When players for the Chicago Comets step up to the plate Saturday afternoon in Carpentersville to enjoy America’s pastime, they’ll try to keep an ear on the ball.

“I heard that there were beeping baseballs before, but I didn’t know there were teams,” said John Herzog, 20, of Woodridge, who plays for the Comets, one of two beep baseball teams in Illinois. “It’s a really competitive sport that I can play as a blind person.”

The beep baseball was introduced in 1964 by a telephone company engineer in Colorado. In 1975 the non-profit National Beep Baseball Association was formed and today it sponsors 18 teams. Among them are the Comets, formed in 1995 and composed of players from throughout the Chicago area.

Last year, the Comets, with players ranging in age from 15 to 53, won the association’s World Series in Denver.

Herzog, who was born blind, said the sport gives him the opportunity to travel, establish friendships and develop patience, dedication and teamwork. The sport also bridges the gap between blind and sighted people, Herzog said.

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