There are mixed emotions right now for Reid Brignac with the Super Bowl set to played in just a few hours at the Louisiana Superdome just an hour from St. Amant, Louisiana, where he grew up. It has to be exciting for Brignac to know that the Super Bowl is happening so close to home- but he can’t help but draw parallels between the Super Bowl that’s about to happen and his own career.
Tropicana Field is a domed stadium- even its detractors give it that- but it’s far from “Super.” At the same time, it’s a domed stadium where baseball is played on the world’s biggest stage, the major leagues. Today, the Super Bowl is going to played at the Superdome. Then, it’s going to be gone, not to return for several years. The same could be true of Brignac’s career. He reached the pinnacle, the major leagues, as a highly-touted prospect, was given an opportunity to be the Rays’ starting shortstop in 2011, but he failed, and now, it looks like his time may have past. He’s out of options and the Rays are making roster cuts, and Brignac could very well be on his way out. Marc Topkin reported that there has been some trade interest for Brignac, and a trade could materialize over the next week or two. His career is far from over- he’ll play for another organization, and if he plays enough, he’ll return to the major leagues and maybe even start living up to the potential people always thought he had. But now everything is up in the air, and Brignac has no idea where he’ll land.
Brignac- the name has to remind you of New Orleans. It’s the French pronunciation, “Brinyack” instead of “Briggnack,” an ode to New Orleans’ French roots. New Orleans residents have to baffled by the contrast between the glory their city is experiencing from the Super Bowl and the performance by their hometown Saints this past season in a disappointing year marred by Bountygate. They remember their Saints winning it all just three years ago, but that seems like a thing of the past and they’re wondering how they could have possibly gone from the height of that year to this inescapable feeling of knowing something is missing even as the Super Bowl heads to town. Instead of being part of the experience, they’re just bystanders hoping for the best. Brignac can say the same about his career with the Tampa Bay Rays as things have gotten out of his control and all he can do is sit and watch as he finds out where he’ll end up next season.
The Super Bowl has given sports fans some of the greatest games they have ever seen. No one can possibly deny that say Super Bowl XLII, punctuated by the David Tyree helmet catch, was one of the greatest games they had ever seen. But too often, it falls short. Last year’s Super Bowl was exciting, but it finished with the most anticlimactic game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl history when Ahmad Bradshaw sat down a tad too late and accidentally scored. Saints-Colts was exciting, but Peyton Manning didn’t play very well, and the Tracy Porter interception iced the game too early for there to be a great finish. And the last time the Ravens made the Super Bowl, 2001, they demolished the Giants in probably the most boring Super Bowl of all time. Just because it’s the biggest stage doesn’t mean everything is going to be as exciting as expected. MLB careers can be the same way. Even among the most talented prospects, some live up to billing but many more inevitably fall far short. Maybe it’s not too late for Reid Brignac. But his moment in the limelight seems to be ending for now, and it’s going to be an uphill battle for him to get back.
Reid Brignac, like everyone watching the Super Bowl today, is hoping to see a great game. Once it’s done, though, Brignac will return to devoting his attention to doing everything he can to make sure his opportunity to play in the major leagues doesn’t go to waste. Brignac doesn’t face the inevitability of the Super Bowl ending whether we like it or not when the clock in the fourth quarter reaches zeroes and a winner is declared. Whether in Tampa Bay or elsewhere, Brignac still has an opportunity to turn his career around. But as the fanfare leaves New Orleans and the 2012 NFL season becomes a thing of the past, Reid Brignac has to figure out where his career stands and how he’s going to react knowing that his career is hanging by a thread and the end of his dream of playing in the major leagues may be rapidly closing in.