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Vol. 17 No. 1
March/April 2006

2006 Spring NBBA Newsletter

Table of Contents

Newsworthy items
World Series Hotel Information
WS Team Member Release Form
WS Team Registration and Billing Form
WS Team Roster/Membership Registration
NBBA Parental Waiver Form for Minors
Game Roster with DH
NBBA Scoresheet
2006 Regional Tournament Information
2006 Spring Board Meeting Minutes
2006 March Treasurer's Report
John Ross Endowment Fund Pledge Form
Equipment List
Hall of Fame Nomination Form

Newsworthy Items

  • Team Rosters are due by June 1st for the $10/member fee. Final Rosters are due by July 1st ($20/member fee) in order to be able to participate in the World Series. NOTE the addition of Identifying a minor on the roster and their signed waiver requirements.
  • Letters verifying visual impairment will be required for all NEW athletes participating in the 2006 World Series. Call the secretary with questions.
  • Remember that to qualify for the 2006 George Haws Sportsmanship Award, teams must display the official NBBA patch on their uniform sleeve. Patches can be obtained from the NBBA treasurer, John Lykowski, for $2.00 each.
  • The dates for the 2006 World Series are July 30th through August 5th. The meetings will be on Tuesday, Aug. 1st. Games begin on Wednesday, Aug. 2nd, and continue thru Friday, Aug. 4th. The Championship games will be held Saturday, Aug. 5th. The tournament will be held in Strongsville, OH.
  • 2006 Regional Tournaments –
    June 3-4 Topeka, KS
    June 3-4 Indianapolis, IN
    June 10-11 Chicago, IL
    June 24-25 Oklahoma League for the Blind Beep Baseball Tournament
  • Nominations – There are five (5) Board of Director positions up for election in 2006: Jeff Dell, Dan Kelley, Marty Skutnik, Terri Smolka, and Roy Trujillo AND the entire NBBA Executive Board – President, 1st & 2nd Vice Presidents and Secretary. Please submit your nominations (nominee must be willing to run) to Wilbert Turner at (216)561-6864 or email to nominations@nbba.org
  • Information regarding current or former NBBA members who have passed away may be submitted to DAN GREENE – 1611 S. Aida Ave., Tucson, AZ 85710, OR may be sent online to dan@g-ware.com
  • Visit us on the web at: www.NBBA.org

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World Series Hotel Information

July 30 – August 5

Hotel:
The Strongsville Holiday Inn
15471 Royalton Road (RT 82)
Strongsville, Ohio. 44136
Phone: (440) 238-8800
Fax: (440) 238-2435

The contact person to utilize is Denise Beck. We are still waiting for a response from her on how to handle making team reservations with a “tax exempt” status. Information regarding this will come as we receive it.

There is a gas station with a convenient mart located just off the end of the hotel parking lot. There is a mall less than a mile away with several restaurant choices to choose from for meals should you decide not to eat in the hotel restaurant.

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2006 Regional Tournament Information

June 3-4 Gofor Classic – Topeka, KS
Contact Julia Fonseca at (785) 228-5768
Or JuliaF01@yahoo.com (e-mail)
Entry fee: $100 plus 5 working balls
DEADLINE: May 10th
Hotel: Clubhouse Inn (785) 273-8888 $69/night

June 3-4 Indy Thunder Beep Baseball Tournament – Indianapolis, IN
Contact Darnell Booker at (317) 371-6267
or book@indy.net
Entry fee: $75 plus 6 working balls
lodging available at Indiana State School for the Blind

June 10-11 Bolingbrook Bash – Chicago, IL
Contact Lion Ken Arndt at (630) 759-7145
or klarndt16@hotmail.com
Entry fee $75 plus 5 new/working beep balls
Hotel: Bolingbrook Holiday Inn Express (630) 679-1600
Meal & T-shirt package available for $12/person

June 24-25 Oklahoma League for the Blind Beep Ball Tournament –
Oklahoma City, OK
Contact Carol Campbell at (405) 232-4644 or e-mail ccampbell@olb.org for details.

