It’s no secret that MLB is trying to make baseball more appealing and inclusive. I applaud their efforts; everyone should love this sport as much as I do. Okay, maybe not that much, I am a bit of a freak.
Anyway… this week, the Chicago Cubs Class-A Advanced minor league affiliates, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, announced that they will have Deaf Awareness Night on August 19. The team will wear sign-language jerseys, and the game will include a silent inning, because the event is about shared experiences as much as it is about inclusion. Special ballgame activities will include a pregame “Intro to ASL” class, and the signing (for once, not a typo!) of the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
Former Major League outfield Curtis Pride will be the special guest emcee. Pride has been deaf since birth, and had an 11-year MLB career with the Angels, Expos, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, and Mets. He now coaches baseball at Gallaudet University, a private university for the deaf and hard of hearing, in Washington D.C. He also serves as MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion.
So much of the ballgame experience is sound-centric: the roar of the crowd, the emotion in the announcers’ voices, the singing of ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” I’ve never really thought about it until now, but it breaks my heart to think that anyone should feel detached from the experience at all for reasons beyond their control.
Other Major League teams and their minor league affiliates should follow suit with Deaf Awareness Nights of their own and other themed games. Hopefully, this ballgame will be as special as it seems.
Buy tickets here!
Photo: Myrtle Beach Pelicans