Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Breland Brown Bilks the Brisbane Bandits

Earlier today, the Courier Mail broke a story that sent shockwaves through the Australian Baseball Community. Those of you yet to catchup on this news should read the original Mail article and the reaction at the Australian Baseball Digest. To summarise:

A minor league player allegedly pretended to be a player agent and shopped himself, and Paul, to ABL teams as a package deal. The ABL and the Bandits declined to identify the architect of the sting but The Courier-Mail understands that New York Yankees minor league player Breland Brown was allegedly behind the scheme. After exchanging emails, text messages and phone calls with Australian officials under the guise of being a player agent, Brown was farmed out to the Sydney Blue Sox while Paul was subsequently picked up by the Bandits. The Bandits were under the impression that Paul would arrive in Australia before Brisbane's first home game at the RNA Showgrounds last Thursday.

While making sure to throw in the legally required "allegedly" disclaimer, the article is not exactly subtle about the "alleged" architect of the swindle. While I can't offer any information on how this all came to pass, one thing I can do is run a background check on Mr Breland Brown.

Born in Lousianna, Breland Brown's first blip on the radar is during what ended up being a very brief stint with German team the Solingen Alligators, in 2008. The Alligators announced his signing and then eight days later his contract termination.

The Solingen Alligators terminated the contract with outfielder Breland BROWN... he made additional unreasonable demands after signing an agreement to play for the 2006 champion.

Brown next appears on the radar in the independent leagues of the USA. In 2009 he played for two "indie league" clubs, notching up uninspiring numbers - making 37 plate appearances for a batting average of just 0.162. In 2010 he seems to disappear, before re-emerging as an (alleged?) Yankees minor league signing in October. Being 25 at the time, and never having played in an affiliated league, one would assume this would be a minor league depth signing at best. Apparently, Breland Brown had other ideas. In a bizarre article for an American community newspaper, the following exchange is documented:

“I’m extremely blessed, and truly grateful to be a New York Yankee. It was a childhood dream of mine, so to now be living it, words can’t express the way I feel.
“I still have a lot of work ahead of me to prove myself and to make nonbelievers become believers. I am truly motivated to show the Yankees that signing me was great move. They can expect great things from me my whole career.”

He also said he is grateful for two endorsement deal opportunities he has received. “Sharing this with my family, especially my grandfather, is a blessing. I want to leave my mark on the game like Jackie Robinson did. I feel life isn’t worth living if don’t make an impact on another person’s life.”

Though Brown did not get to play in the World Series playoff game against Dallas [Sic] in October, he said, “I’ll be playing in the 2011 season with the Yankees; I’ll be the one that leads them to the championship. Mark my words!”.

My personal ignorance regarding playtime prompted me to ask Brown if he is required to sit out for a period of time prior to getting play time, much like red shirting in high school football. He was gracious and didn’t laugh at me at all before informing me that there is no waiting period and he looks forward to his day on the field. He will start major league camp in February.

While I can excuse the journalist, being a local journo obviously unfamiliar with baseball, Breland Brown clearly insinuates that he's making the jump from independent league baseball to the major leagues - with the Yankees!

While I have seen Breland touted (wrongly or rightly) as being part of the Yankees farm system, this article ran in late 2010. The next record of Mr Brown actually playing is during 2011, for a short-season Single-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks - the Missoula Osprey. Here he hit 0.171 in eleven games.

So why was he "allegedly" posing  as a player manager, shipping himself as a two-for-one deal with major leaguer, Xavier Paul. Well, it would appear that he's a smalltime player, with a documented tendency to either bend the truth or outright lie, thinking he could gain himself one last chance in an upstart league on the other side of the world. How he actually thought he could get away with it - especially after Xavier Paul inevitably didn't show up - well, that is beyond me. Though, to rehash this gem of a comment, it seems he doesn't exactly consider the future through the clearest of goggles:

“I’ll be playing in the 2011 season with the Yankees; I’ll be the one that leads them to the championship. Mark my words!”.

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