Tarik El-Abour, 25, has been playing baseball since he was 10 Years old. When he recently got the call from his mom, Nadia, that the Royals were going to sign him to a Minor League deal, he couldn’t believe it.
By Robin Southworth
Royals special advisor Reggie Sanders, a former Royal himself, brought Tarik to the their attention. Sanders has been tracking Tarik’s progression since his high school days. After El-Abour graduated from San Marino High School, he went on to play baseball for PCC’s Lancers in 2011 and as a part-time starter in 2013. In 2016, Tarik became the Empire League’s Rookie of the Year.
Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said in a statement:
We are built well for him, we have outstanding coaches, a caring environment and an opportunity to get at-bats in extended spring. Tarik has displayed a work ethic and passion for this game, and he’s been successful. We are about providing opportunity and we embrace diversity and inclusion, so this is a good fit for both Tarik and the Royals.
Tarik was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old. The signing announcement coincided with Autism Awareness Night. Tarik’s mother, Nadia Khalil, wrote on her Facebook page reflecting on the news:
How surreal! When no is not an option, yes is the only option left…passion is amazing!
This is a big moment for Tarik and the Royals and equally importantly for everyone with autism.
We have signed outfielder Tarik El-Abour to a minor league contract. El-Abour has handled the challenges presented by autism now earning the opportunity to become a professional baseball player. His signing announcement coincides with tonight’s Autism Awareness Night. pic.twitter.com/qzb7ACmXqm
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) April 13, 2018
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