ANAHEIM, Calif. This season marked the first time that Houston Astros' outfielder Brandon Barnes was able to play at Angel Stadium, against the team he always grew up watching.
But the Big A wasn't the field he expected to ever play on. While at nearby Katella high school, the Orange native thought he would be playing about 45 miles away at the Rose Bowl for UCLA.
In order to get to the major leagues and the stadium that he used to skateboard to as a kid, he had to give up his first love: Football.
Education was the driving factor, as he learned that his skills on the gridiron were more likely to land him a scholarship than his skills on the diamond. The prospect of a prestigious education at UCLA was enticing, so Barnes gave up baseball his senior year of high school in order to put all of his efforts into football. It paid off he signed with the Bruins as a safety.
"My parents didn't have money to send me to college," Barnes said. I wanted to go get an education. Baseball...