By Jim Lane
If Barrett Barnes had his way, that sign would hang from his door regularly. The Altoona Curve outfielder loves fishing almost as much as he loves baseball.
“If we have an off day, and it’s not raining, you can bet 100 percent, I’ll be fishing,” Barnes said following a spring training workout at Pirate City last month. “I want to be on the water as much as possible. I love to fish.
“I could just fish the days away.”
A native of Houston, Texas, Barnes was a standout at Texas Tech before the Pirates selected him in the supplemental round of the 2012 draft.
“I had a great time at Texas Tech,” said Barnes, a marine biology major who turned down offers from TCU, Vanderbilt and Kansas State. “They gave me an opportunity to play as a freshman and I really developed as a player and as a young man, too. It was an experience I was very grateful and thankful for.
“I wound up being a freshman All-American and freshman player of the year, and things just kept going from there,” he said.
Barnes hit .325 with 17 doubles, six triples and nine homers (49 RBIs) in 55 games as a junior at Tech, and then was drafted.
Although Barnes continues to climb up the professional ladder, he’s been hampered by injuries along the way.
“I’ve had a couple of hamstrings, a couple of stress fractures and oblique injuries,” he noted. “I’ve also had a wrist injury and a hernia. I guess that sums up my last four years.”
Stops in short-season State College and low-A West Virginia in 2012 and 2013 each produced five homers and 24 RBIs but he played in only 17 games in 2014, shuttling between West Virginia, the GCL Pirates and Bradenton.
“Last year was the first season I was able to complete,” said Barnes, who divided time between Bradenton and Altoona in 2015.
Barnes batted .261 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 58 games with Bradenton. After his promotion to Altoona, he hit .246 with three homers and 17 RBIs with the Curve.
“I was grateful to have a healthy year because I had a tough road early on in my career,” he said. “I’m a man of faith and I believe everything happens for a reason. I’m here (Altoona) now and enjoying the opportunity.
“I was here about a month and a half last year and it was a great experience to play Double-A at a fairly young age,” he continued. “We had a great group of guys and it was a great atmosphere with a great stadium and fantastic coaching staff.’
Larry Broadway, the organization’s director of player development, is happy with Barnes’ progress.
“He got to Double-A last year and we look for him to have another good year,” Broadway said.
“He put in a lot of good work in the offseason,” Broadway noted. “We like his approach and he’s in a good spot because he has some power. That’s one of his strengths.”
Barnes’ uncle, Anthony Young, was a pitcher for the Astros, Mets, Indians, and Cubs and has provided his nephew with a lot of things to expect on the pro level.
“I was always around baseball as a youngster,” Barnes said. “I talk to (Young) every week and he’s been through the whole nine yards – the big leagues, minor leagues and college ball. Everything I run into, he’s already seen.
“And, he played with Clint Hurdle, so I’ve known Clint for a while,” Barnes added.
In the meantime, Barnes will continue to follow his other passion – fishing.
“Fishing, like baseball, is a challenge you never really master,” he said. “You’re always learning.”