Research

March 29, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Book on Baseball for the Blind Debuts on Opening Day

Dr. David Wanczyk

Dr. David Wanczyk

Beep: Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind, a book by Ohio University alum and English instructor Dr. David Wanczyk, debuted on opening day of baseball season.

Beep, which was released by Ohio University’s Swallow Press in time for MLB’s opening day, highlights the stories of blind and visually impaired baseball players as they vie for the championship of “Beep Baseball” during the 2012-2015 seasons.

“I interviewed over 100 players, traveled to Taiwan and the Dominican Republic, and even got on the field to play this amazing adaptive sport,” Wanczyk says. “All of this resulted in about 85,000 words, each of which I wrote 127 times.”

“Beep is a fun and funny and supremely humane piece of sportswriting, a reminder of what sports are for. Wanczyk tells a great story, one that’s alternately gripping and goofy, that’s not only about a particular game and the people that play it, but about why we play games in the first place,” says David Roth, editor at Deadspin and cofounder of theclassical.org.

“For me, the important thing was to tell the story of beep baseball without idealizing and without patronizing. The sport is more than a feel-good, rah-rah thing. It’s tough and exciting, and the players are as salty as anyone in a major league clubhouse. It was an amazing experience getting to know them and getting to report on this odd game,” says Wanczyk.

“Wanczyk gets it—that disability is a cultural formation and not a defect. The book offers a great example (much in the manner of early Tom Wolfe) of entering a relatively unknown and essentially closed world and making it entirely compelling and fully realizable for the general reader. It’s unusual, witty, and quite needed,” says Stephen Kuusisto, author of Planet of the Blind.

Wanczyk is Editor of New Ohio Review and Coordinator for Special Programs in the English Department. He earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Beep: Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind book cover, showing a baseball player laying out for a grounder.Abstract: In Beep, David Wanczyk illuminates the sport of blind baseball to show us a remarkable version of America’s pastime. With balls tricked out to beep three times per second like a troubling EKG and with bases that buzz, beep baseball is both innovative and intensely competitive. And when the best beep baseball team in America, the Austin Blackhawks, takes on its international rival, Taiwan Homerun, no one’s thinking about disability. What we find are athletes playing their hearts out for a championship.

Wanczyk follows teams around the world and even joins them on the field to produce a riveting inside narrative about the game and its players.

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