Today, July 10th the 82nd annual all-star game will be played in Kansas City, Missouri. On the field these all-stars worked hard and overcame challenges to be the best players in the world.
Off the field there are 16 teams that dedicated time, effort and money to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs. Check out these 16 special needs all-star teams.
Later this month, the Arizona Diamondbacks will play the Chicago Cubs and offer a portion of their ticket sales to support Miracle League, a national league dedicated to baseball players with special needs. The Diamondbacks have also recently donated $50,000 towards a dental suite that will make easier for children with special needs to feel comfortable when they need dental visits.
The Braves will hold an Autism Awareness Day during their game against the Washington Nationals. A portion of all the ticket proceeds will go toward “Nathan’s Something Special,” a charity dedicated to raising money for graduating high school seniors with cerebral palsy and autism. In addition, the Braves are inviting children and adults with autism to attend the game for a reduced fee, and participate in the pre-game parade.
The Orioles host fantasy baseball camps and clinics for kids from Orioles Advocate’s Challenger Baseball. This league provides opportunities for baseball players with physical or developmental challenges who want to explore the limits of their individual abilities. The clinic with the Orioles provided the opportunity to learn baseball skills, and have an opportunity to get autographs and hang out with these major players.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox annually recognize the members of the special needs community on Disability Awareness night where the team partners with EP Global Communications, Inc. and the EP Foundation for Education to celebrate members of their community for the contributions they make to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Those elected are recognized on-field during the pregame ceremonies.
The Cubs have developed a unique relationship with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Cubs – a cross-disability competitive wheelchair softball team. While also helping this league, their partnership has inspired others to support leagues adapted for individuals with special needs.
Red’s Player Jay Bruce manages an outreach program for children with special needs and their families. The buddies who attend the games get a special treat including custom caps, as well as food and beverage vouchers and a group welcome on the Jumbotron.
The Tigers and a handful of major charities hold a gala in Troy, MI this month. The proceeds, which totaled over $100,000, will help support children with Downs Syndrome and other disabilities. In addition, the team and their parent foundation the Detroit Tiger Foundation raise money for youths to compete in the Special Olympics, focusing on the softball competitions.
Kansas City Royals
Pitchers Bruce Chen, Nate Adcock and Tim Collins volunteered their time at an annual camp for kids with physical or development disabilities at Challenger Field in Kansas City. The Royals, the National Sports Center for the Disabled and the Kansas City Parks and Recreation presented the free camp where children with disabilities, over 200, practiced and experienced baseball drills including pitching, hitting and running the bases.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hosted the Sixth Challenger Division Classic where 40 Little League Challenger teams met and played baseball on Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California — the same field where the Angels play. The Little League national champions showed up and were buddies for the Challenger teams from their home district. Former LA Angels roamed the fields, helping out, pitching to the Challenger players and signing autographs.
The Marlins and the Miracle League of Miami-Dade are working together to build a Miracle League field in Tamiami Park. The Marlins’ Foundation donated $100,000 to help build this field.
Last month the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and other foundations, helped kick start the first season of Miracle League of Minnesota with the grand opening of the new Field of Dreams baseball field, equipped for baseball players with special needs.
New York Mets
The Mets are trying to meet their fans’ special needs by being the first team to create a quiet, section of the stadium. This pending project is being promoted specifically with kids with special needs in mind, as well as other fans, who are bothered by the loud soundtrack often found at Major League Baseball games.
New York Yankees
The Yankees go to bat for kids with special needs during their yearly week of giving, titled HOPE week, a week where the Yankee players Help Others Persevere and Excel. Last year, these major players paired up with kids from the Beautiful People– a non-profit dedicated to involving children with special needs in an adaptive sports leagues. The Yankees invited a team of these Beautiful People to play at Yankee stadium just following a day game, the NY Yankee fans stayed in the bleachers to cheer them on.
The Pirates Charities, despite their name, does a great deal of good work for the special needs community. Recently, they joined up with other charities to build a Miracle League Field complex that is designed for baseball players with special needs. They’ve helped build 5 of these fields in the last few years and help raise funds and support to run the leagues as well.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres partnered with other foundations and the County of Sand Diego Parks and Recreation to build the first ADA-accessible ball field in Southern California. Little Padres Park, as it’s called, is host the Miracle League of San Diego.
Each year, the Rangers welcome more than 600 participants and their families to Miracle League Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and provide various other unique opportunities for children with special needs.
The Nationals are helping to support an outreach organization called DC Autism Parents. They focus on raising autism awareness and provide support groups and information. For every ticket purchased for a home game during the 2012 season a portion of the proceeds will go to DCAP.