Having a ball as a Barnstormer booster
In the Spotlight BY SUZANNE CASSIDY, Staff Writer
As a youngster, Jim Reed went to a few games played by the Lancaster Red Roses, a minor league baseball team that used to play at Stumpf Field in Manheim Township.
"I remembered enough of that to miss baseball in Lancaster," Reed said.
So when the Lancaster Barnstormers fielded its first team in 2005, Reed was at the newly built Clipper Magazine Stadium for the very first season opener.
He's been at every subsequent season opener, and now is president of the Lancaster Barnstormers Baseball Booster Club.
The club seeks to support the Barnstormer players, many of whom are playing for the love of baseball, Reed said, and hoping, perhaps, to catch the attention of major league scouts.
The club, which has about 50 members, has a "booster buddy" program, a sort of "secret Santa" program to treat the players.
It provides the players with two postgame meals a month, and supplies the team's clubhouse with snacks. For its "Christmas in July" meal, club member Deb Greenwood makes seven or eight turkeys, with all the trimmings.
The club will sponsor two bus trips this season: to the Atlantic League All-Star Game in Waldorf, Md., in July, and an Aberdeen IronBirds game, also in Maryland, in August. (Visit barnstormersboosters.org.)
It also lends its support to community projects, including the Humane League of Lancaster County's Tailwagger's Trot; the Orioles Advocates' Cardboard to Leather program, which sends baseball equipment to underprivileged kids in developing countries; and You & Me on a Comeback, a nonprofit organization, founded by former Barnstormers player and leukemia survivor Jed Morris, which aims to assist cancer survivors in their rehabilitation.
Many of the booster club members travel to the team's road games. Reed and his wife, Linda, have been to nearly every Atlantic League park.
Last year, they traveled to Sugar Land, Texas, to watch the Barnstormers play four games against the Skeeters over Memorial Day weekend.
They made a three-week trip of it, traveling 3,900 miles in all, visiting various sites of Americana: Andy Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, N.C.; President Bill Clinton's childhood home in Hope, Ark.; and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville. They saw the Houston Astros play the Chicago Cubs in Houston, and they toured Turner Field, the Atlanta Braves' ballpark.
An Air Force veteran, Reed also visited the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
Reed was a firefighter in the Air Force. After he was out of the military, he volunteered with Manheim's Hope Fire Engine & Host Company No. 1, serving as chief for three years. He recently marked 40 years as a member of that fire company.
From his regular seat in Clipper Magazine Stadium's Section 19, along the third baseline, Reed's distinctive booming voice can be heard at some 35 games each season, rooting on the home team.
Education: Warwick High School Class of 1966.
Family: Wife, Linda; daughter, Mindy, secretary of the Barnstormers Booster Club.
Occupation: Retired service adviser at Lancaster Dodge Inc.
When I played Little League baseball, I played the position of: Third baseman and catcher.
Aside from the Barnstormers, my favorite team is: The Philadelphia Phillies.
My favorite all-time baseball player: Richie Ashburn: I remember him when I was a kid, and I enjoyed him when he was an announcer, too.
What the Barnstormers have brought to Lancaster: Great family entertainment.
My favorite ballpark food: Hot dog. Hot dogs and baseball go together.
What I love about going to Barnstormers games: Being with friends and watching the game.
My favorite moment at a Barnstormers game: The very first opening night ... [and any] victory.
The players I've really gotten to know: [Former catcher turned hitting coach] Lance Burkhart; [left-handed pitcher] Ross Peeples; and [former catcher] Jed Morris.
My fellow Boosters are: Great, dedicated fans.
What it takes to be a Barnstormers Booster: Love of the game and the team.
Why we're Boosters: We all feel the need to make the players feel at home, even though they are many miles from theirs.
My favorite baseball movie: "Field of Dreams."
What I think about the designated hitter rule: I would rather not have it.
What sets baseball apart from other sports: The game must be played until the final OUT is made. You can't "stall'' and wait for the clock to run out.
What I do for relaxation, aside from going to Barnstormers games: We have a power boat on the Chesapeake Bay and I do woodworking.
What I've gotten out of the Boosters experience: Made many new friends, met baseball people of all levels.
What I yell at Barnstormers games: I yell the batter's first name, and try to get everyone else to yell his last name.
A surefire cheer that gets the fans going: "Everybody hits!"
How the players have responded to the Boosters: They've been very receptive. They appreciate the two home-cooked meals each month and the snacks supplied for the clubhouse.
What I think of fair-weather fans: We need fans of all kinds.
Prediction for this season: A championship. The team looks good so far.