[Nfbmo] Baseball at it's finest.

Gail Bryant gbryant at socket.net
Mon May 21 01:58:50 UTC 2012

What a neat story Fred.  It should give us all food for thought.  Whether we
think we can do this or not, we all have dreams and should strive to make
them come true.

Gail Bryant
Columbia Braille Teaching Services L.L.C.
1212 London Drive
Columbia, MO 65203-2012
Phone: (573)817-5993
Cell: (573)268-4962
gbryant at socket.net

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of fred olver
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2012 11:58 AM
To: NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List; NFB of Missouri Mailing List;
msb-alumni at googlegroups.com
Subject: [Nfbmo] Baseball at it's finest.

You may not think this is about you, but I think it's something we can all
learn from.

In two weeks, Reggie Deal will plop down in a seat at Target Field at
Minneapolis and be generally unimpressed by the skyline, the giant Target ad
on Target Center, or the big light pole beyond the rightfield bleachers.
Deal won't see any of those things, but despite being blind, he'll drink the
scene in with other senses. 
"There are a lot of things you're able to experience," he tells MLB.com,
"when your faculties take over and supplement what's not there."
Deal has started a mission to visit 30 baseball parks in 30 days. He's
sandwiching Minneapolis in between Boston and Phoenix.
"I want people to have a different visual of what blindness entails," the
Wyoming man said. "People get caught up in the negative, but there are ways
to work around it." 
He's documenting his trip on his Facebook page (he's also on Twitter), where
it's obvious one of his biggest challenges will be how to fit in all the
fans who want to meet him into what must surely be a hectic schedule to make
the ballgames and the airline connections.
"People ask me, 'How can you enjoy the game without seeing it?'" he said. "I
say, 'You don't realize how much of the game you can pick up on until you
close your eyes.'"

