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Minor League Baseball

Sign language jerseys highlight minor league team’s ‘Deaf Awareness Night’ (pic)

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans — the Chicago Cubs’ Class A Advanced affiliate — have announced the team will hold “Deaf Awareness Night” on Aug. 19.

Among the aspects of the evening include the team wearing jerseys featuring the Pelicans name scripted in American Sign Language.

As noted in the tweet, former major-leaguer Curtis Pride will take part in the evening. Pride, deaf since birth, enjoyed an 11-year MLB career with the Angels, Expos, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves and Mets. Pride has five percent residual hearing and is an expert lip-leader. Currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University, Pride also serves as MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion.

“We are honored and excited to be hosting such a unique night,” Pelicans general manager Ryan Moore said. “It’s our hope that the elements we are infusing into our gameday experience will create an atmosphere of inclusion, education and awareness. Personally, I’m looking forward to hearing from Curtis Pride and seeing our team in uniquely designed ASL jerseys.”

Jersey auctions, with proceeds benefiting the local deaf community, are also planned, via the Pelicans’ official site.

In an effort to create an inclusive experience for members of the deaf community, sign language interpreters will be infused into the Pelicans’ gameday experience. The night will include a silent inning. Additionally, Jason Hurdich, an RID certified deaf interpreter, will perform the National Anthem, and for the first time in club history, the Seventh Inning Stretch will be performed by an ASL interpreter.

While many minor-league team promotions celebrate off-key irreverence and boast an offbeat tone, the Pelicans obviously deserve a lot of credit for using one of these night to bring awareness to such an important issue.