How We Started in Visalia...

 "I don't have a vision, I have a passion. This thing is bigger than any of us think it is".
 Gary Geiger, League Director of the Miracle League of Visalia.

This passion was ignited when he first saw the video which is a culmination of news stories and interviews with athletes from the McMiracle League in Conyers, Georgia.  Members of this league have two things in common, a love for the game of baseball and a physical or mental handicap.  Among the hundreds of members are superstars like Lauren Gunder, Susie Garner and Nicholas Slade. Even though he has seen the video hundreds of times, Geiger is still moved to tears when he watches it. 

Visalia Parks Commissioner Bill Dillberg attests to the emotional impact  the video has. 
"When Gary showed the video at a parks commission meeting, there wasn't a dry eye in the room," Dillberg states. Geiger found that getting support for building a baseball field that is equipped for physically and mentally challenged children was easy.  However, in a project of this size and cost, finding a location is usually much more difficult. But this proved to be as simple as having a chat with a neighbor.  

Visalia First Assembly of God quickly agreed to take the idea of building the field on a part of the church's property to the board of directors of his church. 

This idea was soon approved, and on July 14, 2002, in a ceremony held at that location, a groundbreaking was held to begin the building of the Miracle League of Visalia's Field of Dreams. 

Not only will there be a baseball field built for physically and mentally challenged children and adults, but adjacent to it will be a larger field for adult athletes with special needs.

There is hope that fields of this type will soon be built in many other areas. The total cost of the field was an estimated $500,000+.  Geiger donated a sizable amount himself and Major League Baseball contributed  by purchasing the special synthetic surface that provides "give" at impact, prevents bad hops and allows wheelchairs and other support devices to easily maneuver.
 
According to Geiger, "it will be a project of all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds who come together for a great cause."