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August 8, 2017 at 9:45 am

Dispatch Reviews Wanczyk’s Book on Baseball for the Blind

Dr. David Wanczyk

Dr. David Wanczyk

Joe Blundo of the Columbus Dispatch reviews a new book on beep baseball by Ohio University alum and English faculty member Dr. David Wanczyk.

Wanczyk authored the first book about blind baseball, Beep: Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind (Ohio University Press, 224 pages, due Oct. 15).

How intense are the vision-impaired players of beep baseball?

When Bob DeYoung of the Chicago Cobras was accused of illegally peeking from under his blindfold, he removed both of his prosthetic eyes and handed them to the umpire to remove all doubt.

The story is told in “Beep: Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind,” by David Wanczyk, an Ohio University writing instructor and editor of the literary journal New Ohio Review. The book will be published in October by Ohio University Press.

Wanczyk, 34, traveled as far as Taiwan to meet elite beep players. He eschews cliches about athletes overcoming adversity in favor of warts-and-all accounts of the often-obsessive characters who play the game.

One is an Ethiopian immigrant who, as a child, was purposely blinded by caretakers in his native country so that his begging would be more effective. Another is a 5-foot-2, hard-drinking phenom said to have “the best ear in the league.”

Acute hearing matters because, as the sport’s name implies, the ball beeps so that fielders can locate it.

The game, which began in the 1970s in its present form, has a sighted pitcher and a blindfolded batter, but they’re on the same team.

Read more in Blundo’s column “Book reveals intense world of baseball for the blind.”


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