NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) — If you hadn’t already been to a Beep Baseball game you might not think it possible for players, all blindfolded, to hit, run, and field.
“Whenever you have 10 plus blind folks in the equation,” smiles player Mark Ivy, “it’s hard to do anything.”
Of the 35 teams associated with the National Beep Baseball Association, 19 of them are at the Gillis -Rother Soccer Complex in Norman to compete for a World Series title.
The host team, the Oklahoma Lookouts.
Shortstop Ronnie Dowell and battery mate Ivy share the same side of the field on defense.
Ronnie got his call-up from St. Louis.
“Wherever the team goes, wherever they say we’re playing, I either fly or drive here,” he states before correcting, “Well, I don’t drive here,” he laughs.
Mark used to play baseball in high school before Retinitis Pigmentosa took almost all of his sight.
“I’m 33 now and this is the first time I’m stepping back on the field in a competitive game, today,” he says. “There are a lot of us like that on the Lookouts.”
There are a few misconceptions about Beep Baseball.
There is pitching based on timed throws from a sighted hurler.
The ball is a little bigger and emits a high pitched sound so fielders can locate it.
Batters get four strikes.
Bases are actual tackling dummies.
Runners score if they can reach the base before the hit ball is fielded.
First time fans often realize quickly that it’s a full contact, full speed sport.
World Series Director Cassie Hopkins says these players offer no excuses.
“It’s an amazing sport,” she tells us. “When you get out here it just blows any excuse out of the water that you can’t do something if you set your mind to it.”
Beep Baseball has been around long enough to have a Hall of Fame and close to 50 world series champions.
Norman Parks Director Jason Olsen says the city started planning for this unique tournament 2 years ago.
“When we put together fields like this through the Norman Forward Initiative, which is a half-cent sales tax that we passed back in 2015, this event was the exact type of thing we were thinking about.”
A hundred volunteers per day make it possible.
The grass is green.
The sun feels good on your face.
The games are underway.
The 2023 Beep Baseball World Series offers games every day through August 5 at the Gillis -Rother Soccer Complex.
Great State is sponsored by Oklahoma Proton Center