this is the first one I read

Reggie Deal can tell a lot about baseball by simply listening.
As he stood near the batting cage at Target Field earlier this month before
a game between the Twins and Blue Jays, Deal could hear how the baseball
came off the bat of Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe.
"The way the ball sounds off the bat, if you're close enough to the plate,
sometimes it'll give you an indication if it's a slice - like that," Deal
said as Plouffe curved one foul down the right-field line. "Or if it's real
hard hit."
Most baseball fans might not pick up on such subtleties, but Reggie Deal is
not like most baseball fans. The 39-year-old has been blind since he was a
baby. Born prematurely, he was placed in an incubator. But an overexposure
to oxygen in the incubator caused his retinas to detach from his eyes.
Deal hasn't been able to see since then, but that hasn't stopped him from
enjoying the fine details of a baseball game. As a matter of fact, Deal is
on the home stretch of a quest to see all 30 major league ballparks in a
30-day span. Saturday, he was at Comerica Park in Detroit, his 21st park of
the trip. Sunday, he'll visit Coors Field in Denver for ballpark No. 22.
It's something Deal has wanted to do for years - the idea for this journey
came about nearly 15 years ago, he said. But he started getting serious
about it in recent years by planning itineraries for his trip.
His plans became reality April 29 as the Texas native and current Wyoming
resident began his journey at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He'll end
his whirlwind tour on May 28 at iconic Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Deal won't see all these parks like other fans would see them, but he
remains intensely curious about many physical aspects of each stadium. He
talks fondly of the warehouse building beyond right field at Camden Yards in
Baltimore. And about how the odd shape of the outfield at Boston's Fenway
Park intrigues him. He's also hoping to perhaps get a chance to tour the
ivy-draped outfield walls of Wrigley Field.
"For a blind man, he's one of the most visual people I've ever met," said
Reggie's wife, Lorna.
Being blind allows Deal to see ballparks in an entirely different fashion.
He soaks in the smells of the roasting hog dogs and notes the differences in
sounds from one park to another. During batting practice in Minneapolis,
Deal commented on the echoes that resonated from Target Field as each ball
hit the bat.
"It's not that I really see anything that other people don't see. It's more
the perspective," Deal said. "What I say is close your eyes for a minute and
you'll notice there's a lot of things that go on in the ballpark that the
stadium itself will tell you. . . . Those sounds and experiences will tell
you things that are happening that you don't necessarily have to look at to
fully appreciate. . "It's the totality of each ballpark that makes it unique
in its own way."
Reggie Deal is unique, too. Not only has he been blind since he was young,
but Deal is also a thyroid cancer survivor. During his trek to see all 30
parks in 30 days, he's also helping promote thyroid cancer awareness by
teaming with ThyCa, the Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association.
"It was a very changing experience," Lorna said of her husband's diagnosis,
which came while he was in graduate school several years ago. "He decided
then that you don't put things off that you want to do because you never
really know how you have. Life should be lived to the fullest."
And that's exactly what Reggie Deal is doing. He's currently between jobs
after moving from Texas - where he was a program development specialist for
a community college - to Afton, Wyo., to be with Lorna. The two met online
and married in June 2011. Deal's trip will wrap up in time for him to return
home and celebrate one year of marriage with Lorna, who stayed behind in
Wyoming while her husband left for his cross-country voyage. 
"I'm ready to be home, and she really wants me back home," Deal said. "At
this point, I feel like I'm on the baseball version of a Mount Everest climb
and I'm not going to stop now."
Being blind and traveling across America on his own has presented several
challenges for Deal, who is paying for his trip out of his own pocket. Since
he decided to travel without carrying much cash, he has had trouble finding
taxis that take credit cards. In some cases, total strangers have driven him
to find nearby ATMs.
While in New York, he chipped a tooth when a cab door hit him in the mouth.
The following day, he had to scramble after discovering his airport shuttle
to take him to the hotel wasn't there.
"It was one thing after another," Deal said. "Just seeing how shocked people
are by the fact that I'm doing this and they seem to think, 'My God. You've
got a disability. You must have a travel companion, right?' I'm like, 'No, I
don't.' I never have, unless I'm traveling with my wife to go somewhere."
Recently, Deal had an issue with customs while flying from Los Angeles to
Toronto. The flight attendant told him he must have a customs agent read the
directions aloud, so Deal had to wait until he landed to fill out the forms.
But he's pressed on and has had a pleasant experience at each ballpark. It's
the task of getting there that's been a bit of an obstacle.
"I was worried about the fiascoes of public transportation and how it would
frustrate and upset him," Lorna said. "But him being out on his own and
doing this on his own, I wasn't worried about him, per se. It was more about
how others around him would respond."
Deal's experiences have been memorable. He witnessed the boos that rained
down on Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett on Thursday at Fenway Park - "They were
on him mercilessly," Deal said - but missed Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton
hit four home runs in one game by just one day.
While in Toronto on Friday, Deal was keeping tabs on what Tigers pitcher
Justin Verlander was doing in Detroit against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Verlander took a no-hitter into the ninth inning just one day before Deal
was scheduled to visit Comerica Park. But Verlander fell just short,
allowing his only hit in the ninth.
"I'm sitting in Toronto (Friday) night and I'm thinking, 'Verlander, you
better not throw a no-hitter because I'm in Detroit the day after you make
history,' " Deal said. "I don't normally root for a guy to not get one, but
I'm kind of glad he didn't. Otherwise I could honestly say that I missed two
major baseball accomplishments by one day."
Deal has yet to witness a grand slam, an inside the park home run, a shutout
or a walk-off. He's hoping to witness a bit of baseball history in his final
week and a half of his journey.
Even if he can't see it.
"That's the beauty of baseball. You never know when someone's going to hit
four home runs," Deal said. "You never know when someone's going to throw a
no-hitter, pull off a triple play or an unassisted triple play or hit for
the cycle. There's always the chance things happen."

Deal's itinerary:
April 29: Arlington, Texas
April 30: Houston
May 1: Atlanta
May 2: St. Louis
May 3: Kansas City
May 4: St. Petersburg, Fla.
May 5: New York (Citi Field)
May 6: Washington
May 7: Baltimore
May 8: Philadelphia
May 9: New York (Yankee Stadium)
May 10: Boston
May 11: Minneapolis
May 12: Phoenix
May 13: Oakland, Calif.
May 14: San Francisco
May 15: Los Angeles
May 16: San Diego
May 17: Anaheim, Calif.
May 18: Toronto
May 19: Detroit
May 20: Denver
May 21: Seattle
May 22: Milwaukee
May 23: Cleveland
May 24: Cincinnati
May 25: Pittsburgh
May 26: Miami
May 27: Chicago (US Cellular Field)
May 28: Chicago (Wrigley Field)

http://www.dealingwithvisionloss.com  For some of us it's a way of life and
for some of us it just makes life easier. Fred Olver
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