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Future uncertain for local business, youth hangout

May 10, 2011

Tim Reid, owner of Broncos Bullpen battng cages in Bishop, stands in front of his wall of fame, photos from his athletic career at Bishop and with the Chicago Cubs. Photo Deb Murphy

Tim Reid’s life has been a series of ups and downs. Today, he’s in a pretty good place with his Bishop Broncos baseball team undefeated in league play and almost assured a spot in the CIF playoffs.
But, the Broncos Bullpen batting cages, a business he started last July, is in danger of closing. What he didn’t figure on was the interminable slow period during the winter. Now he’s in a hole and needs help.
“I’ve had a lot of support from the beginning,” he said. “It’s a good, safe place for kids to hang out. Everybody who comes here loves it. I just haven’t been honest. When people ask, I tell them I’m doing okay. But, I’m not.”
Reid used nearly $65,000 from his retirement account to buy the equipment and start up the business. Now that that’s gone, his options are running out.
“I need someone to step up, maybe with a personal loan, investors,” Reid said. “I know the economy is tough. People don’t have a lot of money for recreation. Maybe somebody could step up and buy memberships for kids in the community who can’t afford it.
“I’ve seen this place make a difference in kids’ lives. They tell me what a great time they have here; how they can come here and not go to the river and drink all through the summer.”
Reid stresses that his goal is not to make a ton of money. “I don’t want to get rich off this. I just need to get out of this hole and let the business have a chance to grow. If I made a little over $100 a day here, I’d be fine.”
When Reid talks about the efforts made to grow the business, he said he has written letters to the county, the City of Bishop seeking opportunities to generate more business. Then he talks about disadvantaged kids who bat for free and guys from drug recovery programs who go to the cages because it is a place with no temptations.
“Alcohol, drugs, tobacco aren’t allowed here,” he said, “not even close.”
Reid has good reason for the policy, as he is an 18-year sober recovering alcoholic.
Reid has been involved in coaching baseball for more than 28 years, the past two as head coach of the Broncos, the nine prior years as assistant coach. In that spot, he’s a great example, both good and bad, for his ball players.
Born and raised in Rovana, Reid was a three-sport athlete at Bishop High. He went to Taft Junior College for the baseball program.
“I didn’t know what I had,” he said. “I’d always thrown hard, but nobody ever saw the Broncos play back then.” What he had was a 92 mph fast ball.
His sophomore year at Taft, Reid had scholarship offers from all over the country; he also had major league scouts looking at him.
He signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1982. He was 19.
“I worked myself up from a project to a prospect,” he said. “The Cubs were high on me. I moved up pretty fast but was still pretty raw. Professional ball is a whole different level.”
Reid’s roommate his last year with the Cubs’ farm team was Greg Maddox, a future hall of famer and the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award four consecutive years (1992-1995). One of Reid’s biggest regrets is the amount of time he spent partying with Maddox and not just talking to him, picking his brain.
Another frustration, his ballplayers don’t know who Maddox is. “I tell them to google him,” he laughed. “They come back pretty impressed.”
Reid’s problems with alcohol and drugs were escalating during his period with the Cubs. The organization offered to pay for his rehab, six times. He told them he wasn’t ready, he didn’t need rehab.
In 1985, he got the letter telling him not to show up for spring training. He was devastated but it took until 1995 when he hit rock bottom and went into rehab.
“I like the way my life has turned out,” he said. “They say adversity builds character and I believe that. I love where I’m at, love coaching, love the kids, love baseball, love being in recovery.”
Reid credits the community for helping him through his recovery in the early 1990s.
Now, he’s looking for support for his business, one he’s pretty sure could keep local kids from making some of the same mistakes he made.

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