The World Series of Beep Baseball Coming to Florida
24 Jul, 2017
The National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA) will bring its World Series to The Palm Beaches this summer. The World Series of Beep Baseball offers individuals who are blind or visually impaired an opportunity to compete for a baseball championship. The NBBA World Series is one of the most admired sports events for athletes with physical challenges.
The NBBA World Series of Beep Baseball will make its Palm Beach County debut on July 24-29 2017. The games will be played at Village Park in Wellington. The Hilton West Palm Beach will serve as the host hotel and site of the awards banquet. A total of 22 teams, consisting of more than 500 athletes, will travel from across the United States, Canada, Taiwan, and the Dominican Republic in pursuit of a world championship. More than 500 beep baseball players will compete.
During the World Series of Beep Baseball, teams first compete in grouped round robin play to determine seeding. The World Series continues as a double elimination tournament to determine the champion. Under this format, teams are guaranteed a minimum of five (5) games, with most teams playing an average of eight (8) games.
Beep Baseball originated in 1964, when Charlie Fairbanks, an engineer with a telephone company, implanted a beeping device in a softball as a way of encouraging blind athletes to become involved in recreational activities. Eleven years later, Beep Baseball enthusiasts formed the National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA) in Chicago, and ever since, the league has played a full schedule of games that begins in the spring and ends in late July or early August.
The World Series of Beep Baseball will provide a considerable tourism boost to Palm Beach County. The abundance of new dollars and rise in hotel occupancy will be welcomed by the hospitality and business community. Hotels and restaurants will experience a surge of business during the prime of the shoulder season in late July and early August.
“Beep Baseball empowers individuals to learn about being part of a team, how to build a team, becoming physically fit, increasing self-confidence and competing against others across the United States, Canada, and Taiwan annually, for the honor of being champion," says Dan Greene, President of the NBBA.
“Winning the bid for the 2017 World Series of Beep Baseball was a historic occasion for Palm Beach County”, says George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is honored and excited to partner with the NBBA to host its World Series of Beep Baseball. Its extra gratifying to host the pinnacle of a sport and an event that means so much to so many people”.
Beep Baseball has many distinctions from the traditional format of baseball. Below is a quick summary of these differences:
A beep baseball contest lasts six (6) innings. Each game involves a 16-inch softball that contains a noisemaking “beep.” When a pin is pulled from the ball, the beeping noise begins, allowing players to better follow the ball.
All players wear blindfolds. While some players are completely blind, others have very limited sight capabilities. The blindfolds serve as an equalizer, a fair way to level the playing field, insuring that all players are essentially sightless when playing the game.
The pitcher throws the ball from 20 feet away. Pitchers are teammates of the hitters, so they try to groove each pitch toward the same spot to maximize the hitter’s rate of success.
Each hitter has up to four strikes, instead of the usual three. When a hitter makes contact, he then runs to one of two “goals,” which are located to the left and right of where the first and third base bags would normally be. If the batter reaches one of the two designated goals before the fielding team gains control of the ball, a run is tallied for the offensive team. If the fielding team controls the ball before the batter reaches the goal, the batter is considered out. As in regular baseball, each team receives three outs before having to take its defensive position in the field.
There is no second base. First and third bases, four foot padded cylinders with speakers, are placed one hundred feet down the respective lines and ten feet outside the foul lines. The bases contain sounding units that give off a continuous buzzing noise when activated.
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. Each team has its own sighted pitcher and catcher.
For more information, visit www.nbba.org. The event is free and open to the public. Games begin at 8:00am, 11:00am, and 2:00pm from Tuesday July 25 to Friday, July 28. The World Series Championship takes place on Saturday, July 29 at 11:00am.