer known as a “buddy.” He says those can be players from travel, little league and college teams, as well as church groups and corporations.

The Southwest Michigan Miracle League is looking to raise about $1.1-million. Hoff says that’s to pay for building the field, bleachers, scoreboard and make improvements to the property. He says construction is not happening as soon as they had hoped.

Hoff says they wanted to break ground this fall, but he says obtaining an IRS exemption took longer than expected. Hoff says they hope to break ground in the spring and being playing games on the field in summer of next year.