Brian Bruney is one intense dude
Not often does live batting practice on a back field in March reveal much about a new player's character. But today, throwing his second such session of the spring, Brian Bruney showed something about the kind of pitcher the Nationals are getting in their new set-up man.
Bruney was zipping through his throwing, grunting with each pitch. He seemed to be commanding his pitches, in control of his mechanics and generally having the kind of practice that satisfies a pitcher on March 1. And then he sailed just one fastball high off the catcher's mitt and to the backstop.
Bruney stomped back to the rubber and let out a torrent of words and phrases that you can't come even close to printing. He smacked his glove and kicked some dirt. It was not the kind of brief emotional turmoil expected three days before the first split-squad game, and it spoke to the manner in which Bruney approaches his job.
"I'll tell you what, man," Bruney said. "I try to do everything that I do with a lot of intensity. I want to do so good out there. Sometimes I do probably wear my emotions on my sleeve. But at least you know I care."
Bruney explained why that one pitch in particular set him off. He can live with balls and missed locations; that happens. On that pitch that sailed high, he caught himself losing concentration, which he found unacceptable.
"I kind of approach things differently now," Bruney said. "I'm so focused. My level of focus is ridiculous. I can't even tell you. That's how locked in I am. I'm not worried any hitter, coach, or anybody that's around. I'm throwing my pitches. I'm locked into what I'm doing. When I get mad at myself, I let myself know. I think sometimes, for myself, I tend to get kind of cocky. I'll let myself wander. When I'm good, I'm thinking about the pitch, execution, where I want the ball to be. When I throw a few of those in a row and I'm doing good, I get cocky. I tend to lose my focus a little bit. It's not so much the pitch location, where it's at. I was mad at myself for losing focus. That's when I get mad. When I lose focus, I get mad. I just feel like I need to take advantage of every time I step on the mound."
Bruney is mild-mannered and easy to talk to, but he comes off as an intense guy. Most of his upper body is covered in tattoos. He has one that covers the space from his right elbow to the right side of his neck that took 22 hours to complete.
"I don't like to lose at anything," Bruney said. "If you tell me I can't do something, I'll try it until I probably prove you wrong. It's just the way I am. When I come to the field, man, all I want to do is pitch. That's it. On the days that I don't pitch, I'm not having very much fun. That's where I have my fun, is out there on the mound. I love to compete."
Quick note: Individual game tickets for 2010 go on sale tomorrow. You can find more information on tickets here.
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