PUYALLUP, Washington (NBC) A new baseball field in Washington is helping an under-served community experience all the fun america’s pastime has to offer.
In so many ways, it looks like your typical baseball game on a typical baseball field.
But these batters don’t swing for the ball with their eyes, they swing from their hearts.
“Please keep your voices down so the outfielder and the batter can hear the ball.”
This is beep ball baseball for the blind.
The ball beeps, the bases make noise, and a pitcher lets you know when to swing.
Players like Chad Morey love taking the field.
“I like the sense of freedom you get the chance to run again you get to be free and run,” he said.
It was two years ago when the Puyallup Elks agreed to transform this rundown tennis court area behind their lodge into a special field designed just for beep ball –soft, even ground, covered in grass, no dirt so runners don’t have to worry about getting hurt.
“This means the world to us.. a lot of times you find blind people just sitting around on the couch because they don’t think there’s an activity out there for them,” said Andy Bacon, a former player and now coach.
The land, the work, the grass, pretty much everything was donated.
Fred Baker worked on the effort for two years.
“I’m ecstatic, not just this field but where this field is. You can’t ask for anything better,” said Baker.
They played this inaugural game against Puyallup Police who wore blindfolds to even the playing field. They give four strikes in this game, but they earn every hit.
The players might not be able to see the new field, but for the first time in a long time this group feels like they are being seen.
The team hopes the new field will encourage more people in the blind community to join the league.
They’re also hoping to expand to more activities for blind children.