'Teaching kids the basics:' Children with visual impairments take part in 'beep baseball' with MSOE players

MILWAUKEE -- Spring means the sights and sounds of baseball return to Wisconsin -- but some kids must really focus on the sounds.

During a recent "beep baseball" game at MSOE, the sound of the crack of the bat was replaced with something else.

"Beeper baseball is an adapted way to play baseball where there is actually a beeping sound coming from the baseball and the base," said Madalyn Barnes with Vision Forward.

The MSOE baseball team had fun playing with children who have visual impairments.

Madalyn Barnes

"Each spring, Vision Forward Association teams up with the boys' baseball players at MSOE and we supply a morning of beeper baseball for our visually-impaired school-age children," said Barnes.

"Just teaching the kids the basics about the game and beep baseball, which is new to us also. I know our guys really enjoy coming out here and teaching a little bit and even learning from the kids, so it's a great time all around for everybody," said Jordan Guth, MSOE assistant baseball coach.

The day was centered around baseball, but Barnes from Vision Works said it goes beyond the game for the kids.

Jordan Guth

"It's just a great opportunity to provide some physical education for kids who have visual impairments and also provide great opportunities for teamwork -- teach them dedication and get a little peer mentorship from the boys' baseball team at MSOE," said Barnes.

"I think it's fun to one -- be around the game, be around guys that play collegiate baseball and they get to learn a lot. I know a lot of these kids haven't even felt baseballs before and softballs and bats and stuff like that," said Guth.

Guth said he believes his players get at least as much out of the experience as the kids do.

"Oh it's awesome! We have a lot fun with it. It's pretty inspiring for our guys and humbling just to be out here with kids who enjoy coming here and having fun with the basics of baseball. It kind of takes us back to being kids and learning the game for the first time, so I think we get to be a kid at heart for a day too. Dealing with these guys, they always have a smile on their face and it's kind of contagious. You'll walk around and see all our guys with smiles on their faces," said Guth.