Bryan Scoffield | Staff Writer
I grew up in a relatively small town in Virginia. It had all the cliches you could think of. Everyone knows each other, there’s nothing to do, family oriented, etc. I swore when I left that place for college, I was going to end up in a big city or super populated area. That was not the case and I ended up in another small town in the same state. The only difference here was that this place had something my hometown didn’t. A sports team. It wasn’t a billion dollar, globally recognized, star studded sports team. It was something much more simple and genuine. Every time the team played, the community would always show support. We felt the team’s joys, struggles, and sadness. The players were known around town and got along with everyone. Most importantly it gave the kids of the town a goal. When they were old enough, they would play for that team. This is exactly how it went for Brandon Peterson.
Depending on who’s asked, you’ll get mixed reviews of Utica. If you ask someone who lives outside of NY then they’ll have no idea about what you’re talking about. If you ask a NY native they still might not have an idea of what you’re talking about. If you ask Brandon Peterson, he’ll tell you it’s the place he grew up in, the place he made friends and memories, and the place where he found his love for baseball.
“Well I never really started playing baseball until I was eight, I was a lacrosse player. I kind of got bored of it [lacrosse] and then just picked baseball and went from there. It worked out pretty good” Peterson said while smirking a bit.
Peterson also played football and basketball, however once he started to see himself make substantial leaps and bounds when it came to baseball, he decided that it was the sport he wanted to pursue seriously. The other two sports would be played purley for fun. He said there is a clear distinction when playing a sport for fun, versus playing it out of passion and commitment.
“When playing sports just for fun you really don’t have to worry about committing anywhere, for baseball you still have to have fun but you always have that chip on your shoulder…to commit or do good for the people you want to do good for.” Just last year Peterson committed to play baseball collegiately at NJIT, New Jersey Institute of Technology.
But let’s take it back for a minute. Before he started seeing the progress on the field, before the commitment, etc. In the intro I said that Peterson found his love for baseball in Utica. How? The Utica Blue Sox.
“My parents got me into it, and from sixth grade year and on I always went to Blue Sox games. Ever since that you know Murnane has always been a nice place to go play.” Peterson would get his chance to play at Murnane when he was a freshman at Proctor.
He also stressed the impact that the team had on the community. Telling me that, for the baseball fans in Utica, it was amazing. If you didn’t have any plans, or weren’t able to go out to any other places to watch a team, the Blue Sox were the next best thing. A dominant summer team full of top class college players playing high level baseball. What more could a fan ask for?
Peterson added that one of his coaches and former Utica players also had a major impact on him. “I’ve always looked up to Franklin Jennings. He’s a coach and a friend now. So when you go and see how fun it is to watch people like him play, you always dream of doing the same.”
It was a dream and now it has turned into reality. Peterson will be playing for the Blue Sox this upcoming season. Although he will be one of the younger players on the team, he says he’s ready for the challenge and looks forward to the experience. He also believes everything comes full circle.
“That’s always a dream to be a player that someone looks up to. If someone looks up to you then you know you can play for that person. You can see where their goals are because you kinda are their goal.”
Follow the Utica Blue Sox on Twitter @Ubluesox, on Instagram @uticabluesox and on Facebook as well.