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savafan
04-22-2006, 04:48 AM
http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/2677016.html

By LES EAST
Special to The Advocate
Published: Apr 22, 2006

METAIRIE — Brandon Larson is in a comfort zone as he tries to get his professional baseball career back on track as the New Orleans Zephyrs’ third baseman.

He’s an hour’s drive from where he helped lead LSU to the 1997 College World Series title, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in the championship.

Plus, he’s surrounded by brass with the Washington Nationals, the Zephyrs’ parent club, who were with the Cincinnati Reds when they drafted Larson with the 14th pick in the ’97 draft.

Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden, farm director Bob Boone, and Zephyrs manager Tim Foli all worked with Larson with the Reds.

“It’s obviously comfortable for me because I’ve played for all these guys,” said Larson, who was batting .265 with two home runs, five runs batted in and a nine-game hitting streak going into Friday’s game at Round Rock. “Foli was my big-league coach in Cincinnati, so he knows what I bring to the table.

“My main thing is just staying healthy. I’ve had some really bad breaks and some bad injuries since my LSU days and I just want to stay healthy enough long enough for a whole season because I know that I can really help some club out, whether it’s Washington or anybody else, as long as I’m staying healthy.”

Larson’s return to the major leagues might have to come with a different organization because Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals’ No. 1 pick last year, is the starting third baseman for Washington.

Zimmerman’s role with the Nationals is similar to the one Larson had when he joined the Reds, but injuries started taking a toll on Larson, who will turn 30 next month.

“I’ve had three major surgeries to my body, which has really set me back,” Larson said. “But injuries are just part of baseball and playing a full schedule. It’s a grind for a lot of guys. The older you get the more your body starts breaking down.”

Larson tore up his knee shortly after leaving LSU, requiring a nearly two-year rehabilitation. It wasn’t long after he returned that he suffered a serious shoulder injury diving for a ball.

Last season he found himself in the Rangers’ organization, playing in 34 games at Class AA Frisco before injuring his wrist. He underwent surgery to remove his hamate bone and then found himself looking for a new organization during the off-season.
Larson, who has played parts of four seasons in the big leagues, was left wondering where, or even if, he would get another opportunity.

“There’s always that concern especially with teams; you’re a liability to them when they see that rap sheet, they see the medical history,” he said.

“The best thing about it was Bowden and Boone and these guys were here and they certainly know what a healthy Larson brings to the table.”

The Zephyrs, who open an eight-game homestand and four-game series when they meet Albuquerque tonight at Zephyr Field, have placed Larson in the middle of the batting order, usually fifth, and he’s started every game at third.

“When I was at Cincinnati, we moved Aaron Boone to second base so Brandon Larson could play third base,” Foli said. “It didn’t pan out. Brandon got injured, but we had high expectations for Brandon. I know he’s a quality kid, and I know that when he touches the ball it goes a long way. So I’m excited about putting him in the middle of this lineup and going bombs away.”

Larson doesn’t seem inclined to brood about the direction his career has taken, and even if he were, that notion would have vanished when he and his teammates toured the areas of New Orleans most seriously damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

“Baseball really becomes secondary when you see something like that,” he said. “You’re really not thinking about yourself right now. Seeing the damage up close really makes you think about how grateful you are to have the opportunity to come out here and do this. Hopefully we can get the fans something to get excited about again because they really need it.”

First-place New Orleans was 9-5 going into Friday’s game, including a 7-1 record during their season-opening homestand.
Larson said he’s looking forward to seeing familiar faces from his one memorable season at LSU.

“It’s always good to see someone from LSU with a hat on,” Larson said. “Even now, to this day, I see them in the airport and I say, ‘Go Tigers.’ I’m still a big purple and gold fanatic.

“The team we had that year that won it all in ’97, to me probably to this day is still the best team I’ve ever played on. Top to bottom, we had unbelievable talent and unbelievable guys. It was a short one year for me, but it was enough to make memories for a lifetime.”

Larson hopes this season will someday be memorable for a different reason — enjoying an overdue prolonged period of good health that helps him return to the big leagues.

“I’m really trying to make the most of this opportunity,” he said. “This is a big season for me. I’ve been cut on. It’s definitely not something that’s fun, it’s not something I’d wish on anybody, but heck man, I’m still out here, I’m still playing, and I’m still getting paid to play. You can’t ask for anything better.”

2001MUgrad
04-22-2006, 05:12 AM
Hmmm,

I'm sure that his injuries are why he isn't in Ciny and that he just wasn't given a fair shake.

redsmetz
04-22-2006, 06:21 AM
Hmmm,

I'm sure that his injuries are why he isn't in Ciny and that he just wasn't given a fair shake.

