Taylor Duncan wants to expand access to baseball in the ArkLaTex.
"It's not just a baseball team, it's not just a baseball game, it's not just a baseball program, this is a baseball experience where we accept everyone for who they are, encourage them to be the best that they can be and instill confidence needed to fulfill dreams in life on and off the baseball diamond as well."
Alternative Baseball is an experience catered to those that are autistic or have a disability. Duncan's passion come from his own childhood challenges.
"I grew up on the autism spectrum. I was diagnosed at the age of 4 and I had a lot of speech issues, sensory issues and anxiety issues, but my mother helped me through a lot of those obstacles. As I grew older I faced a lot of social stigma and perceptions from coaches and other peers of what one with autism can and cannot accomplish and unfortunately that often precluded me from having the same opportunities to play tradition baseball as everyone else."
As commissioner of the organization, Duncan, a Dallas, Georgia native, has led expansion efforts to cities like Nashville, Atlanta and Charlotte to get individuals involved in the national pastime.
"Once they start getting our there and start coming back every single week, baseball, America's Pastime, it becomes their life. They're asking their parents when is baseball coming back? When is practice? When's the next game? They want to be a part of this experience. That's why I never call it a league, that's why I never call it a program. I call it an experience because it does so much for so many people."
The league is for teens and adults ages 15 and older and Duncan says the benefits are wide-ranging.
"The social skills and the physical skills we learn through on-the-go experiences with learning how to deal with failure, how to deal with success properly, how to commuicate with others to make what may seem like the most simplest of plays when you go see a Rangers or an Astros game. You may not think of that very much, but for us it's a big deal."
With eyes on bringning a league to the ArkLaTex, Duncan says he needs some help.
"Whether you're from Texarkana or Shreveport or just over the border in Texas, we'd love to start a program in your community. We have to have the coach-managers in order to get them started in Spring 2021. We can't do anything else without the local coach-managers. Whether as an assistant coach, as a team mom, maybe somebody that can help out with concessions. Even umpires for games. And I promise you blues out there, guess what? We do our best to keep the balls and strike arguing to a relatively low minimum there."
Whether you're a player or potential volunteer, Duncan has a message.
"Look out COVID-19, here comes Alternative Baseball's movement to power through perceptions! And guess what Texarkana, Shreveport, right over the border in Texas? We're looking at coming to you next. We need that coach-manager to get started. So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!"
If you're interested in being a coach or volunteer, click here.