Athens- Beep Baseball for the Blind

Athens Inclusive Recreation and Sports hosted The Annual Blind Baseball Tournament Saturday. I’m sorry I did not go. It must have been great. Blind people are getting a chance to take a whack at playing the country’s national pastime.

I don’t have the time or the space to describe all I read about Beep Baseball on the internet but the website of The National Beep Baseball Association is Check it out. It is really interesting especially for baseball fans.

Naturally Beep Baseball cannot be played like regular baseball. A contest lasts for just six innings. There is no second base. First base and third base are padded cylindrical speakers that are four feet tall. The speakers are 100 feet down the usual first and third base lines and they are set ten feet off the foul line. All players, with the exception of the pitcher and the catcher and the spotters, must wear a blindfold to ensure none of them can actually see the action.

From 20 feet out the pitcher must say “ready” just before he releases the ball and the catcher sets the target where he thinks the hitter normally swings. The pitcher tries to get the ball on the hitter’s bat. When he releases the ball the pitcher must say “pitch” or “ball.”

The batter tries to judge when the ball will reach the distance he needs for a good swing. He hears the pitcher say pitch or ball and he listens for the ball that is emitting a constant beep. He has to allow time for the ball to get to him and he has to judge where the beeping ball is in relation to his bat and if he hits it, it has to travel over 40 feet. Less than 40 feet is a foul. If it goes 180 feet in the air it’s a homer!

Once the batter hits the ball, either the first base or the third base speaker will begin to buzz.  Each speaker has its own distinctive buzz so the batter knows which one to run toward. If he gets to his destination before a defensive player traps the beeping ball, he has scored a run. There is no running of the bases and no one is thrown out.

There are only six defensive players in the field with a couple of spotters who shout a number to the players to indicate where the ball is heading. The defensive play usually results in much bodily involvement such as throwing yourself on the beeping ball. If you are good and you manage to body block the ball before the hitter gets to his base, the hitter is out.

I’ve sort of hit the high spots here and there to touch on some of the differences between beep ball and regular baseball but if your interest is piqued please visit the NBBA website so you can get it all straight from the horse’s mouth.

I only regret they did not have beep ball when I was a kid. It would have suited me perfectly. I had a hard time seeing anything but mass objects like autos, elephants, and houses. Where I grew up, we only occasionally saw an elephant. Her name was Laska and she lived at the local zoo.

These beep ball guys can take one look at me today and probably let me play without a blindfold. My glasses are so thick I’ve had plastic surgery three times to move my nose off my lips and back up between my eyes.

Today I would make a great defensive player if all you have to do is fling yourself down on a beeping ball. I’ve got the mass. I’ve got the height. I’ve got the width. I’ve got the weight. What I do not have is the ability to get back up off the ground once I have made that initial fling.





Downtown Athens, Back Porch Police Blotter

I have written this report on crime in Athens specifically for Curtis Fraser because Curtis recently chastised me for not telling about the 14 year old girl who threw a series of fits over a three day period because someone drank her Mountain Dew. Apparently mixing a teenaged girl with too much Mountain Dew can make them as crazy as a run over dog. The police had to come get the girl because she was yelling, screaming, threatening to set fire to her Mother and her Step-father and banging her fists on the wall. I hope they put her somewhere to dry her out and please keep her off that Mountain Dew.

I can only offer this as a small way of apology because there are actually so many strange goings on in Athens and surrounding vicinities that I cannot keep up with all of them. Trying to keep up with such madness will rub off on you and Katie Mae has already had a serious discussion with me about having me institutionalized….just for a short while she promises with an amused gleam in her eyes.

I have taken to watching local policemen closely. I swear to you, they all look sane and serious about the business at hand but I cannot for the sake of me see how they manage to confront all the bizarre, wretched and crazy individuals they come face to face with every day and still maintain any small semblance of sanity.  My hat is forever off to them and my appreciation to them for keeping me as safe as humanly possible is never ending.

Now back to you, Curtis Fraser. I am only writing this because another 14 year old girl child has gone berserk and lest you give me a fanny chewing about my not telling you about her, here it is: She is 14 and she has a twin brother. Their Mama innocently brought home a sack of Cheetos. The girl was gobbling up the Cheetos with great gusto when her brother decided he wanted to fill the cracks between his teeth with orange crud too. He grabbed for the snack bag. It tore in two. Cheetos went flying as did the girl. She flew into the kitchen and got her hands on a large butcher knife. It was the kind they sometimes use to de-bone hogs.

She tried to separate the boy from the Cheetos he had picked up off the floor and I believe she was going to separate him from the Cheetos that he had in his stomach but, fortunately, her Mother got the knife away from her. The police had to come get this 14 year old girl too. She and her brother were already on probation.

Now, don’t worry, Curtis. I have some feelers out and I am going to soon learn if the Cheetos girl was washing them down with Mountain Dew. This could really get serious. I hear Governor Deal’s people have been talking to Mayor Bloomberg’s people and there may be a decision made to ban Mountain Dew. You can keep your guns but you’ll have to pour all your Mountain Dew down the drain. Of course the Mountain Dew folks can step in and make that stuff a little lighter so it won’t press so hard on the nervous system of teenagers and most other peoples.

Meanwhile I did want to tell you about a new trend that drunks around here seem to be following. They tend to be attracted to the very people who can keep them safe by locking their drunk butts in jail and that’s not a bad thing.

I don’t know what these older homeless type guys are drinking up here these days but several of them have taken to screaming and yelling in the streets. They throw trash cans around and the police have to move in and get to know them better.

