Still Going Strong

Brush with death can't keep Miranda down

July 7, 2018 Cranberry Local Sports

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Kelly Automotive Park public address announcer Jay Miranda is still going strong despite undergoing two major heart surgeries, the surgical loss of toes, blindness in an eye and taking dialysis treatments three days every week.

A booming voice behind a microphone?

Jay Miranda is so much more.

“We've been married for 27 years and he's the most positive and determined person I know,” his wife, Tina, said.

“He stared death down. He's a walking miracle,” said Butler youth football coach Chris Morrow, who sits alongside Miranda in the public address announcer's booth during Golden Tornado games.

Miranda genuinely enjoys life and announcing names of players as they step into the batter's box at Kelly Automotive Park.

He's been doing so since the Butler BlueSox came on the scene nine years ago. He does the public address announcing for Butler, Knoch, Karns City and Moniteau baseball games at the park as well, along with Butler football at Art Bernardi Stadium.

“I like making the kids feel like big leaguers,” Miranda said. “It's a special time in their lives.”

It's a wonder Miranda, who turns 53 in August, still has life at all.

Before he even began doing games at then-Pullman Park, he underwent a quadruple bypass in 2007.

Through blood work following his first surgery, Miranda learned he was diagnosed with renal malfunctioning.

“My kidneys weren't filtering out the toxins from my body,” he said. “I was in the serious stage.”

Miranda has been a dialysis patient since 2010. That requires trips to the Butler County Dialysis Center three days per week. Each treatment lasts four hours.

He gets up at 3 a.m. and receives treatment from 5:15 to 9:45 a.m.

The renal failure has affected Miranda in other ways. He has had all of his toes amputated. He permanently lost sight in an eye “because my blood pressure got so high my retina exploded.”

Since Miranda can no longer drive, his wife takes him to dialysis.

“It was an adjustment at first,” Tina said. “But I can always go back to bed when we're done. We go shopping at Wal-Mart, I go in while Jay stays in the car because he can't walk for that long.

“But after a while, I stopped even thinking about stuff like that. I just do it automatically.”

Despite having no toes, Miranda does walk.

“I walk with stubs on both feet,” he said. “My shoes are filled with inserts and I balance myself by using a walker.

“I refuse to sit in a wheelchair. I feel like I can walk and I'm not going to debilitate myself.”

The biggest challenge for the Miranda family was yet to come. It arrived late in 2016.

In mid-November of that year, Miranda found himself fatigued and short of breath. He went to the hospital and learned his heart valve was leaking.

“The doctor described it as having vegetation on my heart valve,” Miranda said. “Then he met with my wife and I and gave us the news.

“The best option was surgery. But with the condition my body was in, the chance of survival was 25 percent.”

In Miranda's words, they decided to “roll the dice.”

The couple has four children: Anthony (30), Alex (26), Angela (24) and Alexandra (14).

Miranda didn't feel like he was leaving them behind.

“It was 25 percent ... That's not zero percent. When you have a chance to live life, you take it,” he said.

“Sure, I was scared. And there was a time after the surgery when I guess it looked bad and Alex asked Tina if the family should start planning my funeral.”

She was having none of it.

“Maybe, 1 percent of me felt that way,” she said. “But I know that man. He was going to pull through. He was going to make sure he made it.”

But it wasn't easy.

Before going into surgery, Miranda said he told his wife: “I love you ... Take care of our children if I don't come back.”

The surgery was Nov. 28, 2016, and lasted six hours. Miranda did not wake up until the second week of December.

For six weeks, he had an IV tube going into his jugular vein. From the day of the surgery, he was bed-ridden until Jan. 17, 2017. A month of rehab followed in Harmarville.

“I pretty much had to learn how to do everything all over again,” Miranda said.

When he finally returned home in late February, Miranda looked at the calendar on the Kelly Automotive Park web-site. Moniteau was scheduled to open its high school baseball season there in the third week of March.

Throughout all of his physical issues, Miranda had only missed doing two games ast the park in 10 years — two BlueSox games, because he was hospitalized at the time.

“I had a month to get myself ready to walk into that ballpark and do my job,” Miranda said. “Did that serve as motivation? You bet it did.”

He walked into the ballpark that day and hasn't missed a game since.

“Jay is amazing, so inspirational,” Morrow said. “He's always smiling. His demeanor when he tells his story says it all.

“He tells it like, 'oh, by the way,' like it's no big deal what he's been through. It's mind-boggling.”

Miranda has further motivation as he continues his thrice-weekly dialysis treatments — which he will do for the rest of his life.

“Our youngest, Alexandra, has gone through the most with this,” he said. “She was home the most when Daddy was sick. She helped me up the stairs when she was 3. She called 911 one day when I was taken to the hospital when she was 5.

“She is much more mature than a 14-year-old should be because of all of this.”

Miranda first got into public address announcing when his son Alex was 8 years old, playing baseball in Center Township. When the BlueSox were formed and asked him to do the p.a., he jumped at the chance.

“My dream was always to do p.a. for a major league team, but this is just as good,” he said.

Don't expect Miranda to step away from the microphone anytime soon.

“He loves baseball and he considers this his job now,” his wife said. “As long as the BlueSox are here, as long as there's a job to do, he'll be here.”

Miranda has still further motivation — life itself.

“Life is precious. I still have my bucket list,” he said. “I want to be able to play with my grandkids someday. And I owe a lot to Alexandra. I told her I'd be there for her high school graduation and when she graduates from medical school.

“She's wanted to be a doctor ever since she saw doctors save my life.

“I'm still hopeful of seeing the BlueSox win a championship. They came so close last year. I did announce Knoch when they won the state title in 2015. I'm still hoping to see Butler football win a championship. There's a lot to live for,” Miranda added.

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