PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Teachers and parents, brothers and sisters cheered loudly as a blind girl ran out a hit in the courtyard of the School for Blind Children in Oakland.
It’s “Beep Baseball,” with a beeping spongy ball and beeping bases. Athletic organizer Laura Dobrich says players bat and field by sound.
“We have 48 players this year,” she adds. “And it gives the kids an opportunity to play a sport where they wouldn’t necessarily have that.”
The team drafted Pirates pitcher Tony Watson and ex-Pirate now announcer John Wehner who are about to re-learn the game.
Watson, the blindfolded pitcher, fans on five pitches. John Wehner doesn’t have much more luck locating a batted ball, as the beeps compete with sounds of encouragement from the crowd.
“There’s so much noise, it’s hard to hear the ball,” Wehner says. “You can’t hear the beeping. And when you do you don’t really know how close you are to it.”
Watson says the best part is just having fun. “To see the smiles on those kids’ faces, and how excited they are when their names are announced and when it was their turn to go hit and go field.”
Wehner agrees. “They’re all smiles, you know. Pictures, high fives. It’s a pretty neat place.”