Former IronBird Finds New Passion in Beer


Welcome back IronBirds fans!  We hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend as we push closer and closer to the IronBirds season.

Many of our fans probably remember the name Chris Ray.   Ray pitched for the IronBirds back in 2003. The 3rd round draft pick out of William & Mary came to Aberdeen with hopes of a bright future.  Ray made his debut with the Orioles in 2005. After injuring his elbow and Tommy John surgery, Ray’s arm was never the same.  While Ray battled back from surgery in 2008 and even making a rehab trip to Aberdeen, he would continue to play for multiple different teams before hanging up his cleats after the 2012 season.

Chris Ray was often one to dabble in different hobbies.  In 2008, a former William & Mary teammate bought Ray a home brewing kit after Ray developed a finer taste for beer.  Even former teammate Jim Johnson has said that Ray is a “beer snob.” Eventually Ray became hooked and loved to tinker with the different types of beer.  He became so fascinated with brewing his own beer that he bought his brother his own kit.  Soon their conversations were consumed with discussing their new brews.  One advantage to Ray being traded to different teams was being able to experience the many different craft brews in great cities like San Francisco and Seattle.

In 2011, while playing in Seattle, Ray approached the founder of Fremont Brewing about brewing an IPA to benefit a military organization. While the owner was originally unsure of this idea, Ray quickly won him over with his knowledge of the craft. Eventually the Ray brothers created their Homefront IPA to benefit Operation Homefront and put one unique twist on the beer.  The beer is actually aged using Louisville Slugger bats.

The brothers have since relocated to the Richmond, Virginia area where they brew more than three types of beer. You can currently find their beers at local restaurants around Richmond and they are trying to obtain a license to sell their beer in other states such as Maryland.


We hope everyone enjoyed this check in of another former IronBird.  Make sure to keep sending any of your questions to  Check back on Monday to see if you question was answered!

Until then…Go IronBirds!



Mailbox Monday

Welcome back IronBirds Fans to the 2nd Mailbox Monday.  I have enjoyed reading all of your questions over the past week and have selected a few for this week.  Remember to keep submitting your questions to and yours could be answered right here!

John writes “With the World Series coming to end recently, I was wondering have any former IronBirds players played in the World Series?”

IB: Yes!  Brandon Snyder is a former IronBirds player that played for the World Champion Boston Red Sox this past season.  He played 8 games in 2005 and 34 games in 2006 for the IronBirds. Chris Ray also won a World Championship with the San Francisco Giants in 2010.  He played for the IronBirds in 2003.

Rhonda writes “Congrats to Trey Mancini on his award!  Did any other IronBirds players win awards this year?”

IB: Two other players received recognition as well. Mike Yazstremski was named the Orioles‘ Minor League Offensive Player of the Month.  The Topps Company and Minor League Baseball recognized Connor Bierfieldt as the New York Penn League’s Player of the Month for the month of August.


Stacey asks “Do any of the IronBirds players play in a fall league?”

IB: At the end of the season, some players are selected to go to Sarasota for an instructional league.  The Orioles will often select players with a bright future to go to Florida to play in the league.  The league is a more relaxed league where players from different minor league levels play together. This year players like Hunter Harvey, Mike Yazstremski, Conor Bierfieldt, Jeff Kemp, and more were sent to play in this league.

Thanks again IronBirds fans for submitting your questions!  Make sure to keep sending them to  Check back to your Bird Watch blog this Thursday for the second half of the interview with IronBirds radio announcer Paul Taylor to see his top ten moments of the 2013 season.

Until then…

Go IronBirds!