STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - For several years now the Home Run Baseball Team, a favorite at Gypsy Hill Park’s Celebration of Holiday Lights, has been missing.
It’s been almost 10 years since the team was retired after 252 nights of playing ball. Now, the people who made it happen, want to bring them back, but they need help.
Every year, Mark and Lynette Miller get calls asking them to bring back the Home Run Team. This year, they finally have the time, but now they need the money so they’ve launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign.
“Some people hunt and fish, I like putting lights together,” said Mark Miller.
The retired cabinetmaker, his wife, and their electrical engineer nephew created the Home Run Team.
“In 2005, he just had an idea,” said Miller’s wife Lynette.
The batter hits the ball right over center field and then runs the bases all the way home. “It only runs for about 30 seconds, but it’s programmed to continue running,” said Miller. “He runs about 600 home runs every night.”
After a year of planning, Miller spent months building the team. It took 30 figures, more than 600 feet of steel rod bent and welded; 200 lights attached to each figure and a mile of extension cord. “In the daylight when you look at the field, it’s just covered with wire,” said Miller.
In 2011, after seven years, the players were in rough shape and the Millers retired the team. “The display was just getting worn out. It wasn’t working well,” stated Miller.
But now, it’s time for a comeback. “If they’re still useable we’ll sand all the rust off, repaint them,” said Miller. “If they’re not useable then we’ll have to make new ones.”
This time they are attaching LED lights which use less power and should hold up longer.
“If we reach our goal, we’ll do it. You know, it’ll take a lot of work, but we’ll get it done,” said Lynette Miller.
The Millers are 1/3 of the way to their $12,500 Kickstarter goal. They need to raise the full amount by February 23 in order to make it happen.