SOLANA BEACH — San Diego Padres manager Bud Black couldn’t record a single out when he took to the mound recently. No, it wasn’t any attempt at a comeback, the affable manager came out to the Engel Family Field Oct. 22 in support of The Miracle League of San Diego’s second annual Celebrity Pitcher Day.
The event, which is spearheaded by Padres All-Star closer Heath Bell and former Padre Mark Loretta and active board member of the Miracle League, gave the kids an opportunity to face Major League pitching, all while dressed up in Halloween costumes.
“It just demonstrates the commitment of the Padres and the community,” said Dan Engel, co-founder and president of The Miracle League of San Diego. “Having these pitchers come out just enlarges our family and makes us feel really good…to combine it with Halloween just makes it more fun.”
“I took a pounding today,” Black said. “I don’t think I registered an out.”
Participating in the event, he said, and what this league stands for is something that the Padres want to be a part of.
“It is such an energy-filled afternoon and so much positive mojo coming from these kids and parents. They get to play baseball,” Black added.
Bell has been a part of the Miracle League ever since he joined the Padres organization. It’s something that is important to him and to his family, with one daughter in the league and two others who volunteer.
“Everybody’s out here smiling, having a great time. This is the way it is every week…it’s a good time for the kids to get out of the house and enjoy and just be a kid. I’m honored to be out here and be a part of it,” Bell said.
The day served as a representation of their community spirit, Engel said. With such a high demand for a Miracle League expansion, Engel said they were looking to build a second field in the South Bay. A lot of what was happening within the community, the stands and on the field was what they are looking bring to the South Bay, because of the huge demand throughout San Diego County.
“We’re looking forward to building that second field to serve more in the South Bay,” Engel said.
The day also saw former Chargers standout Junior Seau throw off the mound, including Cy Young Award-winner Randy Jones.
As for not recording an out: “That’s why they call it the off-season; we’ve got stuff to work on,” Bell said.