Just Getting Started

Most of us had never heard of “Alternative Baseball” until midsummer 2021. A couple of years earlier, though, Coaches Kevin Stevenson and Mike Vining, veterans of the Maine sports world and lifelong friends, had gotten in touch with Alternative Baseball Organization Founder Taylor Duncan (https://www.alternativebaseball.org/commissioner) to begin putting together the structure needed to form a team here in Bangor, Maine.

After taking the necessary steps to apply for membership with ABO, get the required background checks, and complete everything else to lay the groundwork, Kevin and Mike set about the task of advertising the new league on local television networks. In turn, other local broadcasters shared the stories on their social media pages, and families in the community heard about a wonderful opportunity for their loved ones with autism and other disabilities to finally have their shot at playing organized baseball, and they were going to play at Bangor’s vaunted Mansfield Stadium, no less.

My younger son, thirteen years old and a strapping 5’8″ 195-pounder, got to play at Mansfield last spring as part of the Holbrook-Orrington Junior (Little) League team, while his fifteen-year-old brother watched with a little bit of envy. The older boy had played some Little League a few years earlier, but his disability had prevented him from moving up with his age group. Much as he loved and followed the game, it seemed that his playing days were done.

The day I read about Alternative Baseball coming to Bangor, I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement. I didn’t even wait to get home before signing up our older son for it! I registered him for the team, and then I told him about it. “Guess who gets to play at Mansfield Stadium this fall?” Talk about walking on Cloud 9! We’re two months into practices and that boy still hasn’t come down.

We were all a little tentative at the first practice. Controlled chaos seemed to begin the afternoon as we completed forms, introductions, and family-player-coach meetings. Then Coaches Kevin and Mike got the practice going for real, and the rest of us watched in amazement as our loved ones got to do what they’d been longing for. Baseball was upon them–and us–and we couldn’t have been happier.

The numbers of people working behind the scenes to make Bangor Alternative Baseball successful is mind-boggling, and to try to thank them by name would result in missing many. Therefore, we’ll just say, “Thank you so very, very much” to all that are making our players’ dreams come true! You know who you are.

And we’re just getting started! We want Maine to catch on to this great opportunity to give teens and adults ages 15 & up that have autism and other disabilities the chance to play organized baseball as part of ABO. Contact Coach Kevin by email: bangoralternativebaseball@gmail.com. Visit our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/BangorAlternativeBaseball. Let’s have fun! Just get it started!

Published by Bangor Alternative Baseball (BAB)

We are a coed team of teens and adults, ages 15+ with autism and other disabilities, that play baseball and learn life and social skills for on and off the baseball diamond. We are part of a national nonprofit organization featuring more than 80 teams across America.

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