BUFFALO/NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) — An organization that gives all adults a chance to play baseball is looking to expand its league into WNY.
Taylor Duncan, 24, started Alternative Baseball near his home in Atlanta. That league is now growing rapidly across the country.
“Growing up I dealt with a lot of speech issues, sensory issues and anxiety issues,” Duncan said.
Duncan has autism, and growing up many of his peers decided he didn’t belong on the same playing field as them.
“I was encouraged to quit instead of encouraged to stay in there like everybody else.”
He realized if he wanted to play the sport he loved, he’d have to created a league of his own. So in 2016, he started Alternative Baseball.
According to Duncan, after high school, there are very few social programs for adults with disabilities. So, his league is for anyone older than 15. The organization not only helps players gain athletic skills, but it helps them create relationship and communication skills that will carry them past the diamond.
“Catching a pop-fly… ‘I got it, I got it, I got it,’… you have to communicate that to your team members.”
To come up with an original team, he recruited from Craigslist and different Facebook groups. There were seven players who joined the league in 2016.
Today, there are teams in 14 states across the country.
And he hopes to expand into the Buffalo/Niagara region within the next year, giving people in WNY a chance to be included and supported. And also giving them the chance to finally show what they’re made of.
“We all just want a fair chance in society,” Duncan said. “We all want the equal opportunity to contribute and feel like we are being productive members of society… we want to be supported. But we can’t do that if people have preconceived perceptions of what we’re capable of and don’t give us the opportunity to show people what we can do.”
Duncan is looking for a coach/manager who can get the program off the ground here in WNY. It’s a volunteer position. He also needs other volunteer coaches, and of course he needs players. For more information on how to get involved, click here.