Alcorn State grad living the dream in professional baseball

Published 9:59 am Thursday, November 30, 2023

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PITTSBURGH — Alcorn State alumnus and former baseball player Brandon Rembert is still involved with the game he loves. Rembert played baseball for the Braves for three years before going to work in professional baseball after graduation. 

Rembert is a native of Pensacola, Florida, and played baseball at Faulkner University and Coastal Alabama Community College before finishing his career at Alcorn State. Going into his final year with the Braves, Rembert was listed as a top-10 HBCU prospect for professional baseball going into the 2021 season.

During a scrimmage, Rembert was rounding one of the bases when he collapsed due to a hamstring injury. Everytime he tried to make a return to playing his injury worsened. Rembert said he took a break from life and obtained his masters in Athletic Administration and coaching from Alcorn State. 

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“It was hard. It was a hard time in my life. I wanted to play professional baseball. I thought if I had a good season I could,” Rembert said. “I took up coaching at my high school and coached a 9U travel team. I always felt like I wanted more though. An opportunity came up with the Pirates. I went through a bunch of interviews. They all went well and they brought me on. It was an angel in disguise. A guy handed my resume to them. It is how it went about. I didn’t know what happened until months later. He used to come and speak at Alcorn State. He works at MLB as the Senior Director of the Diversity Program now. He gave us his email and wanted us to stay in touch. After the season, I decided to reach out and see what was out there. Next thing I know the Pirates are reaching out. Being at Alcorn helped me build that relationship. It led me to get this job now. It was huge for me.” 

Living the dream

Rembert currently works as a Minor League Baseball Operations Assistant for the Pittsburgh Pirates but will work in the amateur scouting department. 

Rembert said Historically Black Colleges and Universities Graduates are minorly represented in Major League Baseball although the employment of HBCU graduates is improving. 

He said he wants people back in Lorman to understand that anyone can work in a prominent industry like the MLB. Alcorn State helped him along his journey to a career. 

“Even the people who do know it’s possible to work at this level may not see themselves doing it. They may think they will have to be superstars. Not everyone will make it to the big leagues, just the 1 percent of players,” Rembert said. “They need to take advantage of what they have. Internships and fellowships to work. They need to take advantage. You have to have the character, work ethic and academics. It all goes hand and hand. They may slack in class and not care as much about education as they do athletics. They are both important. It is all about taking advantage of the opportunities. Alcorn has impacted people beyond being in school.” 

One thing he remembers about Lorman is how much of a family oriented environment it was. He recalls the move to Lorman as a tough transition from city life to living in the rural countryside of Mississippi. Rembert said he had to plan his 45 minute trips to Walmart. 

“It taught me how to figure stuff out. We made our own fun and just had to figure things out,” Rembert said. “It was fun to try and make something out of nothing”

Seizing opportunities

One of the first things Rembert did after going to work for the Pirates was spend a year in the Dominican Republic working at a baseball academy. It was a different cultural experience compared to his time in Lorman or growing up in Pensacola, Florida. 

Rembert said he didn’t speak much Spanish but the culture there was crazy about baseball. They shared a mutual love for the game which transcended language. The experience forced him to adapt and learn as much as he could as well. 

“I am really thankful for the experience. It got me out of my comfort zone. It is something I really needed. You need to be pushed to be better,” Rembert said. “It helped me grow professionally. They love the game, it is a different type of baseball down there with real high energy. They have a different perspective of life.” 

He said the kids in the academy were 16 to 18 years old and were basically professional high schoolers. It was cool for him to see the process of guys developing into players that one day could be playing in the big leagues. 

The food there was pretty good too. Steak, salmon and traditional Dominican dishes featuring plantains were commonly served at the academy’s cafeteria. Rembert said he misses the food there and has tried his best to make it at home. 

“I’m trying to learn how to make those dishes,” Rembert said. “Plantains, I can’t cook it like they can.” 

He will step into a new role during the 2024 season but still plans to work towards one goal, winning in Pittsburgh. His job is all about helping the team win and improving players. 

Rembert said he didn’t have a set out plan after he got hurt at Alcorn. He felt like there was more for him to do than coach high school ball and he could make an impact at a higher level. 

One of the ways he tries to make an impact is by connecting with players. The baseball season is a long grind so he spends a lot of time around players in the organization. Rembert said he tries to learn more about the players, what they do for fun, their family and plans. 

He said some people may see professional baseball players as just ball players but he tries to see them as people who play baseball. 

“I try to encourage them. They need someone to talk to, especially the foreign players. I help out when needed,” Rembert said. “At the end of the day they are why we have jobs. Pouring into those guys and getting them to trust in me. I’m doing my part to move the needle in the right direction.” 

His advice for students at Alcorn or any university is to take advantage of their education. Keep an open mind and start building relationships now. He said grades do matter so utilize the resources available at school.While his talents do not help the Pirates organization, his intelligence does. 

During baseball season Rembert spends his limited free time in the gym. Once the season is over he hangs out with friends and tries to stay in touch with people to redeem the time lost over the season. 

Rembert has six siblings. A few of his sisters play softball, his brother Chris is committed to Auburn University. His grandmother and older brother are Yankee fans. His grandfather loved baseball and helped grow the love in the Rembert family. 

Baseball is closely connected to life largely because it has been a part of his life for so long. 

“Baseball has taught me so much about life and how to overcome adversity. It taught me a work ethic and gave me a chance to get an education. It has given me a lot,” Rembert said. “I want to retire in the MLB. Being here is hard so keeping your job is harder. I want to give back by speaking to schools, telling my story and how I ended up where I am today.”