** Check the website for the most up-to-date regional tourney info

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2006 Spring Board Meeting Minutes

Strongsville, OH
March 4, 2006

Present: Ed Bradley, Kevin Barrett, David Smolka, Jeana Weigand,
Kenny Bailey, John Lykowski, Jeff Dell, Marty Skutnik, Stephen Guerra, Wilbert Turner, Lenny Williams, Christy Delmonico, Michael Garrett, and Jan Traphagan
GUESTS: Janet Leonard, Bill Maroney, TelecomPioneer (and newly hired Executive Director of the NBBA as of the END of this meeting).
Present via web conference: Terri Smolka and Tim Hibner
Absent: Joe Wood, Kari Biesendorfer, Dan Kelley, Roy Trujillo, Sam (Shr-Wei Jo)

Call to order.
Invocation by John Lyowski
Motion to accept minutes from fall meeting as sent via e-mail, 2nd. CORRECTION: Quilt for the drawing was donated by NBBA volunteer head scorekeeper, LYNDA BAGLEY, not by the TelecomPioneers. Motion to accept with change, 2nd, passed.

Treasurer’s report read. Motion to accept report as read, 2nd, passed.
John Ross Endowment Fund report read. Motion to accept report as read, 2nd, passed.

Budget & Finance committee report: Three grant applications will be submitted shortly. Motion to accept report as given, 2nd passed.

TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE REPORT:
2006 – Strongsville (Cleveland), Ohio: Lions have designated the event a District project. Jeff Dell will be featured in “Cleveland Magazine” during the summer. Transportation, volunteers, fields, PR, hotel and funding were all addressed at the meeting. Specific information will be going out to team contacts regarding these issues and how to make hotel reservations at a later date. An arrangement has been set up with Northwest Airlines. Teams that utilize them for their airfare will get a 10% discount PLUS for every 30 tickets sold (among all participants) the NBBA organization will be given one free ticket to use within a year. If Northwest doesn’t service an area, they are willing to allow the same deal with one of their “co-share” partners. If you have any questions, please contact Wilbert Turner.
Guide Dogs for the Blind is being contacted about returning to run the “Doggie Day Spa”.

NEW TOURNAMENT FORMAT FOR 2006!! Team contacts will be sent the complete document. In brief, each team will be seeded for round robin play on Wednesday based on their performance at the 2005 World Series. Teams that did not play last year will be seeded last and based on the postmark date for their team registration. Based on team performance in their round robin bracket play on Wednesday, teams will be seeded 1-4 in their bracket.

Beginning on Thursday, ALL teams will be placed into the National Double elimination tournament (no championship/consolation breakdown). The seeding for the double elimination play will be based on your finish in the round robin, with the #1 seeds from each bracket playing the #4 seeds from a different bracket and #2 seeds matched up against #3 seeds.

We have bracketing drawn out for 12 thru 16-team participation. A new placement bracket has been added to the tournament. This placement bracket will be for those teams that are eliminated from the double elimination tournament. Despite a team being eliminated from the actual tournament, PLACEMENT games will be played on FRIDAY to determine the seeding for play in the 2007 World Series. COME PREPARED TO PLAY AT LEAST 2 GAMES EVERY DAY OF THE TOURNEY!!! Whether in the round robin, double elimination or placement portion of the tournament, THE STATS FROM ALL GAMES PLAYED WILL COUNT!!! Questions may be directed via e-mail to the NBBA Secretary – AFTER team contacts have received the packet and it has been reviewed!

2007 – Rochester, Minnesota: The event is shaping up. Local Lions groups have come on board to support the project. Hotel, fields and transportation have been obtained.

2008: No bids at this time.
Motion to accept report as given, 2nd, passed.
**NOTE: An error was discovered in the 2005 World Series offensive All-Star stats. Two players will be acknowledged at the 2006 World Series for their achievements in the 2005 event by name and with awards.

Adjourn for lunch. Reconvene at 1 p.m.

