Beep Baseball Challenge

Saint Louis University Ophthalmology versus The Gateway Archers

On Oct. 16, the St. Louis Gateway Archers challenged the SLU Department of Ophthalmology to a baseball game. 

The Gateway Archers are a team of players who are blind or visually impaired. The MindsEye’s BeepBall Program adds a twist on baseball that allows players of all visual abilities to compete. In Beepball, all players wear blindfolds except the sighted pitcher and outfield spotters. Players are guided by sound, not sight: the ball emits a “beep” sound, bases buzz and the pitcher gives verbal cues. 

SLU’s Department of Ophthalmology rallied up 10 players and 18 spectators. Friends and family of the Gateway Archers and SLU Department of Ophthalmology gathered at the Medical Center Stadium on South Campus to cheer and watch the game. 

Many of the Gateway Archers players are patients of SLU ophthalmologist Dr. Tom Porter and see him regularly at Saint Louis University Hospital. This made the game especially exciting for SLU Hospital staff members, who loved seeing their patients play a sport that many assume requires sight. Members of SLU’s Ophthalmology Department had never played baseball blindfolded, so this was a whole new experience for them. The Archers were victorious, winning 6 to 2. 

SLU Ophthalmology hopes this will be an annual game. Porter said, “The Archers are amazing, and watching them play makes one realize what incredible athletes they all are. They played with the same drive and intensity as any baseball or baseball team. I think they were going easy on us this year but warned us next year they’re going to ‘smoke us’ and we better start practicing!”