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Monday, May 14, 2018

How seasoned rookie Brandon Mann achieved his big-league dream after 17 years, a stint in Japan and a suspension

Mann reached his goal after 267 minor league appearances, three seasons in independent leagues, two seasons in Japan and one suspension for use of a banned substance.

“It means everything,” said Mann, who got the final five outs in the Rangers’ 6-1 loss to Houston at Minute Maid Park. “Lots of reflecting on the journey of where it’s been. This is pretty awesome.

“I always told myself I was a big leaguer. To keep grinding for that opportunity, you have to believe that you are.”

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 14, 2018 at 09:04 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: debuts, general, rangers, rookies, texas rangers

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 15, 2018 at 12:28 AM (#5672472)
Such perseverance deserves an appearance on BBTF Hot Topics.
   2. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 15, 2018 at 12:32 AM (#5672474)
Any player who appears in a major league game, even just one, has the right to call himself a big leaguer. Brandon has every right.
   3. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: May 15, 2018 at 01:14 AM (#5672483)
The Athletic had a great story about him too.

The Rangers did this last year with Austin Bibens-Dirkx who had been in the minors for a mere 12 years. Now they've gone above and beyond.

Mann was drafted by the Devil Rays in 2002 and played in the low minors with Reid Brignac, Evan Longoria, John Jaso, Andy Sonnanstine, all those guys who debuted in 2007 or 2008. Sonnanstine was drafted 2 years after Brandon Mann, got to the majors 4 years after that, had a respectable 5-year career and now has been out of baseball for 7 years.
   4. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 15, 2018 at 02:35 AM (#5672491)
Any player who appears in a major league game, even just one, has the right to call himself a big leaguer.


This is thing isn't it? Every player who appears in just one game is so outrageously good even if for just that short time. That makes you a MLB player.

We all go on about players we think are lacking in certain areas, letting the team down, can't throw strikes, lay off the breaking stuff, etc. etc., but every guy we follow is so much better then just about anyone else(general public) it's just scary.

I've known a few professional athletes(soccer in Europe, cricket in India) and these people are not like the rest of us. They are just amazingly good at just about any sport, it's insane. Tennis, basketball, ping-pong, golf..anything that requires eye-hand coordination, timing, balance they can make look routine.

Every person that steps on an MLB field and has game time should be incredibly proud of the achievement. And yeah I'm a bit envious. As someone who is pretty decent at most sports it's incomprehensible to me how better these guys are then I ever was.
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 15, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5672534)
We all go on about players we think are lacking in certain areas, letting the team down, can't throw strikes, lay off the breaking stuff, etc. etc., but every guy we follow is so much better then just about anyone else(general public) it's just scary.


Dave Barry, of all people, had a really good column on that subject, talking about longtime NBA player Grant Long:

Even the most marginal NBA player is an absurdly better athlete than an ordinary person. When basketball people say that Grant Long can't shoot, can't pass, can't dribble, what they mean is: He can shoot, pass and dribble better than you, better than anybody you know, better than all but a few hundred people in the world. Long's jump shot is so bad, by NBA standards, that his team never runs a play designed to set him up for it; but you could practice your jump shot every day forever and still never beat him in a game of Horse.

One day Long and I were standing on the floor of the Miami Arena, talking. I was bouncing a basketball, and suddenly Long flicked his hand out, stole the ball, and started dribbling it. I tried to steal it back. I tried hard to steal it back, for about 30 seconds, and I never once touched it, despite the fact that Long, nearly a foot taller than I, was bouncing it to the height of my chest, and was making no effort to back away from me, or use his body as a shield.

The problem was that I was operating in Normal Person Time, which is slow motion for an NBA player. Long would be bouncing the ball so that it passed a foot from my hand, and I'd make my craftiest, slickest, lightning- quickest move for it, and Long - looking at me, not the ball - would casually alter the dribble, flick the ball through his legs, pick it up on the other side, leaving me lunging at air, time and again. But in the NBA, this is a guy whose ball- handling skills are considered to be zero. This is a guy who, if everything went according to the Heat game plan, would not dribble the ball once.
   6. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 15, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5672589)
What I find interesting about this is that his PED suspension is treated as an obstacle he overcame rather than a mark against his character. And from the point of view of baseball, we have a guy who is of no obvious major league talent¹ -- I mean, the entire point of this story is that he has bounced around for 15 years without making any sort of mark, even being forced to play in the independent leagues and Japan to keep his career going; in that entire time he only managed to briefly reach AAA for 22 innings in his 30s -- and yet the PED history doesn't seem to bother anyone.

