“Take Me Out to the Ballgame!”
Friday, April 4, 2014 is the Home Opener for the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox. The incredible sights and sounds of Fenway Park are widely discussed, and the current organization has done a wonderful job to ensure that those who are blind or visually impaired fans are able to fully enjoy the game.
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Commissioner Paul Saner said, “As a lifelong Red Sox fan, this is incredibly meaningful. I’ve been using the visually impaired seats since I was declared legally blind. Although I can no longer see the ball in flight, just sitting in the crowd at Fenway Park with a radio and the smell of Fenway Franks in the air is a sensational experience.”
Boston Red Sox President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Lucchino has worked with Rick Morin, treasurer of the Bay State Council of the Blind and Amy Ruell, First Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts to accomplish a variety of goals relating to promoting accessibility at beloved Fenway Park. Over the past several years, these organizations, and Major League Baseball (MLB) have worked together to:
- deliver the WEEI 93.7 FM radio play-by-play of Red Sox games via Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs) without the 10-second delay originally experienced by fans,
- create a system to report any technical issues with the ALDs via text message to 23215 with the keyword “security” (incredibly useful if a fan finds themselves seated in the middle of Fenway’s notoriously long rows),
- ensure proper seating for visually impaired individuals, and
- test accessibility of MLB team websites and the “At Bat” mobile app where fans can subscribe and listen to live game coverage.
“The current ownership of the Boston Red Sox has been very friendly to the disability community. I’ve been able to reach out directly to Larry Lucchino, who is always very responsive to have Fan Services look into issues,” Morin said recently via telephone. Last week, Morin and Ruell met with Red Sox personnel to discuss the infrastructure upgrades needed to eliminate the “dead zones” in the ballpark for the ALDs.
Detailed information on ordering tickets via telephone at (877) RED-SOX9, requesting braille and large print schedules, and picking up ALDs on game day can be found in the Fenway Park Access Guide.
In October 2013, Joe Quintanilla, Director of Major Gifts and Planning Giving at National Braille Press (NBP), wrote “Next Stop, Fenway Park! Using Braille to Travel Independently” describing using Fenway Park to learn orientation and mobility skills as a child.
Go Red Sox!
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