Using Ears to Play Baseball: Visually Impaired Athletes Compete in New Mexico Beep Baseball Tournament

WHAT:             Visually impaired athletes from Tucson, Ariz., Denver and Topeka, Kan., will compete in a New Mexico baseball tournament unlike any other. These athletes compete not by sight but by sound – they are blind. The athletes will use a unique ball called a “beep ball,” which is provided by Qwest Pioneers. These balls are engineered with electronic circuit boards, batteries and telephone speakers to emit distinctive beeping sounds. As a result, visually impaired athletes can use their hearing to bat, run and even field the ball. 
WHO:               In addition to providing the beep balls, Qwest Pioneers will serve as umpires, base coaches and assistants to the athletes. The Pioneers consist of active and retired Qwest employees and retirees from former Bell System companies. The club specializes in community service and educational projects in New Mexico.
WHERE:          University of New Mexico’s Johnson Field
WHEN:            June 6-7 (games begin at 9 a.m. and run throughout the day)

VISUALS:        Visually-impaired athletes competing, a Beep Ball, two padded posts that
   beep (the bases), Albuquerque’s seven-time national championship team and fans.
LINKS:             - National Beep Baseball Association:
WHY:               Qwest Pioneers have been involved in Beep Ball since the creation of the ball in 1964. The ball’s beeping technology was developed in 1964 by Charlie Fairbanks, a telephone engineer who wanted to create an audio ball for students to play with at the Colorado School for the Blind. His “beep ball” caught on immediately and has been modified over time by Qwest Pioneers to facilitate activities for the visually impaired across the United States.
                        There are only two cities in the United States that manufacture Beep Balls – Albuquerque, NM and Denver, CO. NOTE: Tour available upon request.  

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Contact Information

Qwest Media Contact
Mark Molzen
Qwest Corporate Communications


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