INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The American pastime has been adapted for the visually impaired.
Indianapolis has a beep baseball team called the Indy Thunder, and the players had a very special opportunity Friday afternoon. Instead of batting practice before their game, the Indianapolis Indians invited the Thunder to play a game of beep baseball on the field.
In beep ball, all players are blindfolded. That levels the playing field because the sport is for people with all levels of visual impairment. The ball is about the size of a softball and, as the name suggests, it beeps.
It was the first opportunity for the adaptive baseball players to share a field with current minor league players.
“They are so gracious and kind to let us come out here and let us experience it on Victory Field,” Thunder general manager and head coach Darnell Booker said.
“It’s a little different, but the cheers are the same, the excitement is the same, and the sound off the bat is the same,” Indians first baseman Josh Bell said.
In beep baseball, the pitcher and hitter are on the same team.
“There’s a cadence: ‘Here we go, ready, pitch,'” Booker said, “That way the batter knows when to swing.”
If the batter makes contact, one of the two large blue bases starts to beep.
The player runs in total darkness toward the beeping, which Bell feels is the most challenging part.
“Just trusting yourself, trusting your surroundings, and trusting that you’re not going to run into a brick wall is the toughest thing,” he said.
The Thunder players have spent an entire season practicing and are representing Indy in the Beep Baseball World Series next week.
“We’re just like any other sport, these are professional beep baseball players,” Booker said.
While the series ring they hope to win is valuable, Booker feels the confidence these adaptive athletes gain is priceless.
“It gives them that confidence that they can go out there and do something and succeed at it and be good at it,” he said.
The team is raising money to fund their way to the world series.
If you’d like to help, email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit the team website.