After 6 seasons in the MABL, Royals’ catcher Brendan Gripp is moving back to California to further his college education. The 4-time All Star and Summer 2018 Gold Glove award winner was a career .361 hitter, and was easily recognized by his flowing orange locks and hard-nosed style of play.
The following was submitted by Gripps, as the inaugural post of the MABL Players’ Tribune.
When I first moved to Maui I found myself in a new land, with new people, and very little direction. The only things I knew were that I had packed my bags to live a better life across the Pacific, and that I needed to figure things out quickly if I was going to survive. I knew that I had to find my spot in a world that was known for being a tough place for outsiders to fit into. What the hell was I going to do now? Used to surf a little bit growing up.. nah still pretty much suck at that but okay. I’ve always loved fishing, could this be my thing? Yeah fishing is super cool but the fish just didn’t seem to understand that to be my passion in this new place that I was going to need them to hurry up and take my bait or I was going to have to find something else to do, a man can only “catch so many buzzes” before the joke wears off. Around this time I was invited to go to the championship game of the MABL between the Centipedes and the Rays. While I sat up the left-field line watching all the guys play their hearts out and cheer each other on I had finally realized what was missing and what I was going to do. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to watch one more game from the other side of the chalk and this was the time to change things. Throughout the course of the next 3 years something truly remarkable happened. I had found what was missing in my life all these years and I owe it all to the MABL and it’s amazing group of players, umpires, coaches, and fans for helping me find it. I’d always loved the game but once the league provided me the opportunity to rekindle that love, my life would be forever changed. I would be eternally grateful for the relationships that were forged during those 3 hour intervals on the diamond and even more grateful once I got to know these men, which I would soon call my friends, off of the diamond. One of my favorite things about the MABL is how different everyone is but how after all these years that we still hold the same love for the game. This guy is a tile guru, I heard this guy does some crazy stuff with lazers up at the crater, I know this guy saves lives.. There is truly a representation from every profession and every walk of life imaginable and it quickly becomes a family. We all get together each and every Sunday because we want to and we wouldn’t want to spend the day doing anything else and it’s beautiful. That’s one of the things that made my time in the league truly special and a time that I will never forget. Hell, might even tell my little grand Gripps about it one day! I loved how every guy out there would give his all for the sake of competing and for the other guys in the dugout wearing the same jersey as him, or her, I see you Rayna! At the end of the day I can honestly say that some of the best memories, best friendships, and best competition I’ve ever been blessed enough to be apart of have come from the MABL and I don’t think that I would have survived nor enjoyed my time on Maui as much as I did without it. For that I am truly grateful and indebted to the MABL, it’s umpires, fans and everyone I ever crossed those lines with. With great love and adoration, thank you very much for everything Maui Adult Baseball League, it’s been a real hit!
Sincerely, Brendan Gripp #4