And While I’m Ragging On Beeping things…

Wow. I’m just on a ragging on things theme aren’t I?

This weekend, Steve, Barbie, and I got talking about something that always made me raise my eyebrows whenever I thought about it. The practicality of the beeping baseball.

Yep, I said beeping baseball. A long time ago, someone thought it would be great if blinks could play baseball by being able to hear the ball. Great! So, they put something in it that you could hear. Super! What was that thing? A beeper! Uh-oh!

Think about that. You’re going to hurl a ball which encases a piece of electronics through the air, then hit it with a large wooden stick, and wait for it to plummet to earth. How long do you think the electronics will survive? Every beeping ball I ever saw was lucky if it made it two throws. Upon dying, it would:

  • cease to beep mid-course through the air.
  • cease to beep when it contacted whatever it hit.
  • or

  • make its final death cry in the form of a beep falling in pitch the way Pakman sounds when he dies.

At first, I thought that I must have had a bad ball, and maybe the design was flawed in the early 80’s when we tried it, but since our horrible experience left us saying fuck beeping balls, we never bought another one, they got better and we just didn’t know it. But Steve and I got talking about it, and he saw the same thing years later! So they must still be plagued with the same problems.

Barbie thought you were just supposed to roll the ball, so I went out in search of a product description for a beeping baseball. ILA has a whole section of beeping balls, but none of them are baseballs! There are balls that are designed to go in the water…the water? Hmmm. There are volleyballs, soccer balls, all manner of balls designed to be subjected to rough play, but no baseballs!

So, off I went to google, trying to find one. All this because of a conversation about beeping baseballs. I couldn’t find people selling them, but I did find out that you don’t roll the ball.

Beep baseball is a form of baseball adapted for the visually impaired. The game is played with standard softball bats, a 16-inch circumference ball, which emits an audible beep tone, and two bases (48-inch pylons) which emit an audible buzzing sound.

Two bases? Hmmm. And how do those survive after being stomped on, slid into, all the things that baseball entails. Just imagine if the bases decided to die! Just picture the strains of “He can’t find Home! The base isn’t buzzing anymore!”

But I found something else out that shocked me. There is a National Beep Baseball World Series! They cannot be using the same balls as we used. They can’t! They just can’t! They’ve been doing this since 1976! It can’t be possible! If they are using the same balls, how many balls would they have had to have laid waste to? How much yelling of “Christ! Where did the beep go? Did Joey get it? oe! It just fell over there! Run! Run! Get it!” would there have had to have been over 31 years?

I saw something that made me very excited. I found a beep baseball podcast! I was hoping and praying that there would be recordings of beep baseball games so I could hear the number of balls that met their unfortunate end in a given game. But alass, all I found was a horrid butchering of Take me out to the ballgame that I can only hope against hope was a joke, a lot of badly constructed sentences because I think the poor soul who made this thing kept forgetting what came before his links, and podcasts of…interviews! booo!! I wanted games!

Now I’ve written myself into a corner. What exactly is my point? I wanted to laugh at the concept of the beeping baseball. that’s how this started off. But as I looked for more info, I was left with a million questions. What does the Beep Baseball world series look like? Do they actually use the same balls Steve andI saw? If so, how has it survived 31 years? Was there a big secret we weren’t let in on? Are there actually beeping baseballs that defy common sense and survive the abuse of a baseball game? So many questions, hopefully there will be some answers!

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