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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

March 28, 2015 07:09 GMT

Latest scores; Upcoming games

NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Friday's Games

SOUTH REGION: Duke 63, Utah 57

SOUTH REGION: Gonzaga 74, UCLA 62

EAST REGION: Louisville 75, NC State 65

EAST REGION: Michigan State 62, Oklahoma 58

Saturday's Games

WEST REGION FINAL: Wisconsin vs. Arizona at Los Angeles, 6:09 p.m.

MIDWEST REGION FINAL: Kentucky vs. Notre Dame at Cleveland, 8:49 p.m.

NBA

Friday's Games

L.A. Clippers 119, Philadelphia 98

Washington 110, Charlotte 107,2OT

Detroit 111, Orlando 97

Atlanta 99, Miami 86

Toronto 94, L.A. Lakers 83

Brooklyn 106, Cleveland 98

Boston 96, New York 92

New Orleans 102, Sacramento 88

Houston 120, Minnesota 110

Golden State 107, Memphis 84

San Antonio 94, Dallas 76

Denver 107, Utah 91

Portland 87, Phoenix 81

Saturday's Games

Atlanta at Charlotte, 7 p.m.

New York at Chicago, 8 p.m.

Golden State at Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City at Utah, 9 p.m.

Denver at Portland, 10 p.m.

NHL

Friday's Games

Minnesota 4, Calgary 2

Columbus 5, Chicago 2

Edmonton 4, Dallas 0

Saturday's Games

Nashville at Washington, 12:30 p.m.

N.Y. Rangers at Boston, 1 p.m.

Anaheim at N.Y. Islanders, 1 p.m.

San Jose at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

Arizona at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Detroit, 2 p.m.

Ottawa at Toronto, 7 p.m.

Florida at Montreal, 7 p.m.

New Jersey at Carolina, 7 p.m.

Columbus at St. Louis, 8 p.m.

Los Angeles at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Buffalo at Colorado, 9 p.m.

Dallas at Vancouver, 10 p.m

NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Friday's Games

OKLAHOMA CITY REGION: Baylor 81, Iowa 66

OKLAHOMA CITY REGION: Notre Dame 81, Stanford 60

GREENSBORO REGION: South Carolina 67, North Carolina 65

GREENSBORO REGION: Florida State 66, Arizona State 65

Saturday's Games

ALBANY REGION: UConn (34-1) vs. Texas (24-10), Noon

ALBANY REGION: Dayton (27-6) vs. Louisville (27-6), 2:30 p.m.

SPOKANE REGION: Maryland (32-2) vs. Duke (23-10), 4:30 p.m.

SPOKANE REGION: Gonzaga (26-7) vs. Tennessee (29-5), 7 p.m.

MLS

Friday

No games scheduled

Saturday, March 28

San Jose at New England, 3 p.m.

Orlando City at Montreal, 4 p.m.

Los Angeles at D.C. United, 7 p.m.

Sporting Kansas City at New York City FC, 7 p.m.

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

Portland at Vancouver, 8 p.m.

Seattle at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Colorado at Houston, 8:30 p.m.

MLB PRESEASON

St. Louis (ss) 5, N.Y. Mets 4

N.Y. Yankees 10, Philadelphia 0, 6 innings

Pittsburgh 4, Minnesota 2, 8 innings

Atlanta 4, Boston 2, 7 innings

Tampa Bay vs. Baltimore at Sarasota, Fla., ccd., Rain

Washington 1, St. Louis (ss) 1, tie

Toronto 4, Detroit 1, 5 innings

Oakland 7, Texas 6

Chicago Cubs 6, Chicago White Sox 3

Arizona (ss) 3, Cleveland 2

Arizona (ss) 7, L.A. Angels 2

Miami vs. Houston at Kissimmee, Fla., ccd., Rain

Kansas City 5, Seattle 1

San Diego 7, Colorado 5

Milwaukee 8, Cincinnati 6

San Francisco 8, L.A. Dodgers 4

Saturday's Games

Philadelphia vs. Minnesota at Fort Myers, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Houston vs. Miami at Jupiter, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

St. Louis vs. Detroit at Lakeland, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Baltimore vs. N.Y. Yankees at Tampa, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Boston vs. Tampa Bay at Port Charlotte, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Toronto (ss) vs. Pittsburgh at Bradenton, Fla., 1:05 p.m.

Atlanta vs. Toronto (ss) at Dunedin, Fla., 1:07 p.m.

Washington vs. N.Y. Mets at Port St. Lucie, Fla., 1:10 p.m.

Colorado vs. Chicago Cubs (ss) at Mesa, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

Cleveland vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 4:05 p.m.

Oakland vs. Chicago White Sox at Glendale, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

San Francisco vs. Seattle at Peoria, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

Chicago Cubs (ss) vs. Cincinnati at Goodyear, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

San Diego vs. Texas at Surprise, Ariz., 4:05 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers vs. L.A. Angels at Tempe, Ariz., 4:10 p.m.

Kansas City vs. Arizona at Scottsdale, Ariz., 4:10 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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