The Miracle Field at Westside Park represents love, Miracle League co-director Millie Hicks said. But after a decorative oversized baseball was knocked off of its pedestal and damaged over the weekend, there's a tinge of sadness.
“You’ve had volunteers community-wide who have given their blood, sweat and tears for this project and what it means to this community,” Hicks said. “So many people have given so much love and work to put into it. This is a place of love and acceptance, and that is what makes me saddest about all of this.”
The metal baseball has several black scuff marks and a large dent on the bottom of it.
The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the vandalism. Whitfield County Recreation Department director Brian Chastain video camera footage at the park will be reviewed to identify any suspects. Anyone with information can contact the sheriff’s office at (706) 278-1233.
The Miracle Field, which opened in 2012, is a specially-constructed, turf diamond and outfield for special-needs players. It is the home of the local Miracle League, which has games and events there throughout the year. Money raised for the project by volunteers was matched by Whitfield County to the tune of more than $700,000.
Chastain said the park has been the most vibrant jewel of the recreation department’s many facilities.
“This is a special place. There should be no wrong here,” Chastain said. “Can you explain why? No, you can’t. It just shouldn’t happen here. This place should be all about smiles.”
The baseball — painted with the Miracle League’s logo — was originally on display outside of former home of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, Chastain said. Hicks said it is the favorite spot for volunteers and the athletes for Miracle Field events.
“We’ve already been contacted by several local businesses and individuals who want to help and donate money to get it repaired and replaced if we need to,” Hicks said.