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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

August 29, 2014 09:13 GMT

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Detroit 3 N-Y Yankees 2

Baltimore 5 Tampa Bay 4

Cleveland 3 Chi White Sox 2

Minnesota 11 Kansas City 5, 10 Innings

Houston 4 Texas 2

L.A. Angels 4 Oakland 3, 10 Innings

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Cincinnati 7 Chi Cubs 2

San Francisco 4 Colorado 1

Atlanta 6 N-Y Mets 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE Friday's Games

Minnesota (May 0-3) at Baltimore (Mi.Gonzalez 6-7), 7:05 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees (Capuano 1-3) at Toronto (Buehrle 11-8), 7:07 p.m.

Boston (Ranaudo 2-0) at Tampa Bay (Archer 8-6), 7:10 p.m.

Cleveland (Salazar 4-6) at Kansas City (J.Vargas 10-6), 8:10 p.m.

Detroit (Verlander 11-11) at Chicago White Sox (Carroll 5-8), 8:10 p.m.

Texas (Undecided) at Houston (Oberholtzer 4-9), 8:10 p.m.

Oakland (Lester 13-8) at L.A. Angels (Weaver 14-7), 10:05 p.m.

NATIONAL LEAGUE Friday's Games

Cincinnati (Leake 10-11) at Pittsburgh (Volquez 11-7), 7:05 p.m.

Philadelphia (D.Buchanan 6-7) at N.Y. Mets (deGrom 6-6), 7:10 p.m.

Miami (Koehler 9-9) at Atlanta (E.Santana 13-7), 7:35 p.m.

Chicago Cubs (Hendricks 5-1) at St. Louis (S.Miller 8-9), 8:15 p.m.

Colorado (Bergman 1-2) at Arizona (Collmenter 9-7), 9:40 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers (Haren 11-10) at San Diego (Cashner 2-6), 10:10 p.m.

Milwaukee (W.Peralta 15-8) at San Francisco (Vogelsong 7-9), 10:15 p.m.

INTERLEAGUE

Washington (Zimmermann 9-5) at Seattle (F.Hernandez 13-4), 10:10 p.m.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PRESEASON

Atlanta 24 Jacksonville 14

Detroit 23 Buffalo 0

Cincinnati 35 Indianapolis 7

Green Bay 34 Kansas City 14

Philadelphia 37 N-Y Jets 7

Miami 14 St. Louis 13

Carolina 10 Pittsburgh 0

N-Y Giants 16 New England 13

Washington 24 Tampa Bay 10

Baltimore 22 New Orleans 13

Cleveland 33 Chicago 13

Denver 27 Dallas 3

Minnesota 19 Tennessee 3

San Francisco 40 Houston 13

San Diego 12 Arizona 9

Oakland 41 Seattle 31

TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL

(21) Texas A-and-M 52 ( 9) South Carolina 28

(18) Mississippi 35 Boise State 13

(19) Arizona State 45 Weber State 14

Friday's Game

No. 8 Michigan State vs. Jacksonville State, 7:30 p.m.

Longhorn Football Scoreboard

Longhorn Football News

 

KEYE-TV Sports Team


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