Brandon Knight Back From Japan

Posted by at 6 July, at 14 : 00 PM Print

Around the Cages with Dave Ricci

In baseball, as in life, if we’re lucky we learn from our mistakes.

Just ask Brandon Knight.

Originally drafted by Texas, Knight spent the first five seasons (1995-99) of his pro career in the Rangers system, until a 1999 trade shipped him to the New York Yankees.

But after spending the better part of 2000-02 with Triple-A Columbus and seeing only 11 games with the Bronx Bombers in 2003 Knight, then 27, took off for a three-year stint in Japan.

“I was too young to go over there,” Knight admitted. “It was a living thing. I wanted to make more money. It didn’t seem like I wasn’t going anywhere with the Yankees and to best honest I was a little frustrated. I’d go to the big league and I wouldn’t pitch. So that frustrated me plenty. When Japan was throwing guaranteed money at me, at the time it was hard to turn down. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the best idea because I was off the (baseball) map once I came back.”

Returning to the states in 2006 Knight spent the season with the Double-A Altoona where he established a franchise record 27 saves.

But the next calendar year was far from glorious, as he spent all of 2007 and the first month of 2008 playing in the Independent circuit with Somerset of the Atlantic League. Luckily for Knight the Mets came calling with a free agent contract in May of 2008. Sculpting a 5-1 record with Triple-A New Orleans last season Knight earned his first MLB win over Washington on September 17.

“I really believe that if I wouldn’t have gone I’d be talking to you in the big leagues having maybe four or five (MLB) years under my belt and not one,” Knight stated.

The definition of a roller coaster season 2008 also saw Knight experience the thrill of a lifetime as he helped Team USA win a bronze medal at Beijing Olympics.

“The biggest thing for me is it was just so unexpected,” said Knight. “At my age, the fact that a couple years ago I was pretty close to being out of baseball. To get chosen to go to the Olympics…obviously it’s a tremendous honor. But for someone like me who’s not a young guy and all of these guys (on the team) were big prospects for their team. To get that opportunity it was really cool.”

Knight made his presence known as he earned the win in Team USA’s 1-0 win over Taiwan that launched them into the medal round.

“Once I got there it was more ‘ok lets just get the job done,’” he said. “But before it was (a case) of, really? Me? Seriously? Is there another Brandon Knight?”

Now at, 33, Brandon Knight’s personal ups and downs in the game have cultivated him into a perfect leader for a young Bison pitching staff.

“He’s exactly the kind of guy that you want to have in your room,” said Herd manager Ken Oberkfell.

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