MILWAUKEE — This season, the Milwaukee Brewers have created a lot of excitement as they’re still in a pennant race, but recently, some players were able to participate in another exciting game, where the score wasn’t as important as the experience.
It has been quite a season for Brewers’ Corey Knebel, setting a Major League record and becoming an All-Star for the first time. Even though he didn’t get into the game in Miami, he found himself in another All-Star game with a lot more meaning: the Miracle League All-Star Game.
It’s a league that gives kids with special needs the opportunity to play the game of baseball.
“It’s a blast. Come out here we are able to have fun and I get to pitch to the kids and let them hit it and get going and that’s it — just see the smile on their face,” Knebel said.
Knebel wasn’t alone — bringing teammates Jared Hughes, Stephen Vogt and Brent Suter, as well as some buddies who organized the game.
“Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for friendship, leadership development and job training for people with intellectual mental disabilities,” Rachel Mueller with Best Buddies of Wisconsin said.
The buddies and pros were joined by some angels: The Milwaukee Angels Select Baseball program players.
“Our boys are going to be the able-bodied buddies for the Miracle League players. They get to play right alongside of them and they don’t necessarily make the plays, but they get to show off their coaching skills and show the other players where to throw the ball, what base to run to, all of that, so they are just going to be the helpers,” Stacy Derrick with Milwaukee Angels said.
Baseball was the game of the day, but for Derrick and Mueller, it was the spirit around it that stole the show.
“They said it was one of the most fun, memorable games that they had played in throughout all league play and tournaments,” Derrick said.
“They learn baseball skills first of all, but they also just get opportunities to interact with their peers. They get the camaraderie of the game. They get to enjoy a great day outside. They get to have fun. It’s an incredible opportunity,” Mueller said.
It was an opportunity Suter couldn’t and wouldn’t pass up.
“Just giving them a love of either outdoors or sports, or just trying to impart the joy I get from baseball and try and have them share some of that and just having fun with it, I really love working with kids and this is just a great opportunity to just have fun out here,” Suter said.
It was an All-Star game where everyone got their chance to shine.
“The smiles for sure. The smiles on the kids’ faces when the excitement, when they are running around the base paths and scoring, that was the best. It warms the heart,” Suter said.
“They know what they are doing, and just to watch them smile and have fun was a great experience,” Knebel said.
The Milwaukee Brewers Foundation also made a $10,000 donation to the Miracle League of Milwaukee.