Brandon Barnes turning heads with strong spring for Rockies
Brandon Barnes finds truth in his art. He receives inspiration from his arm.
Acquired by the Rockies over the winter in the Dexter Fowler trade to Houston, Barnes has left an indelible print on spring training, earning a roster spot with his relentless style and production.
Barnes' story from high school football star to baseball nomad to big leaguer is told through his body. Tattoos on his arms, shin and back are a reflection of his faith, family and a journey he thought would end long before he won Rockies camp co MVP honors Sunday at Salt River Fields.
Three years ago, Barnes was in danger of becoming another cautionary statistic. He was in Triple A, foundering, ready to begin the rest of his life. A talk with his pastor and his wife, Shawn, kept the flickering dream alive. He could always quit. But why not let somebody make that decision for him? Besides, he had a goal so vivid, he could see it.
"I made a deal with (Shawn) five years into my career. I always wanted a sleeve (of tattoos). She wasn't that into it. She said, 'If you get to the big leagues, you could do it.' WeWe Canucks jerseys cheap
didn't think it would happen. We were content to make a career out of the minors," Barnes said. "But I never gave it up as my goal."
Barnes made his major league debut Aug. 12, 2012, against the Washington Nationals. He was on the Astros' opening day roster last season, and will repeat that accomplishment with what has been a memorable March. Barnes left Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday as Shawn was scheduled to give birth to their second child.
"My family is everything," said Barnes, who has daughter Kenadie's 12 week handprint on his stomach.
In seven weeks with the Rockies, Barnes has won over the coaching staff with his caffeinated approach. He plays with an edge, sharpened from years in the minor leagues of being told he wasn't a prospect. Barnes is batting .340, with a .365 on base percentage, in 50 at bats. It's a small sample size and must be weighed against his .282 career OBP in 550 plate appearances. But he profiles well as a reserve he can play all three outfield positions, bunts well and has speed for a bench that was dreadful last season.
"You want to know about a guy, ask his teammates," Weiss said. "You can't fool them. If it comes offoff cheap Canucks jerseys china
as phony or eyewash, they know. As coaches, we would discover it. This guy is real."
Barnes reached this point through stubbornness. He kept grinding through the minor leagues. His body remained a source of motivation. Barnes doesn't just love ink, most of which was done by Justin Warn of Torch Tattoo. Barnes has always been fascinated by art. He learned under Warn, and has given himself multiple tattoos, including one inside his left arm. It reads: "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."
"I did that myself when my baseball career wasn't going my way," BarnesBarnes womens Canucks jersey
said. "Of course I look at it as a reminder. I have always been fascinated by art. Ideas are always flowing through my head, and they end up a lot of times on my body."
The first sleeve on his arm took 20 hours and multiple sessions. Both arms are now covered. There are crosses, praying hands, Japanese symbols his wife is a black belt and koi fish swimming upstream.
"That symbolizes good luck. I need luck and strength," Barnes said. "My whole career has been a battle. I wasn'twasn't wholesale cheap Canucks jerseys china
always the best. But I felt like if I worked hard enough, I could pull through."
Barnes fills numerous roles. He can serve as a defensive replacement,replacement, official Canucks jersey
a pinch runner, even hitting leadoff on occasion. Monday, Weiss mentioned grit when talking about Barnes. His point? Barnes' attitude is invaluable "when the game inevitably beats you down," and it can permeate a clubhouse.
Barnes is a bare knuckle guy. He joked that he has never lost a fight. He didn't this spring either, in bidding for a roster spot.
"The intensity he brings every day, you see it, you feel it, he brings it," said all star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "You talk about leading by example, you have no choice but to follow him. He can help us. Every team needs a guy like him."