The Fort Wayne Mad Ants are partnering with the BairFind Foundation this season, helping to bring the charity into professional basketball.
Founded by former Minor League Baseball pitcher Dennis Bair, the BairFind Foundation works to help locate missing children. Its efforts have expanded greatly within baseball, as its A-frame signs were displayed at 139 ballparks across Minor League Baseball last year. As was detailed in a feature on our sister site, Ballpark Digest, Bair’s goal is to expand the BairFind Foundation into other sports.
This where the Mad Ants are crucial. As announced in November, the Mad Ants are the first professional basketball team to partner with the BairFind Foundation. Mad Ants president Tim Bawmann was already familiar with the BairFind Foundation, as he previously worked with the organization during his time in baseball. Now, he says his goal is to help BairFind expand within professional basketball. More from the News-Sentinel:
Bawmann, who at one time was president and general manager of the Lowell, Mass., Spinners, a minor-league baseball farm team of the Boston Red Sox, put signs up with the missing children’s photos, resulting in four children being found in one season. “I saw it work,” Bawmann said.
When Bawmann switched to basketball, he wanted to bring the concept here. “I’m trying to get him (Bair) into basketball,” Bawmann said. “I think every team should display signs.”
Bawmann said he places the two 6-foot tall signs of photos, which are portable, at the entrance and exit every game. “It’s a program that is near and dear to my heart,” he said.
Bawmann said he’s working to get teams in the NBA Development League and NBA to get pictures of the missing children in other arenas.
“I’ll just continue to push it,” Bawmann said. “Step by step we’ll get there.”
As Bair told Ballpark Digest in September, the foundation is “looking for corporate sponsors to help us grow our program. Our goal is to be in every stadium in every sport which I think is definitely achievable.” With the Mad Ants help, the foundation could see more basketball teams assist in its cause.