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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ryan LaMarre's Journey To Find His Dream

Ryan LaMarre had a whirlwind trip to get to the Major Leagues.

Louisville manager, Delino DeSheilds, came running out to the bullpen where the 26-year old second round pick in the 2010 draft was watching pitchers throw a bullpen.

"LaMarre, LaMarre (pronounced la MAR)," DeShields yelled on the run.

LaMarre, who was removed from the Reds' 40-man roster last August when the Reds signed Raisel Iglesias, wondered, "What did I do now."  He had no reason to expect a call to the Major Leagues just from the fact he was not on that key list.  From experience he knew that a player had to be removed from the roster for another player to be added.  The trading deadline was over and the anticipated trade for Jay Bruce didn't happen. Alas, Marlon Byrd cleared waivers and was traded to the San Francisco Giants.

"Delino told me I'd been called up," LaMarre said. "I asked him what happened. He just said that I had a flight at 6:00 and to get my things together.  It was a whirlwind, surreal."

LaMarre missed the flight.

"It took a while to get to the airport. I missed my flight," LaMarre said.  Missing that flight out of the Atlanta area, where the Louisville Bats were playing the Braves Gwinnett team in the area. "I stayed overnight and flew to Louisville in the morning. I cleaned out my apartment and got my car to drive here."

The trip, though intensely nerve racking, pales in comparison to the hurdles face by the organization's Best Defensive Outfielder as rated by "Baseball America" from 2010-2013.  The 2014 season was a nightmare.
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The University of Michigan grad played in the prestigious Arizona Fall League where the top three prospects from each organization play in a league from October to December.

"I tweaked my groin in the Fall League," LaMarre said.  "I also had a shin thing, that I thought were shin splints.  Jim Riggleman pulled me out of a game because he thought I wasn't running as fast as I usually did."

On May 28, LaMarre had an MRI and found out his shin was broken and that his groin was torn on both sides. He had surgery on June 6 that ended his season.

"It was a tough year," said LaMarre, who could have signed anywhere as a free agent after his release last August 15.  He resigned with the Reds on August 19. "This is where I wanted to sign. I didn't want to sign with any other organization."

"I wish I could have made it sooner but I'm really happy to be here now," LaMarre said. "Things happen for a reason."

The Reds are playing with a short bench and Billy Hamilton is on the disabled list.  The Reds needed to fill the bench.

"Walt (Jocketty) talked to Delino Deshields and Jeff Graupe (the Reds' director of player development). They told us that Ryan was the most prepared.  We always new he could defend. It was a question of whether he could hit. He was banged up but lately he's done some good things and has gotten to his power a little bit."

LaMarre played in 91 games with Louisville, hitting .257 with 17 doubles, one triple, eight home runs and driving in 18 runs, while stealing 11 bases.

The native of Royal Oak, Michigan, who was raised in Jackson, Michigan, has good timing. The Reds play the Detroit Tigers in a make up game on Monday.  LaMarre grew up rooting for the Tigers.

"It is a thrill to play against the Tigers but I'm going to help us win," LaMarre said.  "I like Ohio, the state but I draw the line with the Buckeyes. I can't do that."

LaMarre worked with Barry Larkin in spring training, one on one.  Larkin was one of three University of Michigan grads on the 1990 wire-to-wire World Champion team. Chris Sabo and Hal Morris were also Wolverines.

"I was playing at Michigan, when Barry Larkin's number was retired and met him then," said LaMarre who won the Bill Freehan Award as Michigan's leading hitter in 2009. "He remembered me and it was so unbelievable to work with him in spring training."

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