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Gonzales Weekly Citizen - Gonzales, LA
  • Pro Ball Player is role model for youth

  • Reid Brignac made a name for himself playing in the ballparks of Ascension Parish. When he reached St. Amant High School, he joined the baseball team, and soon showed his all as a stand-out player for the Gator Nation.


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  • Reid Brignac made a name for himself playing in the ballparks of Ascension Parish. When he reached St.?Amant High School, he joined the baseball team, and soon showed his all as a stand-out player for the Gator Nation.
    Brignac was drafted into the major leagues in 2004, right as he graduated from high school.?Since then, he has spent a majority of his major league career playing as short-stop for the Tampa Bay Rays.
    At first glance, Brignac seems to be all about baseball, but by taking a closer look, it’s easy to see that his love for the game and the thanks he has for the skills he has honed, have surpassed the field, and become a part of who he is.
    Brignac recently received a call from his father, letting him know about a little boy in?Georgia who was Brignac’s biggest fan.
    “My dad called me up and told me about T.J.,” said Brignac. “This little guy had lost his hand in a pretty bad accident at his mom’s hair salon. He loved baseball more than anything, and my dad wanted to know if there was anything I thought I could do."
    Brignac’s father had found out about T.J. through Facebook. A former St.?Amant alum Phillip Kling, posted the callout to Brignac after he and his wife visited the young boy. Kling’s wife was friends with T.J.’s mother.
    “T,J.’s accident was so random and so tragic. I wanted to do what I could,” said Brignac.
    Do something he did, as he acted quickly and made arrangements to meet T.J. after a phone call to the boys mother. “We planned on a day where I would just come in and sign some cards, a bat, or a jersey, that kind of thing. I wanted to do something to lift his spirits. “
    Many athletes would have done just that.?There would have been a quick hello, a pat on the back, and then back to practice with the feeling of having done something worthwhile. That wasn't enough for Brignac, though.
    “I don’t know what happened, really, but we just had this great connection,” said Brignac. “He was so bummed out, and it pretty much broke my heart. I found myself really wanting to know how T.J. was. I know rehab can be hard, but to be a ten  year old boy, it must have been frightening. T.J.'s.’s like one of my friends now. He’s doing great, and the doctors are working on a prosthetic hand for him. He’s already back on the field.”
    Brignac and T.J.’s friendship is flourishing, with Brignac texting and calling, and finding out about the every day occurrences in the life of T.J. Andrews. Brignac attributes his being able to have formed this solid relationship with his becoming an athlete.
    Page 2 of 2 - “”We have a responsibility to be there,” he said. “It’s very important. As a professional athlete we are under the microscope and need to be seen as role models. Lately, all we seem to see are so many athletes, whether college or professional getting into a lot of trouble. I feel like it’s my responsibility to be there and highlight the positive that comes with the honor of being able to play ball.”
    Brignac is an avid proponent of the Boys and Girls Club and often speaks at their functions. He is thankful for the abilities he has, but also speaks highly of the importance of family.
    “I know not every kid has had what I did. I had every single opportunity to be successful, and that’s down to the strong support network I always had. I’m one of the lucky ones, and it’s my duty to not take that for granted and to pass that on,” he said.
    Giving back of oneself is what Brignac feels the sport is all about. The privilege of being able to stand before fans is one to be taken seriously, and he feels a strong urgency to never let them down.
    “I think about what I’d say to some kid who wanted to be a pro ballplayer, and all I can think of apart from the usual of work hard and stick with it, is that you have to be prepared for the amount of responsibility the game comes with. You’ve got to strive to stay out of the newspapers negatively. My dad said to me once that I only have one name, and if I throw that away or ruin it, I can never get it back. I think about how true that is.”
    So what’s next for Brignac and that little guy from?Georgia?
    “T.J.’s a friend now, and that means I’ll always be looking out for him and making sure he’s okay. If my being around makes him feel better, then that’s what I’ll do.”

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