Special needs baseball league seeks players, volunteers

Antionette Lee
May 19, 2019 - 1:43 pm
Alternative Baseball Organization

Alternative Baseball Organization

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A baseball team that started in rural Georgia is breaking barriers across the country. 

The league, coming to Philly this fall, will give people with special needs and autism a shot on the diamond.

Taylor Duncan, 22, started the team in 2016. Duncan, who was diagnosed with autism at age 4, was cut from his Georgia high school baseball team due to his disorder. 

But he took his passion for the sport and founded the Alternative Baseball Organization for autistic and special needs teens and adults. 

"As long as they feel like it's a good program for them and a good outlet, then we totally welcome them as long as they're 15 and over," Duncan said. "We don't have a maximum age." 

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The sport offers players physical and social benefits, he added, to help them reach their full potential in and outside of the game. 

"The sport of baseball teaches them both dealing with winning and dealing with losing. And it tackles the social skills issues that one with autism, on average, might face."  

After high school, Duncan said there aren't many opportunities and activities for people with autism, especially in rural areas. He hopes to fill that gap by offering a true baseball experience, where games are played using MLB rules.
 
"There's almost nothing out there for them, and I want to provide that opportunity." 

Duncan hopes that once the Philly team is established, they will also be able to create additional teams throughout Pennsylvania, so that players get the opportunity to travel for games. 

At the end of each season, the Atlanta league rewards players with good attendance to an All-Star game, where they get to test out their skills alongside real professionals: the Atlanta Braves. 

He's hoping for a similar partnership in Philadelphia with the Phillies.

Those interested in playing, volunteering or umpiring can find more information on the Alternative Baseball Organization's website