Keith Connors

Weekdays 10a-3p

Play Ball with Miracle By The Bay. Miracle By the Bay League opened their third season with a game at Azaela Park. Play Ball! Players were stepping up to the plate with their biggest cheerleader, Matthew Walker, the Director of league operations, right in front of the dugout.

Matthew Walker, who is 28 years old and living with cerebral palsy, never let his disability get in the way of achieving his dreams. In 2018, he founded the non-profit Miracle By the Bay, with a mission to empower, inspire, and encourage individuals with various disabilities for special needs youth and adults within the community.

In the two seasons that have passed, the league has served 81 families, and Matthew Walker is thrilled to see the expansion and the return of some players. He gathered partners, volunteers, and sponsors, even getting support from the Tampa Bay Rays to put on social events and create the Miracle by the Bay Baseball league for children and adults with disabilities.

For Matthew, it is about making a difference in the very community he grew up in. His tireless efforts have earned him admiration from his community. Lendel Bright, the ADA & Adversity director for the City of St. Pete, said, “I enjoy the energy he shows, and he’s an inspiration to other folks…it doesn’t matter what my disability is, I can do this!”

Shawn Drouin, event recruitment coordinator for the City of St. Pete, added, “The city fully supports anything Matt does. There are no disabilities, only abilities. All of these athletes throw, hit, run and pitch just like anyone else does. It’s really the magic of baseball and the magic of what Miracle By the Bay brings.” Play Ball!

The Miracle By the Bay League is a testament to what can be accomplished when one individual has a vision and the determination to make it a reality. Matthew Walker’s efforts have created a community that is inclusive and welcoming to individuals with disabilities. It is a reminder that, with the right attitude and support, anything is possible.

As the league enters its third season, it is sure to bring joy, excitement, and a sense of belonging to all those who participate. The Miracle By the Bay is proof that disabilities do not define individuals; rather, it is their abilities and their potential that should be celebrated. FOX13