PROJECTS COMMITTEE:
Thanks to Christy Delmonico for her assistance in grant writing. She referred to 3 grants in process: Coors, McCormick and Anshutz Foundation. Still working on connecting with the IRS to get the scholarship in place.
Quilt drawing tickets now available for the World Series T-shirt quilt donated by Lynda Bagley. ANYONE may sell them. They will be distributed to teams as well as board members. The drawing will take place at the awards ceremony for the 2006 World Series. Winner need not be present to win.

BY-LAWS:
There will be an item up for vote at the 2006 General Assembly regarding an addition to the “purpose of the NBBA” Article I.

BALLS & EQUIPMENT:
Arnold Center is still working on 3 “styles” of bases: current, wireless and pneumatic (air pressurized).
At this time, we have received no guarantee from the Pioneers for team balls. Motion made to sell 5 balls to each team from 100 of the NBBA’s stock of balls. Since the NBBA has no stockpile of balls, motion died. Motion made to sell 5 balls to each team from 100 of the 200 balls promised to the Cleveland World Series. The shortage would be made up later. It was pointed out the NBBA board has no power to direct this reallocation since these balls are bought and paid for by the local tournament committee. Motion died.
We do not know if the Pioneers will still be able to purchase 16” kapok “stitched” balls to continue the ball making process. Roy Trujillo reported at the fall board meeting that the new balls were “clinched” stitched instead.
Discussion regarding the “pitch” of the balls. The NBBA will request that the Pioneers work on this issue.
Ball production update memo from Crystal Adams (Qwest VP in charge of the ball production facility in Denver) was read:
To: NBBA Board Members
From: Crystal Adams
CC: Marty Lee
Re: Beep ball Production Update
Let me start by reaffirming my commitment to beepball. Beepball is part of the Pioneer Heritage and the Qwest Pioneers are committed to maintaining that tradition. As you are all aware we are currently transitioning our beepball production process. The transitions currently underway are quite significant and include:
• Re-engineering of the circuit board to a surface mount style
• Revamping of the ordering system to allow balls to be purchased through the Qwest Pioneer e-store via the internet
• Opening of a second beep ball production location in Albuquerque, New Mexico
• Change in financial and administrative processes including a new key contact for the program
These transitions are currently in process but will take time to fully implement. That being said however, let me provide you with an updated status report.
This journey began as a fact finding mission. We have reviewed the quantity of orders processed last year, taken inventory of available parts and supplies and reviewed current processes in place to identify how we can be more efficient and effective in our future endeavors.
Findings:
• Roy Trujillo stepped in to assist beepball at a time when the program was in jeopardy of dying. He has been extremely dedicated to the program over the years but is at a point where he is feeling burned out. Roy has been a great help and is instrumental in this transition process.
• The volunteers are incredibly dedicated to the program and the cause having worked on this project for many years. They are however also aging and could use additional help.
• The production process has been inconsistent in the past for two primary reasons. Items are ordered in bulk quantities for cost savings purposes and the average shipping time to receive select parts is often 4 – 6 weeks.
• The strategy in the past has been to fill requested orders. Last year 509 balls were requested and all orders were filled.
• In an effort to save the end user money and keep the costs down balls were often shipped using inadequate packaging.
• A complete inventory has been conducted. We currently have parts on hand to produce approximately 300 balls. Additional batteries and switches have been ordered.
• We have currently received approximately 285 orders for balls. These orders have already been paid for and include the quantity requested for the 2006 World Series. Our volunteers feel confident that these orders will be fulfilled early – mid April
Next Steps
• The circuit board has been re-engineered and the new circuit board will save approximately 1 hour of time per ball in the production process. The new ball emits a tone that is slightly different. Samples of the new ball will be tested the weekend of 3/3 by the Colorado Beepball team. It is anticipated that the new circuit board will be more durable extending the life of each ball.
• The volunteer team feels confident that we will be able to produce at least 750 balls this year. The goal is to complete the orders currently in place and then begin to take additional orders in mid April.
• Although we are still finalizing the process the plan is that orders of 10 balls or less will be accepted via the web site and that larger orders will need to be placed through Bob Kurtz – the new lead on the program.
• We will be able to sell both new balls and repaired balls via the Qwest Pioneer e-store although we are still trying to identify weather we will be able to ship requested balls via “Free Matter for the Blind”. The web site will allow individuals to see available inventory and will automatically identify shipping costs for overnight and ground shipping methods. Individuals will be able to make a purchase using their credit card and will be provided a receipt with their order. Requested items will be packaged and shipped from the same warehouse that currently handles Qwest Pioneer inventory.
• The price of the balls will increase slightly. The cost for each component currently is $30.07 per ball. This price does not include the cost of the sealant, adhesive, plastic tubing, cord and needles to sew the balls or adequate packaging. It also does not include any allowance for mistakes or parts failure. Currently the price is $30 for a new ball and $21 for a used ball. In the past there has also been a $5 handling fee for the first ball and $2 fee for each additional ball. We are still gathering information to identify final pricing but we anticipate that the per ball fee could increase to $35 for a new ball and $27 for a used ball. This new price would include the handling fee and packaging provided by the warehouse managing the inventory. As is our practice, there is no profit to be gained by the Pioneers.
I am hopeful that the provided information will address at least some of you concerns. Please be assured that the situation is being managed and that the beepball season will be able to move forward uninterrupted. We will continue to keep the NBBA board informed and will provide ordering information to all of the teams as we get further through this process.

