Tue, Jul 21, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Beep ball players ready for return to World Series

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sports Affairs Council Chairwoman Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) yesterday presented the flag representing Taiwan to a group of athletes who are preparing to attend the Beep Ball World Series for blind players in California.

The championship for the game, which is similar to baseball, opens in Stockton on Sunday. Taiwan’s Home Run Beep Ball Team (紅不讓盲人棒球隊), with 10 players, won the Beep Ball World Series in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

The team skipped the World Series in 2007 and last year because of a shortage of funds.

Their story was turned into a documentary called Beep Ball (一百呎的距離) by students at Ling Tung University and was screened at the Kaohsiung Film Festival last year.

The team was able to gather sufficient funding for this year’s championship after the Taiwan Ahgan Spiritual Development Association launched a fundraiser on their behalf.

The association was founded by athlete Chang Wen-yen (張文彥), who is blind.

Team manager Claire Wang (王愛中) said that unlike baseball, beep ball has a home base and two bases, which are positioned where first base and third base are in baseball.

The pitcher, the hitter and the catcher belong to the same team and the pitcher’s job is to make sure that players hit the ball he or she throws.

Players from the opposition team, on the other hand, receive instructions from spotters on where to pick up the ball hit by players.

“When the player hits the ball, either the first base or third base will start beeping to tell players which base to run. Those who make it to the designated base before the opponents pick up the ball score,” she said.

Players score when they touch the base “towers,” which are 45 inches (1.14m) in height and 7.5 inches (19cm) in diameter.

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