Source: Two River Times
For starters, silence is the golden rule. Any cheering for a batted ball may result in a penalty against your team. Also, time-outs are taken for crying children, barking dogs or low-flying planes passing overhead.
“The noise can be distracting for a lot of players, so we have to wait until everything dies down to continue play,” explained New Jersey Titans standout Marvin Morgan of the National Beep Baseball Association. The NBBA has offered a coed environment for athletes of all ages to do just that. Currently there are 36 sanctioned beep baseball teams across 17 different states.
Morgan, like his teammates, is a visually impaired athlete due to being struck by bullets in a 2006 carjacking incident.
“I was a pretty high-level athlete when I was growing up. I played football at Rutgers and made it up to the NFL with the Giants during the strike year (1987),” Morgan said. “Just because you have a physical obstacle doesn’t mean you lose that feeling. You still want to compete.”
Since 1976, the NBBA has offered a coed environment for athletes of all ages to do just that. Currently there are 36 sanctioned beep baseball teams across 17 different states. And like any sport, beep baseball has its unique quirks.
The ball is outfitted with a device that lets out a constant chirping or beeping noise. Players at bat and in the field must concentrate on that noise to track the ball’s movement. Each team has two sighted participants who act as pitcher and catcher. The pitcher will toss to their own teammates, so giving up the most runs means a positive outcome for your club.
Regardless of their level of visual impairment, all players besides the pitcher and catcher are required to wear blinders – think blacked-out ski goggles – to ensure the playing field is level.
When the ball is put in play, players who sense the ball is near will dive to the turf to try and smother it and hold the ball up high for the umpire to see. If the ball is collected before the batter reaches base, an out is recorded. If not, the offense earns a run.
There are only two bases in beep baseball, located 100 feet from home plate down the left and right field lines. Batters who put a ball in fair territory must listen for one of the two bases to let out a high-pitched beep, indicating which base they must run to.
There is one other New Jersey beep baseball team: The Lightning, based in Matawan. Damien Gonzalez, age 10, represent the future of The New Jersey Titans and the NBBA — after joining the team last season, he delivered his first hit-and-run on Saturday.