Feature Writer Terri Winaught – Positive Pirates

When the Pittsburgh Pirates began the 2011 baseball season by winning wonderfully and flirting with first place, I was filled with hope and enthusiasm. However, after the all-star break, the Pirates went into a slump from which they never arose.

Given such a disappointing season, I asked myself if there was anything I could still say about the Pirates that was positive. What follows are some positive Pirate ponderings:

As part of their community involvement, the Pirates do a wonderful job of celebrating diversity. In May, 2011, for example, the team celebrated Latino Day, during which time fans had a chance to meet Latino players, listen to Latino music and enjoy Latino food.

Also in May, “the Bucks” hosted a Disability Awareness Fair–an annual event which enables persons with disabilities and the organizations they represent to showcase their programs and services.

Yet another celebration of diversity occurred during the African-American Heritage Days, which were held on July 22nd and 23rd of this year. In addition to honoring the Negro Leagues and African-American contributions to baseball in general, this celebration also served as an acknowledgement of the contributions of Pittsburgh’s local black community.

The final positive point I will ponder is the Pittsburgh Pirates funding and sponsorship of the only wheelchair softball league in Southwestern Pennsylvania. This inclusive league was established in partnership with the Hope Network, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit which focuses on health and fitness for persons with physical disabilities.

In Part Two of this series, I will discuss what Major League Baseball has done to enhance the accessibility of their website, www.mlb.com. Through enhanced accessibility, mlb.com has become much easier for persons who are blind or vision-impaired to navigate.

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