“Put Aside the Perception”: Alternative Baseball looks to expand to Midlands
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Taylor Duncan has loved baseball ever since he can remember. When he reached a certain age, he was told he couldn’t play the game in an organized league anymore.
Duncan was diagnosed with autism as a child, and grew up his entire life facing the stigma and perception of having a disability.
In 2016, he decided to do something to make sure that no other kid with autism would be told they couldn’t play the game.
That led to the creation of the Alternative Baseball Organization, a competitive baseball league for adults with autism and other special needs. The league plays with MLB rules — including dropped third strikes and stolen bases — but uses a larger and softer baseball for the players safety.
The league started in Powder Springs, Ga., and in the last four years has grown to over 14 states, with over 30 teams formed.
Duncan says this league helps provide a sense of community and independence for autistic adults, many of whom he says “graduate out of” the special needs programs in their communities once they graduate high school.
Now, Alternative Baseball is looking to establish a team in Columbia. To expand to another new city, the league needs coaches, umpires, equipment donations, and players ready to take the diamond.
Anyone interested in getting involved in bringing ABO to the Midlands can learn more at the organization’s website.