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The following is an excerpt from a story by Bob Wirz. View the whole article here.

What is it about 33-year-old rookies from the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks?

Catcher Chris Coste was the original, one would say, since he grew up in the area and played four seasons for the RedHawks before eventually breaking into the major leagues with Philadelphia at that not-so-young baseball age in 2006.  He even authored a book about that experience.

The 2018 version is left-handed pitcher Brandon Mann, who turned professional in 2002, spent the season with Fargo-Moorhead three years ago (7-10, 4.07 in 21 games and 22 total appearances) and finally got to make his major league debut with the Texas Rangers last weekend.

“It means everything,” Mann told hours before hurling 1.2 innings (one hit) in a 6-1 loss at Houston.  “Pretty amazing.  It has been a long journey.  I’m pretty excited.  I always believed so.  I always told myself I was a big leaguer.  To keep grinding it out to get the opportunity, you have to believe that you are”.

Mann had a 1.04 earned run average in 12 appearances at Triple-A Round Rock, and as Rangers manager Jeff Banister said:  “As the season progressed, Brandon continued to throw the ball very well.  The command of his fastball, command of his delivery, secondary stuff, how he was handling hitters, all our scouts felt he was a solid option.”

Mann was called on for a second time Tuesday night in Seattle, the area where he grew up, relieving in the fourth inning of an eventual 9-8, 11-inning loss for the Rangers.  He did his job with relatives and friends looking on, pitching another 1.2 scoreless innings while only allowing a double and hitting one batter.

Rangers reliever Tony Barnette, also from the Seattle suburbs and a high school opponent of his new teammate may have explained Mann’s situation best  when he told  “It’s not just a game for up-and-coming prospects.  It’s the beauty of the game.  If you can throw the ball and have hand-eye coordination, the possibilities are endless”.

Brandon Mann is getting his opportunity.

Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003.  He is a frequent contributor to the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball website, has a blog,, and a book about his life, “The Passion of Baseball”, is available at for books or Kindle readers, or for autographed copies at

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