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Funny, that guy doesn't look like Mario Lemieux...

Funny, that guy doesn’t look like Mario Lemieux…

See, this is exactly why the Pittsburgh Pirates brought in VCU alum Brandon Inge (stats), because he can play third, second, first, right field and left wing. But seriously, Inge may not be an All-Star, but he’s a veteran presence in the clubhouse a young team like Pittsburgh, which is trying to break an MLB-record string of 20 straight losing seasons, desperately needs. Pittsburgh is currently 11 games over .500 and in second place in the NL Central Division. The difference, as always, is the VCU blood, obviously.

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VCU senior pitcher Ryan Farrar is 4-4 this season with a 3.73 ERA in 10 starts.

VCU senior pitcher Ryan Farrar is 4-4 this season with a 3.73 ERA in 10 starts.

RICHMOND, Va. – Ryan Farrar needed some time to think. His professional baseball dream was dangling in front of him like a carrot on a string, and he had a potentially life-changing decision to make. He walked out of his parents’ kitchen and onto the front porch and buried his head in his hands.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had called in 11th round of last year’s amateur draft and made the VCU left-handed pitcher an offer. It wasn’t run-out-and-get-a-Rolls money. It wasn’t even what Farrar had mentally set as his minimum requirement, but it was a chance to play baseball for a living. On the other hand, Farrar still had one year of eligibility remaining, another year of college, another year to polish his skills.

A lot of players would spring out of their cleats for a shot at pro ball. But Farrar was waging an inner war.

“It was awful,” he says. “I just sat on my front porch by myself. I didn’t want to be around anyone, and I was pulling my hair out of my head and thinking, ‘How can I turn down this kind of money to go play baseball?’”

Farrar looked his boyhood dream in the eyes and said, “No thanks.”

He told the Pirates it was about the money, but Farrar says that was a convenient excuse, his “out pitch”, if you will.


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