Bainbridge High School baseball coach Geoffrey Brown has always wanted to give back to youth in the Greater Seattle area. The Seattle native has decided to fulfill that dream by helping young baseball players.
“Growing up, I didn’t have it easy,” Brown said. “I had a single mom but dealt with a lot of drugs and alcohol around me. Baseball was my way to college and chase a dream to professional baseball.”
Brown lived with one of his coaches for a handful of months to pursue his baseball dreams. “That has stuck with me as a person, and I want to give that back to the kids I coach now because it kept me out of trouble and helped me become a better person.”
Brown originally was drafted out of high school to the Kansas City Royals in the 23rd round in 2007. However, he decided to play at the University of Washington until 2011.
After his collegiate career, where he pitched over 65 innings as a senior with a 5.76 ERA, he was signed to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2012. He played up to 2014 in Single-A for the Great Lakes Loons and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. His best stint came in 2013 when he had a record of 12-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 56 strikeouts.
When Brown’s playing career ended in 2014, he returned to Seattle to take part in the City Baseball Academy. But BHS began to pursue Brown as their head coach in 2019. Brown came to BI and built his own business in August 2020.
“Geo is the most reliable guy ever,” said Coco Black, a senior on the BHS team. “He is really heart-to-heart with you. He treats you as an equal, and he is reputable. I know I can trust the stuff he is saying.”
“I bet on myself,” Brown said. “It is my first time running a business and doing my own thing. I worked my butt off to build this program, and it has been fun doing it.”
Brown runs Island Baseball Co. year-round as an opportunity for high-level training for kids ages 8-18.
“When we get the text that practice was moved from the field to here, we always smile because we know we are out of the rain and cold weather,” said Luke Lavigne, another BHS senior.
Since opening his doors, Brown has worked with kids across the state, including former Spartan pitcher JR Ritchie, who is now in the Atlanta Braves minor league system after signing a $2.4 million professional contract.
“I actually like being able to work with kids all over and see how they handle situations away from a controlled space like this,” Brown said. “I can give them legitimate feedback, even if it’s against myself.”
Brown is able to provide experiences to kids at every level and teach them the fundamentals of the game. “This game is built off of failure,” Brown said. “For them, to be able to grasp that mentally that you are going to fail and have a positive mindset, it helps them in life. If you can handle that on the field, you can handle many things in life.”
Another BHS senior, Eddie Bignold, added Brown has helped him and his teammates learn about professionalism, how to present yourself as a human being, have a high work ethic and more.
Brown helps all kids who want a place to escape. “I am able to give them a safe place to not only play baseball or have fun, but a place to feel comfortable to talk about certain things they have at home, school or outside world.”
Lavigne said, “Off the field, he always makes it known we can come to him for anything. He’s there and available for anything we need.”
Instead of taking in 50 kids per camp, Brown will take up to 10 for a time slot and allow each one-on-one time with him.
Since starting the business, Brown’s favorite aspect of the camps is seeing himself in some of the young players.
“I love seeing kids get excited about baseball like how I grew up,” Brown said. “I would be excited to watch Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez and try to imitate their swings. Seeing that same smile and twinkle in their eye is the most fun thing about it.”
Brown’s assistant coach, Gregg Mesmer, added that Brown is a perfect fit for Bainbridge. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in him,” Mesmer said. “He has so much experience and is a teacher in life as well as a coach.”