Eau Claire (WQOW) – Visit Eau Claire is hosting a unique sport, and “keeping your eye on the ball” is not the goal.
“It’s people with visual disabilities playing their heart out,” said Visit Eau Claire’s Executive Director, Linda John. “It’s very competitive, it’s a really interesting way that they play a traditional game.”
Athletes in the National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA) use their sense of hearing, rather than sight. The ball and bases beep, guiding the players, and to score a run, the batter must get to a base before a fielder gets the ball.
“They should come watch and just see how competitive this sport is because it’s like any other sport,” said NBBA’s 2nd Vice President, Darnell Booker. “We’re all going for one goal, to win that championship, to win that world series ring. I mean, it’s a real eye-opener.”
John told News 18 hosting the Beep Baseball World Series was three years in the making, and there are hopes of hosting in the future. Visit Eau Claire predicts this tournament will bring the city more than $400,000 in revenue.
“Eau Claire is known to be very inclusive, and so to be able to introduce a diverse audience to the city and the sport here in Eau Claire and all of our facilities here, it seemed like a really great opportunity,” John said.
Booker has been a part of Beep Baseball since 1985 and started the Indy Thunder team in 2000.
“It shows that blind and visually impaired athletes can be competitive and go out there and just be successful at something if they work at it, just like any other sport, you got to have a lot of practice,” Booker told News 18.
With a game based on hearing, the fans have to show some restraint, and wait to cheer.
“Silence is golden, since you have to wait until the play is over to cheer,” said Booker. “That’s the only thing we say, applause is necessary but silence is golden.”