At the equipment committee meeting, it was estimated that 605 balls would be needed for 2006 season for the 18 teams registered as of March 1st, and 4 weekend tournament needs, plus 200 more for the World Series for an estimated grand total of 805. Only parts for 300 are available currently, 200 of which are promised to the World Series, 85 more have been paid for, apparently prior to the January 26th shut down of order acceptance.
Due to this, we must consider the league to be in “salvage mode” -- use working balls for defense practice only. Batting practice should be conducted with dead or bad working balls.
Janet Leonard from the Colorado Storm team asked what conclusion could be drawn about when and how many balls would be available? Stated the Pioneer update was frustratingly lacking in answers requested by the four NBBA board members at the Orlando TelecomPioneer National convention. She referred to the above letter and asked when more batteries and switches were ordered? She noted this important date was critical to meeting requests and also noted that by doing so indicated a large monetary commitment that should be applauded.
She questioned the figure of 509 ball orders received and filled last year and pointed out this was substantially lower than the estimate given by Mr. Trujillo at the fall board meeting of 1,000 new and 400 repairs. She stated her team, along with many others, was distressed about this situation and feels the league is out of time to deal with the issue. After much discussion, she was told all she can do is take the Pioneer response letter back to her team. Doc Bradley reiterated that the NBBA cannot change the situation or create a different answer. Feelings cannot be involved in this issue – it’s business. Change takes time, they are working on it. Let’s work WITH Crystal and Bill, let the past go and move forward.

Duke University has contacted Tim Hibner regarding research and development for the ball. Tim has replied and is waiting to hear more from them. Keith Mead at the Arnold Center wanted to purchase balls to create a “start-up kit” available from the Arnold Center that would include bases, balls & blindfolds.

HALL OF FAME:
Jan Traphagn, Kevin Barrett & Jerri Orr will be on the Jim Quinn committee. Two new letters have been received.

NOMINATING:
Stephen Guerra has been nominated for NBBA Secretary. No other nominations at this time. The Executive Board plus the board positions currently held by Dan Kelley, Marty Skutnik, Terri Smolka, Jeff Dell and Roy Trujillo are up for election at the 2006 World Series General Assembly. Roy has served 2 terms and is not eligible for re-election.
2006 Spring Board Meeting – PAGE 8

RULES:
Need to contact Dan Tracy for the original Home Run (fly ball over the 180 foot line) rule to determine if it is 1 or 2 runs awarded if the player can touch the base in 30 seconds.
Clarification will be made regarding the DH/DF rule. It will be discussed with the plate umpires as well as coaches/captains on the Tuesday prior to the World Series.
Competition committee: Due to the new tourney format for the World Series, no clinics will be scheduled for the 2006 season. Other possible days for the clinic will be investigated.

