The Story of Paul Brandley
Paul’s Early History
It all began with a bunt off the bat of Mark Belanger in 1980. Bob Brandley snapped that photo and, once printed, place it high atop the mantle amongst other Baltimore-sports relics at the home he shared with his wife, Bethel Brandley. All of the classic teams and players were there, even the teams that no longer existed in Baltimore. Regardless of the teams, the photos and the memories stayed at home.
Bob Brandley was no writer. He knew he wasn’t good with words, but he wanted to take something home from the games when he got the chance to go. He wanted to have something to hold onto when he had trouble holding on to anything. So, after he got his first Kodak camera, he started trying to go to games as often as he could to snap photos that he could bring home. Almost as difficult as finding tickets was finding someone who was willing to do him the favor of developing his photos, but the challenge was always worth it. Coming home to a set of photos like the one on the mantle was like coming home to a season-ticket seat. The players were all there, waiting for him, in the photos.
It was through these photos that Bob Brandley transferred a passion for sports journalism to his son, Paul Brandley. Young Paul spent a lot of time on the floor underneath the mantle, staring up at what looked like mythical figures who had been expertly captured during intense moments: right after a buzzer beating 3-pointer, mid-swing so that the baseball bat seemed to smudge across the page, reaching up to catch a high-throw touchdown pass, etc.
The Bunt that Changed Everything
However, the one that caught Young Paul’s eye and imagination was the Mark Belanger bunt photo. In the midst of all of these intense photos was this Baltimore Oriole who seemed physically capable, but, maybe just this moment, completely ignorant of how to hold a baseball bat. How did he make it onto the Baltimore Orioles? Were his teammates embarrassed at his momentary lapse? Did he stay on the squad?
All of these questions barreled around in the 3-year old’s mind. It was this inferno of curiosity that gave birth to Paul Brandley, Baltimore’s Native Son and Sportswriter.
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