The Game in a Nutshell Understanding the game is relatively easy, but there are differences from baseball.
Every player, whether they are sighted or vision impaired, is required to wear a blindfold.
A game lasts for six (6) innings unless more are needed to break a tie.
A team has three (3) outs per inning, and umpires have the right to eject unruly players or spectators.
There is no second base.
First and third bases (four foot padded cylinders with speakers) are placed one-hundred (100) feet down their respective lines and ten (10) feet outside the foul line. This is to prevent a runner from colliding with a defensive fielder. The bases contain sounding units that give off a buzzing sound when activated.
The batter does not know which base, first or third, will be turned on. When the ball is hit, the base operator activates one of the bases.
The runner must identify the correct buzzing base and run to it before the ball is fielded by a defensive player.
If the runner is safe, a run is scored. In other words, there is no running from one base to another.
A player does one of three things when batting -- hit the ball and be put out by the defense, hit the ball and score a run, or strike out.
A batter is allowed four (4) strikes and one (1) pass ball. The fourth swing must be a clean miss.
Offense: Pitcher, Catcher and Batter To better understand how the game is played, keep in mind that each team has its own sighted pitcher and catcher who play while their own team is at bat. The pitcher and catcher are the only players that do not wear a blindfold while paying offense. The catcher sets the target where the batter normally swings. The pitcher attempts to place the ball on the hitter's bat -- the ball is pitched from a distance of no less than twenty (20) feet.
According to the rules, a pitcher is obligated to clearly verbalize two words. He or she says "ready" just before the ball is about to be released. This alerts all players the ball may soon be hit. As the ball is being released, the pitcher says, "pitch" or "ball" or "swing". The batter allows a split second before starting his/her swing. If contact is made, one of the two bases is activated and it becomes a race between the runner and the defense.
A hit ball must travel at a minimum forty (40) feet to be considered fair. A ball that travels one hundred seventy (170) feet in the air is considered a home run, worth two (2) points as long as the batter makes it to the buzzing base in 30 seconds. A hit ball rebounded off the pitcher is ruled no pitch. It helps for pitchers to be quick and agile.
Most pitchers are good athletes with competitive spirits. Their success is in direct proportion to the number of runs their team scores.
Defense and Spotters Playing defense is the most challenging aspect of beep baseball. There are six (6) defensive players in beep baseball and two (2) sighted spotters. Teams may use their own defensive placement of their players, but most teams use the same numbering system to identify defensive positions:
The first baseman
The two sighted spotters are positioned in the outfield, one on either side of the field. The spotters are the only players that do not wear a blindfold while their team is playing defense. When a ball is hit, a spotter will instantly call one word, one time, to indicate the general direction the ball is traveling. The one word can be a player’s position on the field ex: A "three" call alerts the back fielders the ball is traveling their direction; or the spotter can call the player’s first or last name, so long as it is only one word. The players coordinate their defensive moves according to the number called. However, spotters cannot pass on any further information, only one (1) word may be called once. The blindfolded players on the field can verbally communicate with each other and frequently do. But, if a spotter says more than the one word allowed, the batter is awarded a run. Spotters should have the ability to give out quick and accurate calls.
Outs A defensive player does not throw the ball to another player to record an out. Outs are earned by fielding the ball before the runner reaches the base. In the umpire's opinion, the fielder must have the ball in hand and off the ground to constitute possession. Players do not snatch balls out of the air. Many attempts have been made to catch an air ball, but in the National Beep Baseball Association's history, there have been only five (5) documented cases of a hit ball being caught.
Good defensive players learn to use their bodies and the ground to block and trap hit balls, and then pick up the beeping ball and display it for the umpire's call.
Thrill of the Game Many teams keep individual statistics on their players. Good hitting teams may have several players with batting averages of .500 or above. Players openly admit they enjoy the thrill of heftily swinging at a pitched ball and making solid contact, then charging down the base path to score a run. But, they absolutely love the exhilarating feeling of diving to cleanly field a hit ball and make an out.
Beep baseball has evolved into a wide-open, competitive game that involves sighted and vision impaired players. Each year, new and improved training and coaching methods are introduced. Throughout the country, there are now many good players and teams. As time goes by, beep baseball will get bigger and better than it already is!
NOTE: A comprehensive rule book will be provided for each team upon registration.
The 2017 BEEPball Tournament is presented by CarpetTech
Lubbock's only BEEPING baseball tournament is a community transformation project of Alström Angels.
Alström Angels is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity.