Down on the Farm with Stockton Ports Pitcher Brandon Bailey

bb669064bBrandon Bailey grew up in Colorado and attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he struck out 125 batters in 100 1/3 innings while posting a 2.42 ERA in his final season for the Bulldogs. 

After the right-hander was selected by the A’s in the 6th round of last year’s amateur draft, he spent most of the season playing for Vermont, the A’s Class-A affiliate in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he put up a solid 3.08 ERA in 10 appearances. But Bailey was even more impressive for Beloit this season, posting a 2.88 ERA while notching 61 strikeouts over 68 2/3 innings of work for the Snappers before being promoted to the Ports at the start of July.

Last summer, we shared a few of Bailey’s blog posts about some of his experiences in the A’s minor league system in the weeks and months after the draft, which you can check out here. We last heard from him earlier this season about his first couple of months in Beloit, and now we’re happy to share his first update from Stockton. You can check out his personal blog here and you can follow him on Twitter @BBailey_19

 

Ever since I signed my letter of intent to participate in college athletics, my life has revolved around one thing…baseball. I speak for all my current/former professional teammates when I say that deciding to make this great sport your main source of income can be one of God’s greatest blessings but also one of life’s biggest challenges. Obstacles constantly present themselves day in and day out in professional baseball just like any other occupation. But what separates this career in difficulty from the vast majority of jobs after college is one thing…spending 6 months of the year away from loved ones, all in pursuit of making our childhood dream a reality. It’s a huge sacrifice for the player and anyone close to the player in any way.

You see, most people are going to graduate from college with a degree that they may or may not be able to use at their first “real job.” They will settle into a place that can be familiar or completely foreign but, regardless, they are settled at a permanent location. They will find an affordable apartment or small condo that they can officially call home or, for the majority of college students who are in over their heads in debt once they receive their diploma, they will move back in with their parents (hence familiar territory). Seems pretty straight forward, and that’s exactly my point. For most young adults ages 21 to 25 who cross this bridge into adulthood, there is a sense of normalcy or a routine in which they can submerge themselves. This consistent regularity of an permanent location, interactions with coworkers, and overall social lifestyle makes it easy to start building a foundation for the next stage in life…finding someone to walk this journey with you.

Unfortunately, for most ball players, we don’t receive that same luxury. In fact, the very lack of normalcy that is associated with our job makes our lifestyle difficult to relate to for anyone that is going down the path that I described in the previous paragraph. It takes a special person to support a ball player striving to achieve a dream that is so difficult to achieve. Distance apart from people that us ball players care about is something that we all juggle on a daily basis with our significant other, kids (if we have them), and immediate family members. Some players establish a serious relationship that has been in the works prior to signing a pro baseball contract while other players (like myself) try to make new found relationships work over long distance. Neither situation is easy or ideal, but for the players who are starting fresh with someone, the distance can take its toll.

Brandon Bailey (photo: Meghan Camino)

Brandon Bailey
(photo by Meghan Camino)

In the past 72 hours my life went from potentially being one week away from having 6 months to grow in the relationship that I was currently involved in while also finishing my degree at Gonzaga to potentially 1 week away from going back to Spokane to finish my degree and focus on bettering myself as an individual because I don’t have another choice. I can use the clichés “What happened was way out of left field,” or “Life really threw me a curve,” or even “My life just did a 180,” but at the end of the day God has a plan and it’s not my job to question it.

Before I go any further, it’s important that I clarify my intentions behind this post. The last thing I want is to make this entry sound like a sob story or that I have ill will towards the person I was previously dating. If anything, it’s quite the opposite. This person changed my life in so many ways in such a short amount of time, and for that, I am forever grateful. She brought me closer to my faith, gave me more confidence in myself to do anything I set my mind to, and she made me believe that a relationship with trust and faithfulness does still exist. She’s one of the greatest human beings I have ever had the privilege of spending meaningful time with, and in the process, became my closest friend. She had such an impact on me that I decided I needed to pick up my laptop and write again in order to vent and process what is running through my mind, which is significant because writing is one of my favorite things to do, yet I’ve only jotted down one post this season. I truly wish her all the best, and to whoever wins her heart in the future…treat her right because she deserves nothing but the very best and then some.

Now that I reeled you in with all sorts of feels (or maybe you think I’m a pathetic try-hard blogger who makes a piss-poor effort at a meaningful post), I can attempt to end this post on a high note. As I mentioned earlier, technically there is only 1 week left in the 2017 regular season. Which is important information to know because the current team I play for, the Stockton Ports, is in a playoff push, tied with 3 teams in our division for second place and only 1 game back of the division leader, the Visalia Rawhide (the California League affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks). Even though classes start at Gonzaga tomorrow, I wouldn’t mind being a week or two late to school if it means I get to take the mound one more time as “The Ports make a run at the California state title!” said hitting coach Tommy Everidge and pitching coach Steve Connelly.

Regardless of the outcome of our playoff run, I am thankful for all the blessings God has presented me even with my current 180. He has given me the opportunity to grow as a ball player and as a person this season, and for that, it was all worth it. He is also giving me the opportunity to go to the same school as my younger sister Bri for the first time since she was born. Words can not express how excited I am to share the “Zag” experience with her in the upcoming fall months! Finally, I’m thankful for all the new friendships I have made through my new teammates and coaches. When it’s all said and done, I can look back knowing that no one can take the memories of the clubhouse, dugout and bus away from me.

And with the final line, I thought it might be nice to leave an inspirational quote from a song I am currently using as motivation to keep moving forward no matter what the situation:

“So RISE. Break the dark, piercing the night, you’re made to shine. An army of hope, bringing the world a radiant light.”- Rise by Danny Gokey

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