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03/04/2011 12:32 PM ET
Pirates Charities partners with Miracle League of Manasota to help build Miracle League Field for Manatee and Sarasota Counties
New field will allow local special needs children to realize dream of playing baseball
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Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Bradenton Boosters announced today that they have partnered with the Miracle League of Manasota to help build a Miracle League Field for Manatee and Sarasota Counties. As part of the ongoing partnership, Pirates Charities has committed $50,000 towards the construction of the baseball field designed specifically for children with special needs.

In addition, the Pirates will continue to play a key role in assisting Bob Mitchell, President of the Miracle League of Manasota, and other partners in the planning and construction of the project. Once constructed, Pirates players, coaches and alumni will actively participate in the games that the Miracle League program offers.

The new field, which will be located at Longwood Park off of University Highway, will be made of a flat rubberized surface to create a safe playing environment for every child. It will also feature ADA dugouts, an electronic scoreboard, a concession stand, a pavilion and restrooms.

This is the third Miracle League Field Project Pirates Charities has partnered to build, the first in its Southern home of Bradenton, Florida.

"A year ago I had the chance to meet with Bob (Mitchell) for the first time. I could see the passion and excitement in his eyes when we discussed this project and the impact it would have on the thousands of children with disabilities throughout this area," said Bob Nutting, Chairman of both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pirates Charities. "The Miracle League program is one in which we are especially proud to support because it is much more than allowing children the opportunity to play organized baseball. This field will give these children and their families an opportunity to develop positive relationships with their peers and other families facing similar challenges."

Pirates Charities also played a lead role in the construction of the Pirates Charities Miracle League Filed in Cranberry Township, Pa., to benefit the Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania and is playing a major role in the construction of the Miracle League of Ohio Valley field in Wheeling, W. Va., which will break ground in the near future.

The current goal of the Miracle League of Manasota is to begin construction this summer and begin play in the fall. Pirates Senior Director of Florida Operations Trevor Gooby serves on Board of the Miracle League of Manasota and is one of the area's principal supporters of Miracle League baseball.

Pirates Charities will present a $50,000 check to the Miracle League of Manasota before today's Pirates vs. Phillies game at McKechnie Field. Bob Nutting will present the check to Bob Mitchell, President of the Miracle League of Manasota, and Miracle League board chair Pete Ceccacci.

In 2010, the Pirates and Pirates Charities assisted more than 2,000 organizations. To learn more about Pirates positive impact in both the Pittsburgh and Bradenton communities, visit www.pirates.com/community. For more information about the Miracle League of Manasota, please visit http://www.miracleleaguemanasota.org.

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