You probably don’t want to read about the Twins right now, since they currently have a record of 0-4 and have scored a measly 6 runs all season! So, I want to share with you an interesting essay written by my friend Peter Froehlich about a possible improvement that could be made to Target Field. Here it is:
Target Field Needs Services for the Visually Impaired
Target Field is the home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team. Target Field is located at 1 Twins Way in downtown Minneapolis. It is an outdoor stadium that seats 42,045 people. It is a very handicapped-friendly stadium, as it offers wheelchair seating, elevators, ramps, escalators, assistive listening devices for those who are hearing impaired, and easy to use concession stands and restrooms. Target Field is also equipped with a large scoreboard that is easy to see.
What Target Field does not have is audio descriptions of games, which would be for people who are visually impaired or blind. Without audio descriptions, people who are visually impaired or blind have a harder time knowing what is happening during the game. This problem started in 2010, which was when Target Field first opened its doors. To make the game-day experience better for people who are visually impaired or blind, Target Field should hand out a Bluetooth device connected to the radio or some type of device that can transmit the audio feed between the descriptor or announcer of the game and the visually impaired or blind person. The way the audio feed could get to listeners is by someone speaking into a headset or receiving the audio feed through the radio. To get one of these audio devices, fans could request it when they are buying tickets to the game. When fans arrive at the ballpark, they would be able to pick up the audio device at the customer service table.
The problem of seeing is made worse by the sun shining, darkness due to weather or night games, and far away positions of seating. These conditions make it harder for visually impaired or blind people to know what is happening in the game. Personally, I have a difficult time knowing what is going on during games. It would make a big difference for me if there were audio descriptions of games. Even though Target Field is an improvement in accessibility from the Metrodome, it could still use some more accommodations.
In order to get this problem solved, this would have to be presented to Target Field management. This problem could also be presented to law makers, as this is a legal issue.
George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990. This law states “that disabled persons receive the same opportunities as everyone else.” Due to this law, Target Field is legally obligated to provide services and up to date accommodations to those who have disabilities, including individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
As a person with a visual impairment, I feel that my opportunities are not the same as people without visual impairments. Even though I am able to see the players on the field, I cannot see the movement of the ball. It is also hard for me to see the scoreboards depending where I am sitting in the ballpark. I can see the scoreboards better when I am sitting in seats fairly close to the field, but these seats cost more money than the upper-deck seats. Also, the sun often gets in my eyes, which makes it harder to see the game and know what is happening.
There are alternative solutions to this problem. The person who is blind or visually impaired could watch the game on the television at home, but as a result they would miss out on the outdoor experience. They could bring a handheld radio to the game, but those cost money and bringing a radio could take away from interactions with others during the game. Visually impaired or blind people could ask someone what the score of the game is, but there is no point of going to the game if you have to constantly ask someone the score. Another alternative is to sit close to the field, but this may cost a fortune and a lot of people cannot afford those seats. The final alternative is to stand by one of the many televisions located in the ballpark, but this means that you have to stand the whole game instead of sitting and relaxing in your seat and you could get in the way of other fans. These alternative solutions are easily workable but the person who is blind or visually impaired does not get the same game-day experience as someone with better vision.
Even though I have a hard time seeing games, I still have a fun time watching them. Everyone who goes to games should have the opportunity to know what is going on in the game. The best solution for this problem is to have audio descriptions of games. This could create more jobs, as the Twins would have to hire people to do the audio descriptions. Having audio descriptions also could make more money for Target Field by gaining more Twins fans. I would go to games more often if there was some type of accommodation to suit my needs.
Comment from Two Men On’s Sam Graves: I think this is a very interesting proposal. Hopefully, the Twins will read this and consider making this accommodation! What are your thoughts on this issue??
Guest post provided by: Peter Froehlich