Blind Tyler Baseball Team Headed To World Series - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/16/06-Tyler

Blind Tyler Baseball Team Headed To World Series

A World Series title in Texas?

The Rangers have not done it, the Astros could not do it, but the Tyler Tigers just might.

However, it is not just the possibility of a world title that makes these athletes special. Most of the members of the Tyler Tigers are blind. 

"We didn't want to sit around and have a pity party," said Tigers Coach Larry Reed. "We wanted to get out and prove to the community that we can play baseball as well as the sighted."

The Tyler Tigers play in the Beep Baseball league. The rules from the regular game are a little different but it is the same principle, get a hit and get on base.

The Tigers began in 1994, when Larry Reed got wind of other blind baseball teams and wanted to start one in Tyler. Most of the players are blind, but some members have sight. The catcher and pitchers can see. Other sighted team members wear blind folds.

"When I first started it was kind of hard, it was kind of difficult," said Tigers Assistant Coach Tony Bush. Tony can see. "You don't ever imagine not having your eyes."

That is just the lesson their visually impaired teammates want them to learn.

"A lot of people say you are blind and let me help," Larry explained,  "so what we do is we get out here and show them we can do things just as good as they can, we just don't have sight."

"It's amazing," said sighted Tigers team member Cardell McCauley. "The ability to hear something and not see it, and just go straight to it."

In addition to the beeping ball, the bases also beep. They are triggered to a sensor so that way when the ball comes near, players know which way to run. The Tigers realize just how surprising a blind baseball team is to most folks.

"They're like,  'Yeah right, how do you do that?'" Alvin Francis said.

Alvin lost his sight after a terrible crime. He was severely beaten. But in addition to being teammates the Tigers are also like a family and Alvin said like family, they are always there.

"Sure I got my lows you know everybody does," Alvin said.

"We really depend on one another even when we get down," Larry said. 

"It's still a good life," Alvin smiled.

The Tigers have battled past their individual problems and battled straight into the World Series. They will compete with 15 teams from across the planet for the title.

The beep baseball world series is in Cleveland, Ohio. It runs from July 31-August 5.

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