07/11/11 8:12 PM ET
All-Star donation provides aid to blind children
By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com
"Then picture the lights being turned off," he said to a group of students, teachers and their families Monday afternoon at the Phoenix chapter of the Foundation for Blind Children.
"Today, Major League Baseball has turned the lights on for our kids."
On Monday, MLB presented a $1 million check to the Foundation for Blind Children for a new lab and learning center that will provide resources to more than 2,000 Arizona children, including hundreds of rural children who do not have access to assistive vision technology.
"This is a very emotional day," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said. "This is an organization that's so good and so meaningful in what they've done for children and to be able to participate in something like this means the world for us."
The MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Vision Center for Innovation will provide state-of-the-art vision technology and smartphone training as well as special Braille note takers, laptops, closed circuit television, magnifiers and translation software.
Additionally, the donation will allow for service technology, upgrades when needed, evaluations and assessments of blind and visually-impaired students.
"The fact that baseball is able to do things like this is the best part of my job," Selig said. "Anytime you can make a community better or the world better as a result of our sport, it's a privilege."
The donation is part of a number of community-enriching events during the five-day midsummer festivities that will bring in an estimated $67 million into the Phoenix economy.
"This is why we wanted to host the All-Star Game," D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said. "Because of the impact you can have on the community."
Selig, Hall and Ashton were joined by All-Star Summer Ambassador Luis Gonzalez, D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick and students for a tour and demonstration before the check was presented.
"Today's gift will level the playing field throughout Arizona," Ashton said. "The lives of blind children in Arizona will forever be changed."
Anthony Fenech is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.