Orioles to don Braille-lettered jerseys tonight

September 18th, 2018

BALTIMORE -- On Tuesday, the Orioles are doing something special for their fans without sight -- they'll become the first team in professional sports to incorporate Braille lettering into their game day uniforms.

"Orioles" and the players' last names will be spelled out in Braille, and the first 15,000 fans to attend the 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays will receive a Braille alphabet card.

It's all in honor of the 40th anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind moving its headquarters to Baltimore. The organization was established in 1940.

The Orioles approached the NFB earlier this season to celebrate the organization on July 26, as part of the day honoring the Americans with Disability Act. When they learned that it was the 40th anniversary of the NFB's relocation to Baltimore, they wanted to do more.

"We felt strongly that this occasion warranted its own celebration," Greg Bader, Orioles vice president of communications and marketing said.

"We enjoy visiting the parks," Chris Danielsen, director of public relations for the National Federation of the Blind, said. "For a totally blind person like myself, there are different things to enjoy about the ballpark other than the visuals of it.

"Of course it's important that baseball and all sports were broadcast on radio before they were broadcast on television, and both blind and sighted fans have always enjoyed baseball games on the radio when they could not come to the ballpark."

The Orioles have blind fans, like Danielsen, who come to the game, and another, Bill Sciannella, is a season ticket holder who has a son who plays baseball for Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa.

Sciannella was raised a fan of the Washington Senators, and when they moved to Texas after the 1971 season, became an Orioles fan.

"My favorite part is when they hit a home run and everybody goes crazy," Sciannella said.

Bader says the Orioles working with the NFB is important to them.

"The idea of Braille lettering on the jerseys came about as a way in which to raise awareness for the NFB and the tremendous services they provide in Baltimore and throughout the country," Bader said.

"It is an honor to partner with an institution with the track record of the National Federation of the Blind, and we look forward to working with them in the future as we continue to make the Oriole Park experience accessible and enjoyable for everyone."