By Edwin Vega
For the Fort Bend Star
A day in the life of Sugar Land Skeeters infielder Bryan Pounds revolves around practice, games, meals, sleep and travel.
Game days are routine for Pounds as he wakes up no later than 11 a.m. and starts his day with a prayer and a high protein breakfast before heading to the stadium. Once there, he begins his pre-game routine that consists of various drills to loosen his muscles. As an infielder, playing third base requires him to focus on reaction drills, which help with skill and performance. His most important routines; however, are prayer, meditation and self-reflection.
“I start my day with band activation work outs and kettle bell swings, the same movements every day to get the body going,” he said. “I hit the cage, hit a few balls, stretch, but most importantly I take time to reflect on myself. I’m still doing this because I know God has me here and I do it in a way that he empowers me.”
He said his faith is central to his life in baseball.
“I’ve been a Christian my whole life and at this point, He is the only reason that I am still playing,” he said. “And obviously, I love the game.”
As a player being constantly evaluated by Skeeters coaching staff, he considers himself his biggest critic and always strives to become a better ball player.
“The one thing that hurts my game is my speed,” he said. “I’m not slow, but I’m not fast. I do continue to work at it to increase my performance.”
For practical and team-building reasons, the entire team travels together. Life isn’t always easy on the road, especially being on a bus for long periods of time, but he admits that his teammates are like his second family and they have a close relationship, which makes travelling much easier and less stressful.
“The camaraderie within the club, especially on the road, is perhaps my favorite thing about being a ball player,” he said. “Travelling and hanging out in the clubhouse with a bunch of guys that eventually become your second family. It’s a cool atmosphere.”
Once they arrive at their destination, the players bunk with the same roommate during each hotel stay throughout he season. On the road, routine is the same, practice, games, meals, sleep. However, the most popular activity within the players is down time. Post-game routine consists of stretching; however, the most popular activities consist of relaxing, sleeping, eating and playing cards.
“Down time is something we look forward to because it gives us an opportunity to relax, eat, sleep and just goof around,” he said. “We love to play cards and occasionally go out and have a beer.”
“Road games can be tough, but we use that to our advantage,” he said. “Team morale is higher on the road.”
Although he has played several positions since college, his favorite position to play is third base.
“Growing up I played everywhere, mainly infield,” he said. “Ever since I’ve been playing pro ball, I’ve been a third baseman and it’s my comfort zone.”
As a Houston native and University of Houston graduate, he enjoys playing for the Skeeters because it allows him to be close to his family and friends.
“I love it here,” he said. “I’m from Houston and it’s great to see my family and friends come out to see me play, but really, it’s the way they run things here. They run this place like it’s an AAA organization and I’ve never been a part of that in independent ball.”
He is a big fan of Craig Biggio and the Houston Astros and hopes to one day have the opportunity to play for the home team, though he admits he is also a fan of the Boston Red Sox.
“I love Boston and I would love to play for that city,” he said. “It’s a very inviting city and even though I’m an Astros fan, I would love to play for the Red Sox because of their team history.”
Pounds was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2008 and rose to the AAA level several times in four years with the organization. He came to the Skeeters early in this season after spending the previous two years with the York Revolution.
In the offseason he stays focused on his goals to become a better ball player. Training takes up most of his time, but he admits that as his 11th season approaches, the challenges of being an athlete become more apparent.
He admits that the one thing he will miss when he retires will be the relationship he has with his teammates.
“The day that I hang the cleats up, the thing I’m going to miss the most is the camaraderie in the clubhouse,” he said. “I think I speak for a lot of people that hang the cleats up, this is what they miss the most about playing baseball.”
The Skeeters went 3-4 last week, finishing out a home stand against the Lancaster Barnstormers by losing two of three games and then going 2-2 on the road to the York Revolution.
Player-coach Travis Scott is leading the team at the plate with eight home runs and 41 runs-batted-in. Michael Nix continues to lead the Skeeters’ starting pitchers and the Atlantic League with a 9-5 record, 75 strikeouts and a 2.24 earned run average.
The Skeeters are playing three games at the Long Island Ducks and return home Friday night for a six-game series with the Somerset Patriots. Friday night features post-game fireworks, Saturday is a desk weight ring replica giveaway and Sunday is a team card set giveaway.
Skeeter of the Week
Bryan Pounds is the Skeeter of the week. For the last week he is hitting .391 with nine hits, a home run and an RBI.