Kenny Bailey suggested that a new plate etiquette involving the Plate Umpire requesting a “base check” prior to each batter throughout the entire game (not just the first inning or after equipment readjustments) might be tried. He’ll submit a written proposal and will test this procedure in 2006.

PUBLIC RELATIONS:
POD cast (personal on demand) CD’s on beep baseball are available from Stephen Guerra. For more information contact: beepbaseball@gmail.com or give comments at (206) 202-2541.
Fanfest is in Pittsburgh, PA the second weekend in July. Dave Smolka and a group from Cleveland will attend.
Pioneer meeting went well. Spoke with Pioneer groups from across the US and from Canada promoting the NBBA and our teams.
Need to get our own NBBA sign with our logo on it for these types of events and to use at the World Series each year.
Requested we hang Lions and TelecomPioneer banners at our World Series events.
Motion to have beep baseball POD cast endorsed by the NBBA, 2nd, passed.

TELECOMPIONEER report:
Bill Maroney present for Kari Biesendorfer. Confirmed the commitment of the Pioneers to the NBBA. Would like to get back to the TelecomPioneers sponsoring the George Haws Sportsmanship Award. Will inquire about having a link to Crystal Adams (or someone in ball production) on our website with our link beepballs@nbba.org to address the questions, concerns and potential orders of the balls.
An all member (over 6000) publication with a beep baseball article in it will go out to all TelecomPioneers in the near future.

WEBSITE:
Working in the summer of 2006 to have “on-line” registration available, but this will require a change in the web host. The team is also working on re-engineering our site keywords to allow more hits during web searches and setting up the site so that web updates can be made more easily.
To promote the use of on-line registering, motion made to allow the 2007 TEAM REGISTRATION fee of $25 to be waived if the registration is performed on-line (this would be for the 2007 season ONLY.) 2nd, passed.

OLD BUSINESS:
Top 30 NBBA players and 5 best pitchers will be highlighted at the Cleveland event. Invitations will be sent out to the recipients of the awards and awards will be presented to those attending the 2006 World Series awards ceremony and mailed to those unable to attend. Tournament Committee is to take care of the awards. Kevin Barrett, committee chairman, is requesting nominations for the awards, along with back up information to show the nominee meets the criteria. Stephen Guerra will work on POD cast interviews with all the winners.

Discussion continued for an alternative method of hosting the NBBA’s fall board meeting. Pros and cons of teleconferencing and web conferencing were discussed. Motion to have a web conference for the fall board meeting. Motion withdrawn. Motion to investigate conference options for a fall non-physical (no traveling) board meeting and report at the World Series, 2nd, passed with 4 votes against.

NEW BUSINESS:
Motion to accept the recommendation of the Executive Committee and hire Bill Maroney from Denver, Colorado as an “on loan” (salary paid by the TelecomPioneers) paid (NBBA pays for approved travel expenses up to $10,000) Executive Director for the NBBA based on the proposal presented by Mr. Maroney and the interview conducted by the Executive Committee, 2nd, discussion. Motion passed with one vote against. Bill Maroney is now the Executive Director of the NBBA. He is to report directly to the Executive Committee and all travel expenses will be approved by the Executive Committee. His period of employment runs through September 15, 2006. A review of his performance will be conducted by that date and the decision regarding his continued employment will be made at that time.
The Executive Director, in conjunction with the NBBA Board, will address issues as follows:
2006 Spring Board Meeting – PAGE 10

1) Ball/Equipment Production
a. Current Status/Needs
i. Near-term fixes
ii. Long-term goals

2) Fund Raising
a. World Series
b. League/Team Support
c. Partnership Development
i. Identify Funding Sources
ii. Build Sustainable Support

