People all over the country enjoy playing America’s favorite pastime: baseball.
Yet, many years ago, people who lacked sufficient vision to play the game did not have any options. Today, there is an innovative way that allows visually impaired players to join in on the game.
In “Beep Baseball,” the ball beeps, the bases buzz, and since the group of ballplayers have different levels of impairment, they all wear blindfolds to make sure everyone competes with fairness.
The mission is to “foster competition and comrardery that equips and empowers blind players to stand victorious in all aspects of sport and society.”
Dozens of teams have been part of the National Beep Baseball Association since it was founded in 1976 by a group of men known as “The Dirty Dozen.” The founding fathers included John Ross (Father of Beep Baseball), Charlie Lawrence, Jim Quinn, Ed Bradley, and Bill Gibney, who all resided from different states.
A few of the many teams in Beep Baseball, the Braille Bandits of Palm Beach, the Bayou City Heat, and the California Panthers, have been competing this week at the World Series of Beep Baseball.
Since the players depend on hearing the beeps of the ball and bases in order to locate them, the players and audience must remain quiet.
“I think the most difficult thing is one when of your teammates actually hit a good shot into the field, not being able to cheer because you have to stay quiet, not to interrupt the defense for them to feel the ball,” said player Jason Estringhausen. “But as soon as you hear that hand slapping the base, everyone just freaks out.”
Learn more about Beep Baseball and hear some of the players’ inspiring stories in the video below: