SAN ANTONIO – Saturdays are something Juan Hernandez and his two children look forward to every week. It's the day members of the San Antonio Miracle League, a baseball league for children with special needs, meet to play.
This Saturday morning was different for Hernandez. He said he and several other parents were filled with frustration and anger when they arrived at the field and discovered someone had stolen the league's sound equipment.
"When we got here this morning, the first teams that played let us know that somebody had cut through the fence and broke into our containers that had our speakers and all of that stuff and they stole the sound system," Hernandez said.
Michael Miller, the founder of the Miracle League, said the sound system plays a vital role in the league's Saturday triple headers.
"Maury, our announcer, announces all three games and he calls out, obviously, team's players by names and nicknames and we have music going on, so it's kind of the life of our ballgames every Saturday morning," Miller said. "A lot of our special needs players have walk up music that they like, and when you get them out of a rhythm it's difficult for them."
Miller said staff from Century Music volunteered a sound system for the remainder of Saturday's games, but the league is looking for a permanent solution.
"We're going to do our best to replace the stuff as quickly as we can and we're going to move on," Miller said. "It's not going to ruin our season."
Miller said when the league acquires a new sound system, he will also invest in better security to prevent the future theft.
Hernandez said his two children are on the autism spectrum and that the league is one of the few places where "everyone is made to feel special," and where "everybody gets cheered on." He said the theft of the sound system hurt parents hardest.
"I know for us parents, we're like 'Why would somebody do that to a place like this?'" Hernandez said. "It doesn't make sense to me."
Hernandez said he doesn't wish the thieves any ill will. Instead, he said he hopes the thieves would come to a game to see what the Miracle League does and whom the league benefits.
"Don't steal from a place like this," Hernandez said. "Come check out what it's about. Look at the kids, give them high fives, get to know them. You'll see it's not worth it, stealing from a place like this."
Miller said the thieves had to have known they were stealing from a league for children with special needs, pointing out a large sign at the entrance of the field.
"If they can read English, they knew where they were," Miller said.
Miller invited the thieves to return the sound system to the container it was taken from.