(Note: I am not complaining, since I don't care about PEDs. I am making an observation.)




¹I absolutely grant the point that anyone who makes the majors (or plays professionally at all) is an elite talent compared to any of us. I am not denigrating him in the abstract. Only in comparison to major league players.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5672596)
What I find interesting about this is that his PED suspension is treated as an obstacle he overcame rather than a mark against his character.
I don't think it's exactly news that people might find "entirely marginal guy who (presumably) turned to PEDs to try to get himself over the hump" a lot more relatable/sympathetic than, for example, "astoundingly elite talent who (reportedly) got jealous of the accolades other elite talents were getting, turned to PEDs, and cartoonishly obliterated the record books."
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5672599)
What I found pretty interesting, having looked at his minor league numbers, is how little he did to warrant sticking around that long.

Oh, to be a lefthanded thrower.

   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5672606)
Oh, to be a lefthanded thrower.
I'm telling you, man, if the MLB obsession with Moar Releeverz!! keeps going at this rate, couples are going to start genetically selecting for left-handed baby boys.
   10. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5672612)
What I found pretty interesting, having looked at his minor league numbers, is how little he did to warrant sticking around that long.

Like in the real world.... half the job is just showing up.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5672614)
Like in the real world.... half the job is just showing up.


My buddy from high school pitched two seasons in the minors. He would have kept showing up. They wouldn't let him.

   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5672628)
My buddy from high school pitched two seasons in the minors. He would have kept showing up. They wouldn't let him.
Did you see him the other night at this roadside bar, when you were walking in and he was walking out?
   13. Batman Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5672630)
Like most people, no team let me show up after high school ended. The restraining orders were a bit much, though.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5672634)
Probably would have gone better if you were wearing pants.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5672636)
Did you see him the other night at this roadside bar, when you were walking in and he was walking out?


He did have a hell of a speedball.
   16. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: May 15, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5672655)
A couple decades ago, an older colleague of mine gave up his "dream" of professional bowling. He had been on the Saturday afternoon ABC show a few times and done OK, won a tournament, whatever. He could average probably 270 on his home lanes; it was something to watch, strike after strike in person.

He says that in the early 70s he was approximately equally proficient in bowling and golf, and at the time they were approximately equal in terms of prize money and TV exposure. He chose to follow the bowling path, and he chose.... poorly. He drove himself from Des Moines to Erie on winter Sundays to get to the next tournament, and watched with sadness as the golf tour flew from Hawaii to Florida, and anyone who made the cut would make about what the champion made on the bowling tour. That was in the 90s, I'm sure the disparity is even wider today.
   17. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 15, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5672674)
He says that in the early 70s he was approximately equally proficient in bowling and golf, and at the time they were approximately equal in terms of prize money and TV exposure.
I mean, the early 70s were spent (by me) in preschool, but I find that claim incredible. Is it really true that golf was a backwater like bowling at any point? I mean, I follow golf as much as I follow professional beekeeping, but I can still think of famous golfers from before the 1970s -- which means that they must have gotten some media exposure -- whereas I can't name a single professional bowler ever.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5672676)
I mean, I follow golf as much as I follow professional beekeeping, but I can still think of famous golfers from before the 1970s -- which means that they must have gotten some media exposure -- whereas I can't name a single professional bowler ever.


It's possible. Bowling was on ABC Sports virtually every weekend back then.

   19. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: May 15, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5672681)
whereas I can't name a single professional bowler ever.


Not even Earl Anthony? You freedom-hater!
   20. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 15, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5672753)
Arnold Palmer made $3.6 million over his career in prize money on the PGA tour. That includes 7 majors, 62 PGA tour victories, 10 other victories, 10 senior PGA tour wins, plus whatever number of second place or below earnings.

By comparison, Earl Anthony earned $1.4 million in prize money.
   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 15, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5672776)
He did have a hell of a speedball.


Hence the drug suspension, I guess?

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