A quick drive along Schucks Road and a turn into Schucks Road Regional Park will lead to a gem: The Miracle League of Harford County’s brand-new all turf and all level baseball field.
It’s ready for play and could be played on at any time, but the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting effects may force a true grand opening in the spring.
“The surface is all compete, just waiting for the bleachers and scoreboard,” Tom Walls said late last week. Walls is the president of the Miracle League board of directors.
That scoreboard is ordered and should be in by early August, while the bleachers are on hold as Walls says he’s waiting on the company to get back with price.
Speaking of price, Walls said, “We’re actually below budget.” Original budget numbers were over $800,000 and lowered to $625,000. Walls believes when completely finished the final cost will be between $525,000 and $550,000.
The scoreboard and bleachers will be nice, but not totally needed for play.
“We’re gonna try, we’re just sort of watching this spiking of increase of COVID around the country and just wondering what’s going to happen. If Maryland and Harford County can stay the way we are right now, I think John Archer School and The Arc would be willing to try some. And a lot of that is going to depend on does John Archer go back to school in September when they’re supposed to,” Walls said.
“I’m gonna talk with the principal at John Archer and the executive director at The Arc and if they’re comfortable with having people there, I’m gonna try to set something up.”
If it can happen, baseball could be played in the fall. Basically, time will tell.
That said, Walls isn’t quite sure about the ribbon-cutting. “I don’t know if it’s worth doing a ribbon-cutting if we can’t go ahead and play on it. So, if they aren’t comfortable with having some people out there with us, then I’m not comfortable in doing a ribbon-cutting,” he said. “Even though it would break my heart not to be able to do it until spring possibly.”
If it has to be pushed back and everything is near normal, Miracle League play could start in late March or early April next year. “Depends on weather, but we won’t have to worry about muddy fields because there’s no mud on this thing and we could be way ahead of most parks and rec leagues,” Walls said. “That would give us a little advantage.”
As for the bleachers and scoreboard. Bleachers, a six or eight row, handicap accessible set, will be stationed behind the 16-foot high backstop behind home plate.
Additionally, a set or two sets of three row bleachers may be added between the backstop seating and the dugouts.
The entire field, with dugouts, is contained by 6-foot, chain link fence, that also covers the opening of the dugouts for safety.
The scoreboard will be in right-center field and it will be a stacked unit. A truss, similar to that at the Harford Community College athletic complex, will be at the top, displaying the words “Miracle League of Harford County” and the Miracle League logo.
A 5-foot-by-8-foot digital board, a high pixel digital board, will display players pictures, names and hopefully nicknames, per Walls.
The numeric scoreboard, which is 3-foot-by-8-foot, won’t be used a lot, but Walls says they’re putting it in anyway.
There will also be a 2-foot-by-8-foot sheet metal sponsor board. There is a sponsor.
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From the ground to the top of the truss is 27 feet.