Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Brian Buchanan: Hoping for One More Shot

The Omaha World Herald published a refreshing article yesterday about 35-year-old Brian Buchanan, a DH/OF/RP for the Omaha Royals. He knows his playing days are just about over. In fact, he’s only had 34 at bats this season (he’s pitched in a couple of games as well). And even though the Royals have offered him the opportunity to coach in rookie ball, he wants to play out the season and then he’ll think about what might be next. His reasoning?

“I still love playing,” he said. “I love being around the guys in the clubhouse. I love going out and competing. I still get butterflies before every game.”

One glance at his history tells you how much he loves the game.

In 1994, he was drafted in the first round by the Yankees, but his career took a turn for the worst when he endured a severe ankle injury in 1995. He kept battling though, as evidenced by the fact that he has played 1,042 minor league games over 14 seasons.

And he’s had a shot at the big leagues as well, playing in 346 games for the Twins, Padres, and Mets. He still talks about those days in the big leagues. In the article, he talks about remembering the first time he was called up, his first hit, and his first hit in Camden Yards (he grew up an Orioles fan). Cal Ripken was playing third base and Buchanan singled past Ripken. Later in the inning, when Buchanan ended up at third base, he asked, “How you doing, Mr. Ripken?”

Mr. Ripken. You have to have love that.

At this point in his career, he knows he doesn’t have much of a chance at being called up to Kansas City and his numbers don’t really warrant it, but listen to what he said about it:

“I’m not going to fool myself and think I’m going to be the first one to go up,” he said. “If they want someone up there, it’s going to be someone young to get some experience. But do I still want to be in the big leagues? Absolutely. I’d love to get back, even if it was for two weeks, one week, whatever. I’m kind of real about the situation, but it’s a funny game. Stranger things have happened in this game.”

How cool would it be for the Royals to give him a September call up? I wouldn’t want him taking at bats from any of the young guys the Royals need to take a look at for 2010, but why not give Jose Guillen a day or two off in September, if the games are meaningless by then, and give Buchanan one last hurrah?

It sounds like he will accept a coaching position in 2010; if he does, he’ll be a model of perseverance, and everything a player should be, for them.

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics