Blindfold Home Run Derby is a fully accessible baseball hitting game, for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.
Just like the annual home run hitting contest in Major League Baseball, the objective of this game is to get as many home runs as possible before scoring 9 outs.
Exploring the playing field
The ball field is laid out with areas where you can hit a single, double, triple or home run.
It is also laid out with a foul area, and the other team’s players, ready to catch the ball when you hit it.
Home runs are at the top of the screen, and singles are near the middle of the screen.
To explore the playing field, in the main menu, select the option Explore Playing Field.
As you move around your finger, the game will tell you what you are touching.
The time between clicks varies baseds on the speed of the ball.
In general, you can hit a single by tapping when you hear the 2nd click, or just before the 4th click.
You can hit a double by tapping one-third between the 2nd and 3rd click, a bit before the 4th click.
You can hit a triple by tapping two-thirds between the 2nd and 3rd click, or a bit after the 3rd click.
You can hit a home run by tapping just before or after the 3rd click.
You will foul if you tap before the 2nd click or after the 4th click.
You will strike if you tap before the 1st click or after the 5th click.
If you set the ball speed to random, the tap game can be quite challenging.
Prior to the ball being pitched, you’ll hear from 1 to 6 twangs to tell you the speed.
The twangs are sounded in groups of 2 or 3 to make it easier to count.
For example with 5 twangs, you will hear 3 twangs, a pause, then 2 twangs.
In practice game, you can hit the ball until you have 3 outs, and the ball is always pitched at the slowest speed.
No total score is maintained.
In the beginner game, you keep hitting the ball until you have 9 outs.
The game keeps track of the number of singles, doubles, triples and home runs you achieve.
This is just like the Hitting Game, but when your players can move from base to base.
For example, if you get a single followed by a double, your players are now on second and third base.
If you get another double, both players will make it to home base, and you’ll have scored 2 runs.
Making the Game Easier or Harder
You can change the speed at which the ball is pitched to you.
You can select from 1, which is the slowest, to 6, which is the fastest, or you can select random speed.
Prior to each pitch, you will hear 1 to 6 twangs, based on how fast the ball is thrown.
During the game, to get total scores, swipe down with 3 fingers.
At the end of the game, to get final level score and total scores, swipe down with 3 fingers.
Home Run Derby Background
The Home Run Derby is an annual home run hitting contest in Major League Baseball (MLB) customarily held the day before the MLB All-Star Game, which places the contest on a Monday in July. Since the inaugural derby in 1985, the event has seen several rule changes, evolving from a short outs-based competition, to multiple rounds, and eventually a bracket-style timed event. It is currently sponsored by T-Mobile, a wireless cellphone company.
The event has grown significantly from its roots in the 1980s, when it was not televised. Prior to 1991, the Home Run Derby was structured as a two-inning event with each player receiving five outs per inning, allowing for the possibility of ties. It is now one of the most-watched events broadcast on ESPN.
In 2000, a “match play”-style format was instituted for the second round. The player with the most home runs in the first round faced the player with the least among the four qualifying players, as did the players with the second- and third-most totals. The contestant who won each matchup advanced to the finals. This format was discontinued after the 2003 competition.
The field of players selected currently consists of four American League players and four National League players. The first Derby in 1985 featured five from each league, and the 1986 and 1987 events featured three and two players from each league, respectively. In 1996, the field was again expanded to ten players, five from each league (though in 1997, the AL had six contestants to the NL’s four).
In 2000, the field reverted to the current four-player-per-league format. The only exception was 2005, when Major League Baseball changed the selection criteria with eight players representing their home countries rather than their respective leagues. The change was believed to be in promotion of the inaugural World Baseball Classic, played in March 2006. In 2006, the selection of four players from each league resumed. In 2011, the format was revised so that team captains selected the individual sides.
Some notable performances in the Derby include Bobby Abreu in 2005, who won the Derby with a then-record 41 homers, including a then-record 24 in the first round. The first-round record was broken in 2008 by Josh Hamilton, who hit 28 home runs. Though Hamilton’s performance was notable for the length of his home runs, he ultimately lost to Justin Morneau in a brief final round. The overall record was broken in 2016 by Giancarlo Stanton, who finished with a total of 61 home runs, defeating Todd Frazier in the final round. Only two participants, Yoenis Céspedes and Giancarlo Stanton, have won the Home Run Derby without being selected to the All-Star game itself.
Television and radio coverage
The derby was first nationally televised by ESPN in 1993 on a same-day delayed basis, with the first live telecast in 1998. Although two hours were initially devoted to the telecast, it hasn’t been uncommon for the program to run over schedule. The 2006 through 2008 events, for example, lasted nearly three hours. Since 2009, three hours are devoted to the event. Chris Berman has gained notoriety for his annual hosting duties on ESPN, including his catchphrase, “Back back back…Gone!”. Berman starts this phrase when the ball is hit, and does not say “Gone!” until the ball lands.
The 2008 Derby was the year’s most highly rated basic cable program.
Because of the game’s TV popularity, invited players have felt pressure to participate. Notably, Ken Griffey Jr. initially quietly declined to take part in 1998, partly due to ESPN scheduling the Mariners in their late Sunday game the night before. After a discussion with ESPN’s Joe Morgan and another with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Griffey changed his mind, and then won the Derby at Coors Field.
In Spanish the event is televised on Spanish language network ESPN Deportes.
ESPN Radio also carries the event annually.