19 teams competing in Beep Baseball World Series in Rochester

Some 19 teams are competing at the 2014 National Beep Baseball Association World Series in Rochester this week.

Ed Brown, player and defensive coordinator for the Indy Thunder, runs through a base after getting a hit Tuesday on the opening day of the Beep Baseball World Series. The tournament runs through Saturday, with all games played at the Fuad Mansour Soccer Complex.

Kathy Quinn has been involved in beep baseball since the sport's inception and her love of the game has never been stronger.

Quinn is a sighted field spotter for the Minnesota Millers, who are one of 19 teams competing at the 2014 National Beep Baseball Association World Series in Rochester this week.

Jim Quinn, Kathy's father-in-law, was one of the game's co-founders back in 1975. The first Beep Baseball World Series was held in St. Paul in 1976.

"My father-in-law was an instructor and a great guy," Kathy Quinn said.

She was involved with the sport since a young age and the passion remains.


"I just love it," Quinn said. "It's fun and I love sports. Once you watch it, you're just hooked.

"I guess I like to give my knowledge to the people in the sport," she added.

All games this week are being played at the Fuad Mansour Soccer Complex in southeastern Rochester.

The rules

Beep Baseball is a game designed for the visually impaired where the ball beeps and the bases buzz. Each team plays with six players per side in a six inning game.

All players, regardless of sight, wear a blindfold while batting or fielding. The pitcher and catcher are part of the batting team. The pitcher stands just 20 feet from the batter and calls out a cadence to help the hitter.

There are two bases, first and third. After making contact (four strikes are allowed and the ball must travel at least 40 feet) the batter races to one of the bases, 100 feet away, that is buzzing. If the batter reaches the base before the fielders can cleanly secure the ball he is safe and a run is scored (no other base running is involved).

After the ball is hit the defensive spotter (like Quinn for the Minnesota Millers) can shout out one number to help the fielders with the direction the ball is hit.


"The thrill of being able to hit or dive and make a play in the field is great," said Rochester's Steve Guerra, who is a member of the Minnesota Millers.

Family affair

The tournament seems to be one big family reunion. Most of these teams never play each other, except at the World Series (there are only about 30 beep baseball teams in the country) but there are connections on every team.

"It's the only time of year they all get together," assistant tournament director Janet Leonard said.

"Every year seems to be a family reunion for me," Quinn said. "I have friends all over the country."

Guerra has an identical twin brother, Frank, who plays for the Iowa Reapers. His wife, Andrea, has two half brothers who play for the Austin Blackhawks, Wayne Sibson, who is a player, and Kevin Sibson, who is a pitcher.

A number of teams have siblings or father-son combos on their squad.

"It's so fun," Andrea Guerra said. "It's like a family."


Doggie day care

A lot of players bring their specially trained dogs to the event and the canines have their own special shaded area while games are being played.

This marks the third time that Rochester has played host to the event (2007, 2010 being the other years) and that turned out to be perfect for Tim and Laurie Craig of Carver, Minn.

About 4 1/2 years ago the Craigs took in a dog for Puppy Raisers for Lead Dogs for the Blind. They were the first step in training a dog — Rex — for the visually impaired and had the dog for a year. After that, Rex went on for five months of specific training in Rochester Hills, Mich.

Rex became a sight dog for John Lombardo, who happens to play for the Indy Thunder. The Indianapolis-based team is at the World Series so the Craigs traveled from their home near Chaska to see Rex.

"He was our first (sight) dog and we thought this was a perfect opportunity to see him," Laurie Craig said. The Craigs have trained one other dog since Rex.

And Rex remembered the Craigs, even though the pooch has been with Lombardo since April of 2011. Of course Rex is one very well trained dog.

"He's about a $40,000 dog," Laurie Craig said. But Rex was donated to Lombardo, who did not have to pay the training fee.



Beep Baseball World Series

What: A total of 19 teams will compete for the National Beep Baseball Association World Series for visually impaired players.

Where/when:The event is being held at the Fuad Mansour Soccer Complex in southeast Rochester from Tuesday-Saturday.

Schedule: Games will be held at 9 and 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from Tuesday-Friday. The championship game will be at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Online: Information on the event can be found at

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