Baseball for the blind

The National Beep Baseball Association was founded in 1976 to organize and promote an adapted version of America’s favorite past time for folks who are visually impaired.

Here’s how the game is played as described last month in Harper’s Magazine

A team is composed of a minimum of six blind or visually impaired players and two to four sighted people: a pitcher, a catcher, and two defensive spotters.

There is no second base. First and third bases are four-foot padded cylinders with speakers that buzz when activated. The batter does not know which one will be turned on. When the ball is hit, the runner must identify the buzzing base and run to it before a defensive player fields the ball. If the runner is safe, a run is scored. There is no running from one base to another…

Playing defense is the most challenging aspect of beep ball. Generally teams will field three infielders and three outfielders. For defensive purposes the field is divided into six zones. Each team has two sighted spotters positioned in the outfield, one on either side of the field. When a ball is hit, a spotter will call out a number indicating the general zone toward which the ball is traveling. The players coordinate their defensive moves according to the number that is called. Spotters cannot pass on any further information. The players can verbally communicate with one another.

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. Defensive players pick up the beeping sphere and display it for the umpire’s call. In the NBBA’s history, there have been only four documented cases of a hit ball being caught in the air.


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2 responses to “Baseball for the blind”

  1. Peter M says:

    So cool. Good work, Indianapolis.

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