Alternative Baseball Organization coming to Naples
NAPLES , Fla. – The Alternative Baseball Organization is making its way to Southwest Florida this August.
Through baseball, the organization teaches those with autism and other special needs life skills on and off the diamond thanks to founder and commissioner Taylor Duncan.
From the time he was a boy Duncan loved baseball and everything that came with it.
“Really for me I grew up watching the game, I grew up watching the Braves on TBS,” Duncan said.
He is a walking encyclopedia of the sport and has memories of watching hall of famers like Randy Johnson, Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine and more.
But Duncan and many like him didn’t get the opportunity to mimic his heroes on the diamond due to autism or other special needs. So in 2016, he came up with a solution, the Alternative Baseball Organization for adults 15 and older with autism or special needs.
“It’s an environment where all are accepted for who they are, encouraged to be the best they can be and instill confidence needed to fulfill dreams in life on and off the the baseball diamond,” Duncan said.
Since 2016 the organization has blown up from six players on one team to over 70 teams in 33 states and growing.
“Guess what Naples we are here! That is right we are here and we are ready to serve the community,” Duncan said.
The organization making its first move to Southwest Florida uses the same rules as Major League Baseball with very minimal changes.
There is still the usual four balls for a walk and three strikes for an out, nine innings, steals, wood bats and much more. The main changes are unlike other leagues the players do not have buddies out in the field and the ball is slightly larger and softer than a usual MLB ball.
But baseball is just the avenue for the organization as its main purpose is to help the players gain social and physical skills for success in life.
“Everyone has specific needs that need to be targeted to and that is why it is important to have more programming like ours in areas across the US so that there will be enough options available for those like myself moving forward,” Duncan said.
Knocking social perceptions of what can and can’t be done out of the park.
“It is all about going to this experience to where you are going to be encouraged to be the best that you can possibly be and accepted for who you are,” Duncan said. “That is the type of atmosphere that really makes a difference when you are participating in something.”
If you would like to volunteer, coach, play or even help name the new Naples team you can get more details on the alternative baseball website, https://www.alternativebaseball.org/.
The organization is also looking to expand to the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area so that the Naples team will not have to travel to Tampa for each of its games.
“What are you waiting for? There’s nothing to lose but everything to gain trust me,” Duncan said.
The Naples team is expected to get underway in August and Duncan plans to continue expanding the organization across the country.
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