Alternative Baseball aims to make America's pastime more inclusive

Alternative Baseball was started by Taylor Duncan, who grew up in Georgia. Taylor is on the autism spectrum and, due to social stigma and the perception of some coaches, he was told he could not play the sport he loved. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

There is a new organization coming to the Upstate that is meant to make baseball inclusive for all.

Alternative Baseball was started by Taylor Duncan, who grew up in Georgia. Taylor is on the autism spectrum and, due to social stigma and the perception of some coaches, he was told he could not play the sport he loved.

"I couldn't participate due to those developmental delays and those coaches perceptions. Those who thought someone on the spectrum may not be as capable as somebody else could be as playing on the same level," Taylor recalled.

Being forced to sit on the sidelines was devastating for the baseball lover, but Taylor was determined to step onto the mound.

In 2016, he started a program for those with autism or special needs. His goal was to make everyone feel included and accepted.

"With the help of my mother, teachers, mentors and the Lord up above, I have been able to start this organization for people all around the United States," he said.

Alternative Baseball is now in 10 different cities and growing rapidly. Boiling Springs will start their program in 2019.

Tim Flemming is the President of the Boiling Springs Youth Athletic Association. He said having this program in his community is near and dear to his heart because his son also has autism.

"They have always been told maybe next year or you're not good enough to play. You could pose a liability," Flemming said. "Those are some of the excuses we have heard."

"We want to get him out there and get him on a competitive team, function socially in life and everything he needs to learn about an adult," Flemming added.

Taylor says the game will not only help the player develop physically but socially, too, by building a team environment. His hope is to raise awareness that those on the spectrum are good enough to play.

Taylor would like to one day start a program in Western North Carolina.

Alternative Baseball is a 5013C nonprofit. To help the program to expand, you can donate here.


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