Following bells and beeps, blind Cubans take the field for baseball
Baseball has long been a national passion in Cuba but this version has only caught on in recent years. Now there's no stopping the blind champs, who train several times a week and even participate in international tournaments. The players, who are blind or visually impaired, say baseball has helped them refine their sense of orientation by sound. The ball has jingle-type bells inside so that fielders can hear where it lands and scramble for it. The first base is a beeping mat, while players clap paddles at the second and third base to orient runners. There is no pitcher; the batter both throws and hits the ball. The game was developed in Italy in the 1970s and brought over to Cuba by Italian coaches in the early 2000s who also provided the equipment. Enthusiasts say it is more truthful to the original sport than its American parallel, beep baseball.