Over at SB Nation’s Longform page there’s a beautiful piece by Pete Richmond about the world championships of blind baseball:
I haven’t cared a whole lot about the professional game ever since I asked Seth “Bam Bam” Clark of the Bayou City Heat – big, bald and blind since the shooting accident at 13 – what it was like to play this game, and he smiled and said, “It’s allowed me to see another side of the world.”
After that, I had no more questions, except what he was doing when he wasn’t playing, which is currently pursuing a Ph.D in American History at UC-Davis. Seth’s dissertation will examine the origins of slavery.
The Heat had been eliminated by the Chicago Comets, led by Gilberto Ramos, a 37-year-old who played a little Single A in the Royals’ system 14 years ago before a random bullet passed through one side of his head and out the other as he was driving home at 1 a.m. from the late shift at the Tyson Chicken packing plant in Chicago. The bullet missed his brain but severed his optic nerves. He’s a big man, and other than a little pockmark on each of his temples, and a few extra pounds, he still looks like a baseball player.
“Things happen,” Gilberto told me. Which is more or less what I heard from all of the players I talked to on the 17 teams who made the pilgrimage to the Midwest. Which is why when the Giants snuffed the Tigers last October, I barely noticed. Not after watching the sport played by men who play it for all the right reasons, and refuse to complain about bad calls, no money, no fame and no eyesight, and live for the one week, every year, when they can play the game against the best in their sport.
In other words, baseball players.
Do yourself a favor and check it out.
[Photo Credit: Marco Gualazzini for The International Herald Tribune]