Playing it by ear: Visually impaired team enjoys baseball

LIBERTY, Mo. - The Wichita Sonics drove hours for the chance to play ball. They relish every chance to play as a team. Their baseball games run a little differently. They play beep baseball.

The players follow a beeping, one pound baseball. Before each pitch, the two bases beep. The players on this team are visually impaired. They all wear blindfolds for the players with partial vision so no one has an advantage.

What was supposed to be a three-game series on the green grasses of Liberty Middle School turned into days of practice. Coach Kevin Burton says the other team canceled at the last minute, after they'd already made the trek to Kansas City.

The Sonics still took the field. After all, they have a world series to prepare for in August. They will be one of 20 teams playing for the title. 

Playing, Burton said, is important on many levels. Exercise options are limited for the visually impaired. This is a chance to be active. It also gives them one more chance to spread the word about the sport they love, something Burton wished he had learned sooner in life.

"One common thing you hear is I wish I would have known about this sooner," he said. "So we take our ball club coast-to-coast playing ball. We want younger, blind people to know that this is an avenue for them to be active and get involved. It's a lot of fun."

For more information about beep baseball and the team, go to the Sonic's website | http://wichitasonics.com/

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