I don't read this as him saying he wasn't given a fair shake. He is saying that the injuries may have hampered him making it, albeit he's being stoic about that, acknowleding it's part of the game. I don't think that's whining. I think he fully understands the situation he finds himself in.

StillFunkyB
04-22-2006, 09:31 AM
There is no question that BL had all the talent in the world.

I said this once, and I will say it again. Brandon Larson was more concerned with living "The Big League lifestyle" then he was with actually playing the game.

I'm sorry, but when your struggling, and injured, you don't stay out until 4:30 am partying with girls.

redsmetz
04-22-2006, 09:35 AM
There is no question that BL had all the talent in the world.

I said this once, and I will say it again. Brandon Larson was more concerned with living "The Big League lifestyle" then he was with actually playing the game.

I'm sorry, but when your struggling, and injured, you don't stay out until 4:30 am partying with girls.

I would agree with that, but that was information I didn't have at the moment.

RisingReds
04-22-2006, 10:20 AM
he'll have a great career as long as they leave him in AAA, but he'll choke as soon as they bring him up.

captainmorgan07
04-22-2006, 11:12 AM
he never good live up to the hype or hit consistently

toledodan
04-22-2006, 11:13 AM
why the hate for larson? as far as i can remember he never said or did anything to disrespect the reds. i wish him nothing but the best. while i also believe he will never be a major league player on a full time basis atleast he is still trying. we have to give him that much credit.

jmcclain19
04-22-2006, 05:01 PM
I've always been a big Larson backer and it continues to befuddle me the hatred this guy gets from Redszone and Reds fans in general

Larson had 291 career at bats as a Reds major leaguer. Which, ironically enough, is just about the amount that Edwin Encarnacion has now had in his entire major league career. Unlike Edwin, who's had a straight shot to compile all those ABs, Larson's ABs were spread out over 4 seasons.

Sure injuries did him in, and I wasn't against the Reds cutting ties with him, it was time to move on. But lets not prentend that Larson had years and years of major league service to flesh out the thought he couldn't cut it. He'll turn 30 next month, which means his life as a baseball player is coming to a close.


There is no question that BL had all the talent in the world.

I said this once, and I will say it again. Brandon Larson was more concerned with living "The Big League lifestyle" then he was with actually playing the game.

I'm sorry, but when your struggling, and injured, you don't stay out until 4:30 am partying with girls.

And where did this info come from? i've never heard any other accusations like that in the years Larson was a Red.

RisingReds
04-22-2006, 10:15 PM
I've always been a big Larson backer and it continues to befuddle me the hatred this guy gets from Redszone and Reds fans in general

Larson had 291 career at bats as a Reds major leaguer. Which, ironically enough, is just about the amount that Edwin Encarnacion has now had in his entire major league career. Unlike Edwin, who's had a straight shot to compile all those ABs, Larson's ABs were spread out over 4 seasons.

Sure injuries did him in, and I wasn't against the Reds cutting ties with him, it was time to move on. But lets not prentend that Larson had years and years of major league service to flesh out the thought he couldn't cut it. He'll turn 30 next month, which means his life as a baseball player is coming to a close.



And where did this info come from? i've never heard any other accusations like that in the years Larson was a Red.

he didn't deserve any more ab's, while you make a valid point, he was ridiculously pathetic, and was totally overmatched, also age plays a factor in that hatred, he was old enough, he needed to hit, or move on.

Unassisted
04-22-2006, 10:31 PM
Larson went to high school here in San Antonio and made his winter home about 10 miles north of mine.

I was another resident apologist here when Larson was with the Reds. The guy got a raw deal both from the injury bug and from the club's approach or lack of an approach to his development once he mastered (conquered is more like it) AAA ball.

No one on the Reds has ever publicly said that slacking or partying was Larson's downfall, so I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt rather than give credence to innuendo.

I think we can all agree that BL would have been a difference-maker if he could have put up numbers that approached the numbers he put up in his last few AAA stints with the Reds. The guy just raked at the plate there. It boggles the mind to think about how he could have contributed to the offense if he had stayed on that kind of track.

I don't see how Larson deserves our ill will. It's not like he singlehandedly ruined the Reds chances for contention during his time with the big club. He just didn't pan out as a Red. It happens. I think you'd all be loving him now if he had.

The Baumer
04-22-2006, 10:51 PM
I heard he once stayed up til 5:00am watching a Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi channel. Apparently he was planning on catching a couple of more episodes but his wife was waking up to go to work and he accidentally knocked out while pretending to be asleep.

Chip R
04-23-2006, 10:08 AM
Brandon Larson the party animal is in New Orleans? That seems about as good of a combination as Eric Milton and Coors Field. :eek:

I do think if he can curtail the partying that NO would be a good place for him. He is near the place of his greatest glory and they still have a lot of good will towards him. AAA is not the Show but it beats selling Lady Kenmores at Sears.