Today, the Royals cut the one and only, Brayan Pena. Here is a tribute:
Brayan Pena will live in Royals lore for days and days to come. He was the chubby #27 with the big grin and the unorthodox bat flip. He had a very positive attitude, but his baseball quirks were very peculiar. When he stepped onto the field, he left nearly every fan in awe.....from the weird things he seemed to always do. From missed tags to stupid bat flips, nothing was off the table for Brayan Pena. If he hit the game winning home run, and nobody gave him a gatorade bath, he would probably have given himself one. I am going to list off some of my favorite Brayan Pena moments and quirks.
- The classic double earred helmet. So classic that it is rarely seen in the majors. Most switch hitters use two helmets. Brayan Pena didnt want that. Brayan Pena wanted one helmet. Brayan Pena wanted to protect both ears at the same time. Brayan Pena wanted to look like a clown chugging down the first base line. What Brayan Pena wants, Brayan Pena gets.
- Another Brayan Pena-only habit was to take the ball out of his hand after making a tag. For some reason, he always felt like he needed to switch the ball to his off hand. For no reason other than to show the ball off after tagging the runner out. This actually cost him in a game earlier this year. He caught the ball, in his glove, in perfect position to tag the guy out. But he decided to switch the ball to his hand and he ended up dropping the ball and the guy was safe. What a dumb move.
- Mr. Brayan Pena had a knack for making regular plays look elaborate. Not sure why, or how, but he did it. Whether it was flipping his bat after a routine fly ball to center, or a superman slide into second base, he did it. The bat flip was classic, but not many people are aware of his sliding show.
- The man always seemed to take a hit while trying to tag the runner out at home. Unfortunately, he wasn't always successful. One particular instance was against Texas. It was a tie game. The throw was delivered perfectly to Pena with plenty of time to tag the runner out. But, at the last moment, he decided to step back and let the runner have the plate. Player scored, Texas wins. The event is chronicled in the photos below:
In the end, Brayan Pena wasn't my favorite, nor was he a great catcher. But he was a great player to have in the clubhouse and he provided some comic relief for players and fans alike. I won't miss him and his crazy, and often unnecessary, antics on the diamond, but it was always fun to watch what unique thing he would do next. Best of luck to him.