Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n10)
Blind community celebrates summer with Beepball Bash - By Ashley Plummer
posted: May 18, 2007
Broad Ripple residents, round up your friends, family and lawn chairs in preparation for the 6th annual Broad Ripple Beepball Bash tournament-the blind community's unique answer to the sport of softball-featuring the Indianapolis Thunder.
The Beepball Bash will take place at Broad Ripple park, by the tennis courts off Evanston, on June 2nd and 3rd, 2007, starting at 9 a.m. the first day and 8 a.m. the second day. Admission is free, and visitors are promised a sports experience unlike any other.
"Beepball is a really awesome sport, and Indianapolis has some outstanding Beepball players," Indianapolis tournament organizer Darnell Booker said. "In 1990, Indianapolis won the Beepball World Series, and we are looking to work ourselves back up to that level."
While the primary concepts of softball exist in the sport of Beepball (a batter, pitcher, bases, etc.), numerous rules are different-starting with the fact that the ball used has a motor inside that emits a beeping sound when in motion, and members of both teams are blindfolded.
There are also only two bases, first and third, which both beep themselves after a batter hits the ball.
"The most common difference that most members of the audience notice is that the pitcher and batter are actually on the same team," Booker said. "This is because it is the pitcher's job to help the batter realize when it's the right time to swing."
Booker continued by explaining that after a batter makes connection, it is up to the base operator to determine which base they run to. Each base is 100 feet from home plate, and if the batter gets to his or her base before a fielder retrieves the ball, it's considered a run for the offensive team. Beepball is also played on grass, rather than a diamond, and each team is made up of six players, rather than nine.
"The defensive team actually plays a zone, and if the ball lands within their zone, the zone spotter calls out their number," Booker explained. "It is then their job to field the ball for their team as quickly as possible."
The Indianapolis Thunder will host three other teams in the Indianapolis tournament, including the Chicago Comets, the Kansas All-Stars and the Columbus Vipers.
Booker mentioned that all the teams involved in the tournament this year will be great competition for the Thunder, but thinks that his team is prepared for the challenge.
"We have a number of extremely talented players on our team this year," he said. "Dave Benny, who plays in the one behind the pitcher, is considered our defensive captain.
"We also have Ron Brown, who has been playing Beepball for 25 years now, and is more than likely to enter the Beepball Hall of Fame sometime soon."
Booker concluded his player spotlights by highlighting the talents of James Michaels, who he said is a solid player on both the defensive and offensives sides.
"The members of this team (which is co-ed) all work very hard, and we hope to get people out to the tournament this year," he said.
The entire tournament is run by volunteers and funded through community and national sponsorships. If you are interested in volunteering or sponsoring the members of the Indianapolis Thunder Beepball team, please contact Booker at (317) 371-6267.