Goss: Sing anticipating last ‘go-round’
January 26, 2012 5:06PM
Brandon Sing (left) has been invited to camp by the Arizona Diamondbacks. | File photo
Updated: February 28, 2012 8:09AM
Brandon Sing always had good range on his jump shot.
He also could hit a fastball a country mile.
Yes, it seems like only yesterday Sing was playing basketball and baseball for Joliet Township. In fact, he led the state in home runs his senior season before the Cubs selected him in the 20th round of the draft.
That was 1999. How time flies.
Sing still is knocking the cover off the ball anywhere he plays. But he will turn 31 in March, and the clock is ticking on his dream of getting back into affiliated ball.
Maybe this time.
As always, Sing was among the featured celebrities at Saturday’s Wish Upon A Star Benefit Softball Game in the Snow at St. Joseph Park. “I wouldn’t miss this,” he said. “If I can keep making a contribution to this event, I will.”
During our discussion, he disclosed he’s been invited to an individual workout at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ training camp in late February.
“They were looking through the independent ranks for a first baseman for Double A or Triple A,” Sing said. “A guy who had scouted me previously saw me and arranged it.”
Sing is coming off a second straight strong season with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association. He hit .303 with 24 homers, 28 doubles and 70 RBI in 2011. That was on the heels of a monster 2010, when he hit .349 with 27 homers, 32 doubles, two triples and 73 RBI while setting the American Association record with a .702 slugging percentage.
He began the offseason in the Mexican League, which is considered Triple-A caliber, and was atop the league home run charts in the early going. But fatherhood was calling.
“The last few weeks I was there I really wanted to be back home with my wife, Laura (the Sings live in northern Mississippi),” he said. “The team understood that, and I left. I thought I might go back but it didn’t work out.”
Bronson, Brandon’s and Laura’s first child, was born Dec. 2. “It was too hard to go through getting ready for that when I was in Mexico,” he said.
Over his pro career, Sing has played in the Cubs and Orioles organizations, in addition to multiple stints in independent ball. For all the times he wondered what it would take to return to affiliated ball, he is thankful for the opportunity with the Diamondbacks.
“I figure this is my last go-round and I would like to pursue something other than independent ball,” he said. “I look at this shot with the Diamondbacks where something good might happen. Last year they started dipping more into the independent pool, and they had some success with it.
“I know I deserve another shot. I hope I get invited to spring training. Guys like me are hungry. We look at something like this as our chance to prove people wrong.”
Coincidentally, Joliet native and Slammers record-setting relief pitcher Ryan Quigley will be with the Diamondbacks in camp, hoping to earn a spot at the Double-A or Triple-A level.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Sing has hit 228 homers in his pro career, including six in the fall in Mexico, some against big names.
“I was looking through some stuff at my parents’ house and there was a story about me hitting a homer off Josh Johnson, the pitcher on the Marlins, when I faced him in 2004,” he said. “I’ve done well against a lot of guys who are in the big leagues.”
Before he heads to Arizona, Sing will not be sleeping much. And he loves it.
“I feel good. I still feel like a young kid,” he said. “Maybe I’m a little tired now trying to get sleep with the little guy. It’s funny, my whole life seven or eight hours of sleep sometimes was not enough, and now I get three hours and I’m wide awake.”
Regardless of how the opportunity with the Diamondbacks works out, Sing said he plans to do something with baseball when his playing days are over.
“Right now, I give lessons,” he said. “I have a lot of knowledge from all the people who have helped me, and I want to use it to further young kids’ careers.
“I’d love to coach on the college level some day; if not that, then high school. But for now, I have the support from my family to keep playing.”