#Shortstops: Sharing the game
The roar of the crowd, the crack of the bat, and the feel of the glove among many other sensory experiences give meaning to the game we know and love, particularly for those with impaired vision.
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At first glance for a sighted person, the program was just a blank piece of paper and the standard alphabet had just been typed on a card. However, somewhere in the crowd, a blind person smiled because a closer look for seeing fans revealed the embossed dots of the Braille alphabet.
These programs and cards were produced by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), giving blind baseball fans the chance to read the game program – an experience they don’t often get to have – and teach others how to read Braille. The card itself explains the history of Braille and the NFB on one side, and fans of all ages had fun deciphering the “Go Orioles!” message on the other.
They continually defend the rights of the blind and provide support to blind Americans, recognizing that blindness is not just the inability to see, but rather having sight bad enough such that even with corrective lenses, one must use alternative methods to participate in any activity someone with normal vision is able to do.
For example, the NFB provides programs for blind people to learn Braille since only about 10 percent of blind/low vision students are taught Braille in school.
Carlos Alberto Ibay, a concert pianist who has been blind since birth, performed the National Anthem on Sept. 18, and the NFB President, Mark Riccobono threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Members of the NFB were stationed at the Orioles REACH Community Booth during the game as well.
In the bottom of the first inning, Cedric Mullins produced an undeniable crack of the bat for a leadoff homerun for the O’s.
Now the Hall of Fame will preserve in perpetuity a card that doesn’t appear to say much, but in actuality, is worth a thousand words for its contribution to blind fans living the life they want.
Jenna Guenther was a the 2019 programming intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development