To my sighted friend, Doc, 280 lbs, who loved “ball,” told tall tales and passed away in 2003
Doc, you would have given your heart to beep ball,
Baseball for the blind with beeping balls and buzzing bases.
You and other fans love the underdog.
Everyone here is an underdog–and a star!
A Friday night social in Chicago before a tournament
Featured pizza, wings, beer, soda
Camaraderie and chin music.
The games next day were filled with ups and downs,
Exuberance, defeat, humor, sweat, love of teammates,
Exhilaration of hitting boomers.
Runners flew down the baselines,
Fielders dove on green grass to block the balls.
Simon and Wilbert, from the Cleveland Scrapers, Afro-Americans–
Players aged 49, gave their teammates grief,
And got kidded back for it.
“Big G”–Gilbert, former pro athlete, 275 pounds–
hit in the eyes by a bullet in a drive-by shooting–
is kind and gracious.
Chad, pitcher for the Comets, whose dad was blind,
Called out, “Quiet on the Set”–beep ball likes noise–after the play is over!
John, strong coach of the Comets, whose blond athletic son is blind.
Big Grandfather John, who does the play by play on TV.
Nick, another pitcher for the Comets, Hispanic, throws
At chalked cardboard cutouts of the players
In his basement over the winter.
Young mother and fan, Betsy, with her 6-year old who has LCA.
(A congenital loss of vision at birth)
“I’ve come with my friend and her daughter who also has LCA.
We want to learn the game so our kids can play
With neighborhood children at home…We want to shake hands with
All the Comet players. They are our heroes. We need two little T-shirts.”
Mike, the gritty #2 batter for the Comets, has LCA–
-he travels 30 minutes by train each week to practice.
Kevin, the excellent pitcher for the Scrappers, has tunnel vision,
Wears a catcher’s mask and shin guards to protect against fierce hitters.
A lady gave fresh water to lapping dogs and wet towels to players.
Three Lions Clubs worked so hard, and got everything donated–
Tents, tables, benches, hot dogs, chips, pop,
Complete chicken dinners for the honors banquet Saturday night.
Doc–your heart would have gone out to
The players in Chicago and St. Paul–
Competitive and fun-loving.
Just like at one of our softball tourneys years ago with
Hot sun, action, stories, great plays and characters.
This little light of mine–they’re gonna let it shine.
Beepballers and their fans.
-The author is coach of the St. Paul Lions beepball team