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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

December 22, 2014 08:06 GMT

NFL

Thursday's Game

Jacksonville 21, Tennessee 13

Saturday's Games

Washington 27, Philadelphia 24

San Diego 38, San Francisco 35, OT

Sunday's Games

Houston 25, Baltimore 13

Detroit 20, Chicago 14

Atlanta 30, New Orleans 14

Miami 37, Minnesota 35

Carolina 17, Cleveland 13

Green Bay 20, Tampa Bay 3

Pittsburgh 20, Kansas City 12

New England 17, N.Y. Jets 16

N.Y. Giants 37, St. Louis 27

Oakland 26, Buffalo 24

Dallas 42, Indianapolis 7

Seattle 35, Arizona 6

Monday's Game

Denver at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m.

NBA

Sunday's Games

Toronto 118, New York 108

Cleveland 105, Memphis 91

Sacramento 108, L.A. Lakers 101

Phoenix 104, Washington 92

Miami 100, Boston 84

Philadelphia 96, Orlando 88

Brooklyn 110, Detroit 105

New Orleans 101, Oklahoma City 99

Indiana 100, Minnesota 96

Monday's Games

Denver at Charlotte, 7 p.m.

Toronto at Chicago, 8 p.m.

Portland at Houston, 8 p.m.

Utah at Memphis, 8 p.m.

Atlanta at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m.

Sacramento at Golden State, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

Sunday's Games

Colorado 2, Detroit 1, SO

Dallas 6, Edmonton 5, SO

Boston 4, Buffalo 3, OT

N.Y. Rangers 1, Carolina 0

Chicago 4, Toronto 0

Philadelphia 4, Winnipeg 3, OT

Monday's Games

Ottawa at Washington, 7 p.m.

Nashville at Columbus, 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Florida, 7:30 p.m.

Arizona at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

San Jose at Anaheim, 10 p.m.

Calgary at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

Longhorn Football Scoreboard

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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