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Sight to See: Blind Baseball Keeps Visually Impaired Athletes in the Game

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT
Texas is home to two of the best baseball teams in the world. But for most of the players, it's been years since they've actually seen the ball hit the bat.

However thanks to a one-pound ball filled with old telephone parts, even the visually impaired can answer the call to take part in America's pastime.

"It's awesome," said Brandon Chesser, a member of the Austin Blackhawks. "It's the greatest sport out there."

"You have to do things a little bit different," said Tanner Gers, who plays for the Bayou City Heat in Houston. "But just because we are doing it different, does not mean it can't be done."

The game is called beep baseball. All players (with the exception of the pitcher who is not visually impaired) wear blindfolds, so those with partial vision don't have an advantage. There are six defenders and only two bases. If the batter gets to the base, a padded cylinder that buzzes, before the ball is fielded - that's a run. And unlike conventional baseball, batters try to hit pop ups.

"You don't want to do any ground balls," said Austin Blackhawks head coach Jonathan Fleming. "Those will get scooped up pretty quick."

Sure, the game is a bit different - but if you ask the players, they are not.

"I've never let my vision limit me," said Blake Boudreaux, a member of the Heat. "I've always done what I wanted to do. I control the disability, I don't let it control me."

"I realized I had the opportunity to keep athletics and sports in my life, so it was amazing," said Gers, who went blind after a traffic accident at the age of 21.

These two teams, the Austin Blackhawks and Bayou City Heat, have finished finished in the top 8 of the Beep Baseball World Series each of the past four years. Call them a dynasty, just don't call them handicapped.

"We do anything and everything anybody else can do, just with a little modification," said Blackhawks player Danny Foppiano.

"They hear blind baseball and they think everybody gets a trophy and circles around," said Boudreaux, who started playing beep ball at the age of 11. "I played class 5A [high school] football here in the state of Texas and this game is a lot more competitive than that."

These players may have lost their sight, but not their desire to compete. Just the sound of a beep speaks volumes for these athletes' love of the game. Sight to See: Blind Baseball Keeps Visually Impaired Athletes in the Game


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Scores & Schedules

September 16, 2014 07:09 GMT

AMERICAN LEAGUE Monday's Games

Baltimore 5, Toronto 2

Tampa Bay 1, N.Y. Yankees 0

Kansas City 4, Chicago White Sox 3

Houston 3, Cleveland 1

Detroit 8, Minnesota 6

L.A. Angels 8, Seattle 1

Tuesday's Games

Toronto (Hutchison 10-11) at Baltimore (U.Jimenez 4-9), 7:05 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees (Pineda 3-4) at Tampa Bay (Odorizzi 10-12), 7:10 p.m.

Chicago White Sox (Bassitt 0-1) at Kansas City (Hendriks 1-2), 8:10 p.m.

Cleveland (Kluber 15-9) at Houston (Tropeano 1-0), 8:10 p.m.

Detroit (Porcello 15-11) at Minnesota (Nolasco 5-11), 8:10 p.m.

Seattle (Elias 10-12) at L.A. Angels (Cor.Rasmus 3-1), 10:05 p.m.

Texas (Tepesch 4-10) at Oakland (Kazmir 14-8), 10:05 p.m.

NATIONAL LEAGUE Monday's Games

Miami 6, N.Y. Mets 5

Washington 4, Atlanta 2

Chicago Cubs 1, Cincinnati 0

L.A. Dodgers 11, Colorado 3

Arizona 6, San Francisco 2

San Diego 1, Philadelphia 0

Tuesday's Games

Miami (Eovaldi 6-11) at N.Y. Mets (B.Colon 13-12), 7:10 p.m.

Washington (Roark 13-10) at Atlanta (Harang 11-10), 7:10 p.m.

Cincinnati (Cueto 18-8) at Chicago Cubs (Arrieta 8-5), 8:05 p.m.

Milwaukee (W.Peralta 16-10) at St. Louis (Lynn 15-9), 8:15 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers (Haren 13-10) at Colorado (Matzek 5-10), 8:40 p.m.

San Francisco (Peavy 5-4) at Arizona (Collmenter 10-7), 9:40 p.m.

Philadelphia (A.Burnett 8-16) at San Diego (Kennedy 10-13), 10:10 p.m.

INTERLEAGUE

Boston (Ranaudo 3-2) at Pittsburgh (Morton 5-12), 7:05 p.m.

NFL

Thursday's Game

Baltimore 26, Pittsburgh 6

Sunday's Games

Dallas 26, Tennessee 10

New England 30, Minnesota 7

Buffalo 29, Miami 10

Washington 41, Jacksonville 10

Arizona 25, N.Y. Giants 14

Cleveland 26, New Orleans 24

Cincinnati 24, Atlanta 10

Carolina 24, Detroit 7

San Diego 30, Seattle 21

St. Louis 19, Tampa Bay 17

Houston 30, Oakland 14

Denver 24, Kansas City 17

Green Bay 31, N.Y. Jets 24

Chicago 28, San Francisco 20

Monday's Game

Philadelphia 30, Indianapolis 27

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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