Beep Baseball featured at Crete Park-A-Palooza
September 18, 2012 12:48PM
Players compete in Beep Baseball at Crete Park-A-Palooza. | Supplied Photo
The Crete Lions Club recently hosted a Beep Baseball game at Crete Park-A-Palooza. Kids from a Crete-Monee team took on the Comets Blind Baseball team.
Beep Baseball is designed for athletes who are visually impaired. They dive onto the ground to stop a beeping ball and run full speed toward the sound of a buzzing base to score a run.
Watching a game reveals desire, determination, teamwork and, in many cases, skilled performances of players with visual impairment having fun in the midst of extreme competition. Some players are partially sighted; they are all required to wear blindfolds.
Each team has its own sighted pitcher and catcher. If contact is made, one of two bases is activated and it becomes a race between the runner and the defense.
A game is only six innings, unless more are needed to break a tie. There is no second base. First and third base are actual padded cylinders with speakers. If the runner is safe, a run is scored. A player does one of three things when batting — hit the ball and be retired by the defense, hit the ball and score a run, or strike out.
Playing defense is the most challenging aspect of Beep Baseball. There are six defensive players, each with a number assigned for positioning. There are one or two sighted spotters positioned in the outfield, one on either side of the field. When a ball is hit, a spotter instantly calls the number, indicating the general direction the ball is traveling. The players coordinate their defensive moves according to the number called.
However, spotters cannot pass on any other information. The players can verbally communicate with each other and frequently do.
Outs are earned by fielding the ball before the runner reaches the base. The fielder must have the ball in hand and off the ground to constitute possession. Good defensive players learn to use their bodies and the ground to block and trap hit balls, then pick up the beeping ball and display it for the umpire’s call.
Provided to the Post-Tribune