This 26-Year-Old Baseball Player With Autism Is An Inspiration On The Field | Sunday TODAY


>>>JUST THREE YEARS AFTER WINNING THE WORLD SERIES, THE LAST PLACE KANSAS CITY ROYALS ARE HAVING A SEASON THEY’D JUST AS SOON FORGET. BUT THERE’S A BIG BRIGHT SPOT IN THEIR MINOR LEAGUE SYSTEM WITH A PLAYER WHO’S MAKING HISTORY JUST BY PUTTING ON THE UNIFORM. NBC’S KEVIN TIBBLES HAS OUR SUNDAY CLOSER.>>Reporter: NO MATTER WHERE HE WINDS UP, THIS KID’S ALREADY IN A BIG LEAGUE OF HIS OWN.>>I ALWAYS THINK THAT MY BIGGEST OPPONENT IS MYSELF. AS LONG AS I CAN OVERCOME THAT, I CAN DO ANYTHING I SET MY MIND TO. >>Reporter: 26-YEAR-OLD TARICK IS A TRAIL BLAZER WITH THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS ORGANIZATION. HE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM AT THE AGE OF 3, BUT IT’S NEVER STOPPED HIM.>>PEOPLE SHOULD BE LOOKED AT FOR WHAT THEY ARE, NOT WHAT THEY HAD TO OVERCOME IN SPITE OF. >>OR HOW OTHER PEOPLE MAY PERCEIVE THEM. >>EXACTLY. >>Reporter: HE SIGNED A MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACT IN APRIL WITH THE MAJOR LEAGUE ROYALS. BELIEVED TO BE THE FIRST PLAYER WITH AUTISM EVER TO DO SO. >>OVERCOMING THE OPPONENTS WILL BE A LOT EASIER WHEN YOU CAN OVERCOME YOURSELF. >>Reporter: HIS DEVELOPMENTAL CHALLENGES KEPT HIM FROM SPEAKING UNTIL HE WAS 6, BUT WHEN HE PICKED UP A BAT AT 10, EVERYTHING CHANGED. >>WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE GAME THAT YOU LOVE THE MOST?>>THE FACT THAT NO MATTER HOW GOOD OR BAD THINGS ARE, I ALWAYS WANT TO COME BACK EQUALLY AS MUCH EVERY DAY. >>YOU’RE NOT A QUITTER?>>I LIKE TO THINK I’M NOT. >>Reporter: HIS MOM SAYS EVERYONE COULD LEARN A THING OR TWO FROM THE DEDICATION AND GRIT HER SON BRINGS DAY IN, DAY OUT. >>YOU MUST BE INCREDIBLY PROUD.>>I AM VERY HAPPY, LIKE HE IS. I THINK, WOW, HE’S HERE. IT JUST MAKES ME CRY EVERY TIME BECAUSE WE WOULD TALK ABOUT IT AND PEOPLE WOULD LOOK AT US LIKE, YEAH, BUT EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE THERE. >>Reporter: ONE OF THE REASONS HE’S HERE IS FORMER ROYALS PLAYER REGGIE SANDERS. A SLUGGER IN HIS OWN RIGHT WITH MORE THAN 300 HOME RUNS IN A 16-YEAR CAREER. REGGIE FOUNDED AN ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO EMPOWERING PEOPLE WITH AUTISM.>>I’LL JUST ASK YOU STRAIGHT, IS THIS A CHARITY CASE?>>NO, NOT AT ALL. HE IS ONE OF THOSE GUYS THAT WE HAVE SCOUTED AND SAW HIS ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO GO OUT AND PLAY THE GAME OF BASEBALL. >>DOES THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE AUTISM MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOU?>>I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE NOT TO HAVE IT, SO I WOULDN’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. IT’S KIND OF ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT IT CAN’T HURT YOU IF YOU DON’T KNOW, RIGHT?>>HE REALLY EXEMPLIFIES A YOUNG MAN THAT HAS AN INTERNAL STRENGTH THAT WE WILL NEVER, EVER UNDERSTAND. BUT WE WANT TO BE A PART OF IT. >>Reporter: HE’S GOT A WAYS TO GO TO MAKE THE BIG TEAM, BUT FOR HIM, AMERICA’S PASTIME IS ALSO HIS AMERICAN DREAM. >>WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A YOUNG BOY OR GIRL WHO WANTED TO BE BASEBALL BUT MAYBE WERE BEING HELD BACK BECAUSE THEY WERE AUTISTIC?>>IT’S NOT GOING TO HOLD YOU BACK, DON’T LISTEN TO PEOPLE. IT’S NOT GOING TO HOLD YOU BACK.>>BECAUSE?>>BECAUSE REALLY THE ONLY THING THAT’S GOING TO MATTER IS WHAT YOUR ABILITY IS AND WHAT KIND OF PERSON YOU ARE. >>Reporter: FOR “SUNDAY TODAY,” KEVIN TIBBLES, SURPRISE,

15 thoughts on “This 26-Year-Old Baseball Player With Autism Is An Inspiration On The Field | Sunday TODAY

  1. This means the world to me. My 8 year old is autistic and plays ball. He lacks traditional social skills and he gets agitated at things that might not seem like a big deal to you or I and isn’t very vocal, but he loves playing and he can’t wait to move on from coach pitch to kid pitch in the fall. It upsets me when people that that having autism disqualifies someone from succeeding.

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