One drunk jaywalker walked straight into the street and out in front of a police car. That’s a quick way to get emergency services if you need them. Just let a cop run you over and he can use his police radio to call you an ambulance.

My favorite episode is the drunk who drove up to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, walked into the lobby and began talking about buying a Mercedes limo with over sized tires and he also happened to mention he was a genius. The Chief Deputy, Lee Weems, who saw him drive up smelled alcohol on him and asked him to blow into a portable alcohol tester. Deputy Weems advised him he was not under arrest and he did not have to submit to further testing. The genius boozer, at that point,  told Weems he wanted to take the test on the official machine. He blew .14 on the official machine and he was officially and instantly charged with DUI. I don’t think that machine will test your IQ but I feel pretty confident in saying, “He ain’t no damned genius.”

That’s about it for us up here around Athens. We are holding our own but who knows how long we can hold our own.

You will be doing us a big favor if you can touch base with any friends you might have in Springfield, GA. We want to be sure the court over there will keep this fellow for a long time.  He’s the one who set his pit bulldogs on the pet pig and then fell bodily on the hog so he could stab it 20 or 30 times. We would really appreciate it if they could keep him away from here. It sounds like he has been living off Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

Maybe he would have a change of heart if he had to spend every night with the pig for the next couple of years.




Stop Mass Psychoses – Red Flag the Nut Cases!

I recently tweeted about a 20 year old man who broke into the Paris Museum of Natural History last Saturday. He had a chainsaw with him. He used the chainsaw to cut the tusk off an almost 400 year old elephant skeleton.

The elephant had been given as a gift by the King of Portugal to French King Louis XIV whose close pals referred to him as the Sun King. I’m pretty sure the elephant was alive when presented as a gift to King Louie. Elephants were plentiful back then. I did not realize elephant numbers have drastically declined since the mid-fifties. Now thieves are stealing the tusks from elephants and rhinos in museums and auction houses.

Even Rosie the Rhino who is on display at the Ipswich, England Museum has lost her horn to ivory bandits. Rosie has been a key exhibit for over a hundred years and is kind of a mascot to the museum visitors and staff. Rhino horn is worth a little more than $1600.00 per ounce on the black market and that ain’t too shabby. Gold is worth only a few bucks per ounce more that

Anyhow, this brain dead (or extremely greedy) kid breaks into the Paris museum. He is carrying a chainsaw. He saws off the tusk of the old elephant’s remains. The noise from the chainsaw sets off an alarm. A neighbor hears all the commotion and calls the law. The cops arrive and find the young man out on the street at 3:00 AM walking around with an elephant tusk on his shoulder. He was having a tough time disguising the elephant tusk. He was also walking with a broken ankle. He left the chainsaw running on the floor in the museum right by the side of the despoiled pachyderm.

Now all this makes perfect sense (It’s totally wrong but it makes perfect sense) to an experienced criminal mind if you are an ivory thief and if you are selling ivory on the black market.

There is a big But here – But I have serious questions about the daily disintegration of sanity as we think we know it and the frightful, overwhelming idiocy we seem doomed to constantly confront. Some of the questions are:

What was he thinking??? I know this is a bad question but I have to ask it to somehow confirm my own small slice of sanity.
– Did he think nobody would notice him walking around with a chain saw at 3:00 AM?
– Did he not know burglar alarms make a lot of noise?
– Did he not know burglar alarms plus a chainsaw cutting through an elephant tusk will
make a helluva lot of noise especially at 3:00 AM?
– Where did he think he was going to hide the tusk once he got it out on the street?

These are sane, legitimate questions. The real problem is more and more people are afraid to confront the truth and what’s worse, political correctness prevents many people from speaking out when they see something going on that is obviously very wrong. Why is it that people could speak up just a few years ago and they can’t do it today?

Here are a couple of comments from French authorities in Paris about the kid who separated the old elephant from his tusk:

“The act of a deranged individual has not been ruled out.” If you are stupid enough to make a statement like that I can advise you to go ahead and rule out the act of a deranged individual because obviously this young lad is fine, mentally and physically. After all he made it over the fence even if he slightly broke his ankle and that thing about sawing off an elephant tusk is only a slight mental aberration. He cut the horns off a cow once and inhaling the dust from the horns had a calming and pleasant effect on him especially the way the dust made his nostrils flare. He’ll be okay. He was just trying to relive that wonderful experience of his youth.

Another statement…..”Authorities suspect the tusk was bound for the lucrative black market trade.” The authorities are starting to actually make more sense with this statement other than the fact that it sounds as if it came from the mouth of a twelve year old kid repeating something he had heard a hundred times. The authorities blow it all with the next statement:

This, my favorite statement, came from the Paris Prosecutors office spokeswoman who said, “The motive of the suspect wasn’t immediately clear.” We have a Great-Great Grandchild coming along who is still in the hangar, as they say, and I’ll bet you she can guess the motive of the tusk-whacker on the first try. She will not be French.

Do not ever, ever get in trouble in a European country. You’ll either go scottfree for murder or we will never see you again after you innocently forget to pay for your morning cup of tea.

And there you have it! We cannot call a crazy a crazy because it is not politically correct. We must return to the days where we can point directly at a crazy SOB and say, “That is a crazy SOB,” Lock him up and fix him. Do it now!!  Keep him away from knives, guns and chainsaws!

Losing our ability to identify and get crazies out of circulation is dooming us to go the way of the French and the Italians and all the other wusses around the world who cannot put the correct and true label on a problem. Tell it like it is! Name it! Label it and Initiate the process that will cure the problem.