President’s Message: Go Team: ACB and Baseball, by Kim Charlson

It has been six years since Major League Baseball (MLB) and the American Council of the Blind announced their collaboration for expanded accessibility, along with attorneys Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian. The MLB web site, www.mlb.com, specific team web sites, and MLB’s mobile apps now meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). MLB’s accessibility initiative started with advocacy by blind baseball fans who wanted access. I know many people who are blind who are avid baseball fans – even me – when I can root for my beloved Red Sox!
 
I have my own “At Bat” account from the App Store and it was pretty easy to set up. I can listen to the Red Sox broadcasts anytime on my iPhone, when I am traveling or away from my home stereo.
 
Initially, I thought that I would take an interest in the Red Sox because Brian liked them so much, and it would give us something to share. Well, I caught the bug, and now I’m a much more avid fan – telling Brian what time the game starts, or who has the better batting average.  
 
This has all come about for me because of advocacy with MLB – who is demonstrating an ongoing commitment to access by making sure that as they improve and upgrade their web site and the apps to access At Bat for radio or MLB TV, they are serious about making sure that they still work with assistive technology. 
 
At the Bay State Council of the Blind convention in 2014, I was able to have my picture taken with the World Series trophy. It was super fun, and the 2013 winning Red Sox season seems very far away nowadays … but I still persevere, as all of us do, who are baseball fans – or advocates.
 
I have the great honor of being the captain of the ACB team – the work we all do to make things better for others who are blind can’t be done by one or two people. It takes a dedicated team to make change happen. Whether you work on the local chapter, state or national level, there are always issues that need to be addressed and people who need our assistance.
 
Thanks to all of you who work hard to make things better for all people who are blind — I am very proud to have you all as part of the ACB team! Keep up the great work!