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

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 10:47 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

November 22, 2014 08:09 GMT

Latest scores; Upcoming games

NBA

Friday's Games

Phoenix 122, Philadelphia 96

Orlando 105, Charlotte 100

Atlanta 99, Detroit 89

Toronto 124, Milwaukee 83

Brooklyn 94, Oklahoma City 92

Memphis 117, Boston 100

San Antonio 121, Minnesota 92

Washington 91, Cleveland 78

Dallas 140, L.A. Lakers 106

Denver 117, New Orleans 97

Golden State 101, Utah 88

Portland 105, Chicago 87

Saturday's Games

Miami at Orlando, 7 p.m.

Phoenix at Indiana, 7 p.m.

Toronto at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m.

Philadelphia at New York, 7:30 p.m.

Dallas at Houston, 8 p.m.

Sacramento at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Washington at Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m.

Brooklyn at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m.

New Orleans at Utah, 9 p.m.

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Friday's Games

( 1) Kentucky 89, Boston U. 65

( 4) Duke 74, Temple 54

( 7) Louisville 85, Marshall 67

( 8) Florida 61, Louisiana-Monroe 56, OT

( 9) Virginia 59, George Washington 42

(10) Texas 71, California 55

(17) UConn 75, Dayton 64

(19) Michigan St. 87, Loyola of Chicago 52

(23) Syracuse 66, Iowa 63

(25) Utah 88, UC Riverside 42

Saturday

( 3) Wisconsin vs. Boise State, 10 p.m.

( 4) Duke vs. Stanford, 9:30 p.m.

( 6) North Carolina vs. Davidson at Charlotte, N.C., 2 p.m.

(13) Gonzaga vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, 9 p.m.

(21) Nebraska at Rhode Island, 7 p.m.

(22) SMU vs. Eastern Washington, 7 p.m.

NHL

Friday's Games

N.Y. Islanders 5, Pittsburgh 4, SO

Boston 4, Columbus 3, SO

New Jersey 2, Edmonton 0

N.Y. Rangers at Buffalo, ppd., snow

Saturday's Games

St. Louis at Ottawa, 3 p.m.

Montreal at Boston, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Toronto, 7 p.m.

Minnesota at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.

Columbus at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m.

Florida at Nashville, 8 p.m.

Los Angeles at Dallas, 8 p.m.

Carolina at Colorado, 9 p.m.

New Jersey at Calgary, 10 p.m.

Chicago at Edmonton, 10 p.m.

Arizona at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

WOMEN'S TOP 25 BASKETBALL

Friday's Games

( 3) Notre Dame 88, Chattanooga 53

( 4) Tennessee 81, Winthrop 48

(18) Iowa 97, Pepperdine 68

Saturday's Games

( 9) Maryland at George Washington, 3:30 p.m.

(13) Kentucky at Central Michigan, 8 p.m.

(18) DePaul vs. South Dakota State, 8 p.m.

(18) Iowa vs. Dayton, 8:30 p.m.

(20) Oregon State vs. Concordia(Ore.), 5 p.m.

(21) Oklahoma State vs. Missouri State, 3 p.m.

(22) Rutgers at LSU, 3 p.m.

(23) Syracuse at Jacksonville, 3 p.m.

NFL

Sunday's Games

Green Bay at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at Houston, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Atlanta, 1 p.m.

Tennessee at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

Detroit at New England, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Buffalo, ppd., snow

Arizona at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.

St. Louis at San Diego, 4:05 p.m.

Washington at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.

Miami at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.

Open: Carolina, Pittsburgh

Monday's Games

N.Y. Jets vs. Buffalo at Detroit, 7 p.m.

Baltimore at New Orleans, 8:30 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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