A game for everyone: Rochester Alternative Baseball provides team for people with special needs

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – “I’ve played baseball my entire life. I found out in my early 40s that I was autistic,” said head coach Brian O’Keefe.

Brian O’Keefe and a handful of other local athletes with special needs were looking for a way to play baseball into their adult lives. So, he revamped the Rochester Alternative Baseball team, making a way for people to play, including his son Cade.

“I like being outside a lot. I spend a good amount of my time outside, so there’s always that. It’s just fun and that’s probably the most important part,” said Cade O’Keefe.

Anyone with a disability, age 15 and older are welcome to play. Family members are also encouraged to take the field with their loved ones. It’s all about using a sport to create a positive environment.

“They’re meeting friends that they haven’t had before. A lot of them step outside their comfort zone,” said Brian O’Keefe.

“They’re very nice. I just like my coach and I just like everybody here, so it’s just great,” said Tim Polle, who plays for the team.

Instead of stopping at first, O’Keefe wants to swing for the fences. His goal is to have enough players for a full team – or two. And his reason is simple…

“A lot of players are doing things that they never thought they could do. They watch it on TV but they never thought that they’d get out there and play that same real baseball,” said Brian O’Keefe.

It’s all about making sure that baseball is for everybody. Mat Mlodzinski, News Ten NBC Sports.