Beep Baseball Minnesota

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Midway Lions Top Celebrities
Lions defeat local celebrities 7-6 in beepball game

by Clarence Schadegg

On Friday, June 22nd, the St. Paul Midway Lions beepball team defeated a team of local celebrities 7-6 at Midway Stadium. Marilyn Highland scored the winning run by hitting a ball over the pitcher’s mound that rolled between the legs of U.S. Senate candidate Bob Olson. By the time Olson got to the ball, Highland had gotten to first base.

Olson wasn’t the only celebrity player to miss a play. Later in the game, Greg Lutowsky stepped up to the plate and hit the ball. When racing down the first base line, however, he missed the base “by 20 feet. By the time he ran back to the first base, Jennifer Dubbin picked up the ball for the out,” said coach Dennis Stern.

Celebrity player Tom Heinl had better luck than Olson in the field. Standing even with third base, Heinl waited for the sound of the bat driving the ball in his direction. The spotter shouted out, “Three!” Heinl took that cue and dove to his left, with his body stretched out on the ground, on his side, to stop the ball rolling towards him. “Got it!” Heinl shouted. Just in time, the umpire called, “Out!” Heinl’s defense prevented two points from scoring! (See How Beepball Works, below.)

Besides winning the game, Lions players were excited just to play at the home field of the St. Paul Saints. “All of our players got to bat at the home plate where Jack Morris pitched over a few years ago,” said Stern. Even though these are exhibition games, the excitement and intensity is high. In fact, most of the games this season have been decided by two runs or less. The next celebrity donor game will be on July 28th at the Rice Street Festival (11:00 a.m.).

Kevin Moldenhauer, a beepball celebrity of previous World Series games and an original beepball player from the 1970s, continues to celebrate and promote the sport. “Now I play mainly to get out and run a little,” he said. “I also believe that beepball is a fun game and that we can keep it going in the Twin Cities. The teacher in me also believes that my experiences in playing the game might be something that I can give back to the game that was so great for me to play.”

All players wear sleep shades, covers over the eyes that block any residual vision. The ability to hit the ball under sleep shades is a skill that takes concentration and perseverance. With practice, players may improve not only their ability to consistently hit the ball, but also field it.

Unlike traditional baseball, the beepball pitcher is on the same team as the batter. Standing at a distance of 20 feet, the pitcher throws the ball where he knows the batter will make a connection. The success rate between pitcher and batter is contingent upon the consistency of the pitch and the swing of the bat.

Part of the skill of the game is to become as comfortable as possible playing a sport once thought impossible for somebody who’s blind. Like any sport, friendly competition helps to draw out the talent in people who may not otherwise realize their full potential. Nancy Schadegg, long-time beepball player, stated, “It’s a great summer sport for blind people. It’s a way for blind people to play baseball, a game they’d otherwise not be able to play.” According to Suzanne Glidden, Beepball volunteer, “The thing that I find most compelling is the enthusiasm. There’s so much positive energy at the games. It’s fun to watch.” 

How Beepball Works

All players wear sleep shades to block out any vision. The batter stands at home plate and waits for the pitch of a beeping ball. Swinging his arm back, the pitcher calls out, “Go, Set, Ready, Pitch.” On the pitch, the batter swings. After three strikes, the batter is allowed to hit off a tee.

When the ball is hit, the batter runs to the beeping base set one hundred feet from home plate. Meanwhile, the beeping ball flies through the air, and the fielders race to where they hear the sound. The spotter helps the fielders by telling the direction the ball is going (e.g. “Six” is straight toward center field) and how far it its hit (Loud high voice means a long ball, soft low voice means a short ball). If the fielder reaches the ball and holds it up over their head before the batter reaches the base, the batter is out. If the batter reaches the base first, points are scored. It’s two points if the ball is pitched and hit, and one point if hit off a tee.

To learn more about beepball, and/or to become a celebrity donor, contact Coach Dennis Stern, 1837 Victoria Rd., Mendota Hts., MN 55118, 651-452-5324, 


World Series, held in Rochester, Minnesota.






 The Team!!


On Sunday, May 4th, 2008--a day game at Midway Stadium in front of over 2,000 interrested fans--we won 8-1 us over the Bruising Bankers and Friends (including Mudonna--in her pink pig costume.)  As an honor for having been a winning World Series competitor, Kevin Moldenhauer threw out the first ball, and soon after that in the bottom of the first hit a pitched ball off Kent for two points, and the rout was on.  Annie Young, in only her third game or practice with us, stopped six balls in left field--all for outs.
Of the strong young men on the opposition, Greg Lutowsky, a three-time supporter of our team, ran furiously to first base, but humorously ran about 15 feet past it.  Before he could get back to the bag, Marilyn had made quick work of his grounder and raised it for the out.
(Players from that day, please let me know your other memories of the action.)
   Just as good as the game that day was the fact that Mike McNaughton, Tom Heinl's friend and teammate on the 1976 U.S.A.BeepBall Champion St. Paul Gorillas and regrettably very seriously ill, finally did get recognition by the announcer to the crowd about his achievement and place in beep ball.  He asked Mike to stand up and wave to the crowd in about the 6th inning.  And they gave him nice applause. Mike's wife, son and grandchildren were there.
     We raised $600 for the sight-impaired around the world thru Lions Clubs, and $500 for the North Suburban Blind Lions, funds that our team can use if needed, or can be used later for the Lions projects like Leader Dogs, etc. Thanks for your efforts. (Annie sold one sponsor, Dan from Triangle Creative.)
   As usual, we thank the Saints for all the free tickets--over 70--and all the fun.
-Dennis Stern.