Keep baseball America’s national pastime op-ed, Barnstormers

Baseball is a great game that has shaped our country’s history and culture. Here, in this composite image, the Lancaster Barnstormers play at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

The Atlantic League added a team and the Lancaster Barnstormers added three players as preparations for the local pro baseball season amped up last week.

The Lexington Legends, formerly of the Class A South Atlantic League, have joined the independent AL as a seventh member. It will play in the AL this season.

The Legends were an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, but were phased out of the affiliated minors as part of the industry’s general downsizing. The club won South Atlantic League titles in 2018 and ‘19.

It will play in Whitaker Bank Ballpark, in downtown Lexington, which seats 6,994.

In making the announcement that Lexington was joining the league Thursday, AL President Rick White added that the league, “will soon announce additional news regarding the 2021 Championship Season.’’

The first three 2021 Barnstormers, whose signings were announced last week by manager Ross Peeples, are pitcher Brandon Lawson and outfielders Devon Torrence and LeDarious Clark.

Lawson is a 26 year-old righthander who was on the Barnstormers roster in spring training of 2019 before being signed by the San Francisco Giants organization. He spent that season in Class AA Richmond, and had been in AAA, with Durham in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, in 2017.

Torrence and Clark were both with the Barnstormers for the 2020 season before the pandemic canceled the season. Torrence, who played football at Ohio State, stole 26 bases in 97 games for Lancaster in 2019. He’s 31.

Clark, 27, spent five years in the Texas Rangers’ system before signing with Lancaster in 2020.

Two players who had signed with the Barnstormers before the pandemic, right-handed pitcher Shawn Morimando and infielder Luis Marte, have signed 2021 minor-league deals with the Miami Marlins, the Barnstormers announced. The tentative start date for the Atlantic League season is May 28.

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