Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Accessibility of Baseball

by Paul Ferrara

Many of my fondest childhood memories either center around or are somehow related to Major League Baseball. When I was four or five years old, dad taught me how the game was played, and I've been hooked on baseball from that day forward.

Although NBC offered their Game of the Week for several years and ABC showed Monday Night Baseball for a few years, usually you watched or listened to the team that was closest to where you live. For me growing up in Delaware, that team was the Philadelphia Phillies.

Being forced to listen mostly to one team on the radio was fine at that time because I was, and still am, a huge Phillies fan. Things changed, though, when I left Delaware. I moved to other places around the country including my current residence in Louisville, Kentucky. Each of these different areas featured broadcasts of a team other than the Phillies. I enjoy a good ball game no matter who is playing, but I truly missed being able to turn on a Phillies game whenever I wanted.

For a number of years, there was not a solution to this problem. Advances in technology did, eventually, provide opportunities for people to watch or listen to their favorite team(s). Major League Baseball via MLB.com began to offer MLB TV and Gameday Audio provided video and audio broadcasts respectively.

Watching the video feeds requires a computer, Apple TV, or another similarly-connected device while listening to the audio broadcasts requires you to be near your computer.

As a subscriber to XM Radio I can listen to any game as it happens; however, if I am away from my radio, then I cannot listen to the game. SiriusXM has developed an app for mobile devices, but it is terribly inaccessible and, therefore, totally useless for blind people at this point in time.

The options I described are good ones, but none of them allow you to listen to games wherever you might be. But the MLB At Bat 12 app now provides access to the radio broadcasts of every team whenever they are playing. None of the radio broadcasts are blacked out, something which cannot be said for MLB TV. The MLB 12 app is available for iPhones, iPads, select Android phones and tablets, BlackBerries,and Windows phones.

Some of the app's features include:

  • EVERY GAME. EVERYWHERE: The #1 sports app of all-time and Hall of Fame inductee for iPhone, iPad and Macworld, MLB.com At Bat is the official app of Major League Baseball.
  • Customizeable home screen to select a favorite team and access information about that team from the home screen: The app also includes news, scores, video highlights, and the ability to select push notofications for starting and ending of games involving your favorite team. You get all of this for $14.95 for the entire season or for $2.95 per month. You need to buy gameday audio with in at bat.

Click here to see a complete list of devices which utilize the app. I use the app on my iPhone and love it! If you're a fan of Major League Baseball and you want access to every radio broadcast, including the playoffs and World Series, get this app--you will love it!

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