Springfield Cardinals lend a hand for a night at Miracle League ballfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - If you're having one of those days, and need a reminder of the good things in life, look no further than the Miracle League ballfield.

It's impossible to leave without a smile.

"They're cheering me on to hit the ball," Jacob Thornsberry says. Thornsberry was playing baseball on the field Monday evening.

The Miracle League field consists of rubberized turf, wheelchair-accessible dugouts, and painted-on bases -- all of which make America's favorite pastime a sport open to kids who otherwise wouldn't get their chance to play.

"It means the world because he gets to be included in something that's so important to him because he loves sports so much -- and so he feels like he's part of a team," parent Julie Mercer-Kidd said.

Making this day even more memorable are some of Springfield's best ballplayers. Springfield Cardinals manager Mike Shildt and players Tommy Pham, Chris Swauger, Scott McGregor, Jake Lemmerman -- and even general manager Matt Gifford -- all signed autographs after the game.

On the field, the Cardinal players buddied up with the kids to help them hit home runs and round bases.

"Put joy on these kids faces...coming out and playing baseball, to me it's the greatest game that we have around here," Springfield Cardinals shortstop Jake Lemmerman said.

Miracle League player Levi Decker summed his thoughts up on the Cardinals joining them succinctly.

"It was good," Decker said.

And it was all good: the cheering, the families, the fans, the Cards -- but especially the kids.

"This is such a great asset to the city," Cardinals GM Matt Gifford said. "And with us having a day game today it was the perfect opportunity to bring our players out to meet real heroes that are on the field living their dream and playing baseball."