3) Public Relations
a. Increase Awareness
i. Media Relations
ii. Pioneer Sponsoring Companies
iii. Pioneer Chapters
iv. Community Organizations
b. Recruit Teams/Players
c. Increase Value to Potential Supporters
d. Increase Interest of Volunteers
4) Event Management
a. World Series
i. Manage a Successful Event in 2006
1. Fund Raising
2. Community Support
3. Generate Media Interest
4. Event Logistics

b. Develop a Model for Future Success
i. Sponsorship Plan
ii. Player/Team participation

Mr. Maroney’s “bonus” compensation will be tied to a percentage of funds raised as the Executive Director. Would be “paid” by NBBA based on the following proposed structure:

EXAMPLE:
$75,000 raised: $5,000 compensation ($70,000 to NBBA)
$100,000 raised: $10,000 compensation ($90,000 to NBBA)
$150,000 raised: $15,000 compensation ($135,000 to NBBA)
(NOTE: no percentage compensation is given until the $75,000 goal has been reached. This “bonus” will be paid out of funds received.)

Due to an inquiry, clarification was made: because of the nature of the NBBA’s non-profit organization status, Mr. Maroney can not be both a paid employee of the Board and a member of the board himself. Thus mention of his attending as the board member in place of Kari Biesendorfer is for this meeting only.

“Power Showdown” is a game for the blind and visually impaired that is a cross between ping-pong and air hockey. Doc Bradley was approached about bringing a couple of games to the 2006 World Series for hospitality use. Motion made to leave the decision in the hands of the Executive Committee, 2nd. Motion failed. The local World Series host committee will consider the issue and let Doc know the results.

Homedics in Detroit, Michigan will be donating several prizes to the drawing. Independent Living Aids will be donating a prize as well.

The Long Island Bombers are hosting an Invitational Regional tournament the last weekend in June if the ball situation improves.

The Oklahoma League for the Blind asked it be announced they are still planning on hosting the regional tournament again in Midwest City, OK June 24-25, 2006. Contact Carol Campbell (405 232 4644) at the OKC League for the Blind for details.

Motion to reimburse traveling board members and distribute NBBA drawing tickets, 2nd, passed with one vote against.

Motion to adjourn.

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2006 Beep Baseball Equipment List

As of 11/2004, the following is a list of names & addresses for beep baseball equipment:
The NBBA Ball and Equipment Chairman is Tim Hibner.

BASES:
A full set of bases with electronic components are $465.00 plus shipping.
Make check payable to: Arnold Center, Inc.
Payment must be made at time of order placement in the form of money order, credit/debit card, personal or business check or authorized Purchase Order. Once the funds are in the Arnold Center account, orders will be shipped.

Orders are filled in the order of the date they are received.
Contact: Greg Knopp
Arnold Center, Inc.
400 Wexford Ave
Midland, Michigan 48640
989 631-9570 x28
989 631-9316 FAX
gknopp@arnoldcenter.org

***************************************************************************
For Sale: Repair parts and components for audio bases. Mostly electronics, some misc foam and covers.
All orders shipped within 10 business days of receipt of payment.
For prices and availability, contact: Kerry Kuck 303 934-9103 Mountain time
**********************************************************************

BLINDFOLDS:

Mindfold
(888) 705-3805
8043 E. 7th St.
Tucson, AZ 85710

Contact for price Cleveland Sight Center
(216) 791-8118
Crafts for Sale Dept.
1909 E. 101st St.
Cleveland, OH 44106
Contact for price

maggs51@wideopenwest.com
(Maggie Braddock)
$5 each

BALLS:
Beep baseballs are currently manufactured in Denver, Colorado by the TelecomPioneers. Roy Trujillo has retired from production. As a result, there was a gap in production at the beginning of the year. As of the NBBA spring board meeting (3/3/06), the Pioneers are in the process of filling backorders and hope to have balls available for team orders by the middle of April. The price of the ball will be increased to $35/ball due to an increase in price of the supplies used to make the balls.
No new contact information has been received for placing orders. Crystal Adams, the Qwest Vice-President, is the sole point of contact until we receive further updates. She may be reached via e-mail at
crystal.adams@qwest.com

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