On the biggest stage of his professional baseball career, Buddy Reed called the shot.
“There’s a mistake going to be made right here,” the onetime Finksburg resident said to manager Torii Hunter in the dugout during the bottom of the seventh inning of the 2018 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
And just like that, New York Mets’ prospect Peter Alonso crushed a 415-foot homer to left field off of the Philadelphia Phillies’ top pitching prospect, Adonis Medina, to give Team USA a 9-6 lead.
Reed was elated — he embraced Alonso with a hug after he trotted around the bases.
The two were no strangers. Alonso was Reed’s first roommate at the University of Florida and both have since come a long way.
Surrounded by friends and family at Nationals Park, just over an hour from where Reed grew up playing baseball for the Carroll Outlaws, the 23-year-old-old switch-hitting center fielder went 1-for-2 with a single and seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
“I played with a lot of passion, with a lot of fun,” Reed said. “And it’s a game. Not many people say they get to play the game for a living, so why not just have fun with it?”
This isn’t the first time those who know Reed have seen this kind of persona. His father and many others noticed a trend when they watch video of Reed mic’d up during the game.
“Everyone who watches the videos called me or texted me saying, ‘Buddy is the same kid that I remember,’” Michael Reed said. “He was always laughing [and] always having fun.”
Reed, a Bronx, N.Y. native, moved to Finksburg in 2005. His mother saw a notice for tryouts in the Carroll County Times and Reed would later play two seasons with the Outlaws.
Hockey was Reed’s primary sport growing up. He attended Gerstell Academy and Loyola Blakefield before transferring to St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island. Baseball eventually took over as he progressed through high school.
“Baseball wasn’t the first sport I was big and into,” Reed said. “Seeing from where I was, where I’ve come since getting here now, it’s been a fun ride. I’d say I’ve had a lot of obstacles, a lot of ups and downs. From a baseball standpoint, it’s life, it’s learning and it’s been pretty cool to filter all of that, make new friends, switch schools, travel a lot. It’s just been a really fun experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
The sport has taken Reed on quite the journey.
He earned a scholarship at the University of Florida and played three seasons with the Gators, making College World Series appearances in 2015 and 2016.
Following a standout career in Gainesville, Reed was selected 48th overall in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He’s since progressed through the minor leagues in his third season.
Reed started the 2018 season at the Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and hit .324 at the plate, totaling 12 home runs, 47 RBIs and 33 stolen bases through 79 games. He earned California League All-Star honors and was promoted to play for Double-A San Antonio on July 9.
While success hasn’t come as early and often as it did in California, Reed accepts the grind associated with moving up through the minor league ranks.
“It’s been different,” Reed said regarding his transition to Double-A ball. “I’ve had to make some adjustments. At the same time, I’m not really looking for that instant gratification. Sometimes you’re going to have to struggle, sometimes you’re going to have to deal with a new level and right now that’s what has happened. But at the same time, I’m confident in myself and in my ability.”
“We chose the game where you’re going to fail more than you succeed … which is why your mental toughness has to be top notch to make it to the highest level,” Reed added.
Like all prospects, Reed aspires to eventually become a regular in the majors and given the Padres’ recent rebuilding efforts, he could potentially have an opportunity in the coming years he doesn’t plan to waste.
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“My goal is to stay there and play for 10-15 years until someone says I’m not good enough or I’m too old to play,” Reed said. “I just want to be a leader on and off the field and I just want to have fun. The numbers will take care of themselves.”