Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brandon High School slugger is rehabbing knee

BRANDON — For nearly as long as he can remember, Brandon High School's James Ramsay has spent each summer on the baseball field. From Little League All Stars to AAU to baseball showcases, summer meant playing baseball.

This summer, however, has been far from typical.

Ramsay has spent the better part of the last four months rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, an injury sustained just prior to the start of the 2009 season. And while he's just beginning to resume activity on the field, most of Ramsay's summer has been spent in a doctor's office.

"It's been strange not playing baseball like I have almost every summer," he said. "But the rehab is going well, and I'm looking forward to next season."

Ramsay wishes he had a snappy story about how he tore his knee. It didn't happen on a highlight-reel catch or stealing home to win a game. It came on a play that Ramsay had done countless times before.

Ramsay was charging in on a fly ball during one of the Eagles' final preseason practices when he attempted a sliding catch. As he slid feet first, Ramsay's ankle caught in the grass and he heard a popping sound in his knee.

"It scared me more than anything," Ramsay said. "But then I went to get up, and it just gave out. I knew something was wrong then."

Ramsay, the St. Petersburg Times Hillsborough County Player of the Year and first team 5A All State selection as a sophomore in 2008, saw a doctor and the prognosis wasn't good. Ramsay's junior year was finished, and surgery was necessary.

"We made it to (the) state (tournament) the year before, so I was excited to get going in my junior year," Ramsay said. "I was devastated."

Ramsay's future flashed before him as he prepared to go under the knife. How would the knee respond to surgery? Would his scholarship to the University of South Florida, a school to which Ramsay verbally committed in January, still be there? How would this affect his chances in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft?

But Ramsay worried most about the Eagles.

"I felt like I let the guys down when it happened," Ramsay said. "I felt like I let all our fans down."

So just days after his surgery, Ramsay put on his jersey and showed up to Brandon's game.

"A lot of kids would have moped around after something like that took away their season," Brandon coach Matt Stallbaumer said. "I mean, this kid is fresh off of surgery, and here he is in full uniform to be with his team and cheer them on."

Although Ramsay said "it hurt me too much sometimes" to go to all the games, he was there for most of them. He couldn't help out in the batter's box, but he could still lead by example.

"I think he helped to motivate the team," Stallbaumer said. "That's just the type of kid James is."

Now that his knee is regaining strength through weight training and agility drills, Ramsay plans to help the Eagles return to the state final four when baseball season rolls around. He expects to be cleared to run Aug. 20, then resume working out with the Eagles during fall practices.

Ramsay said his biggest hurdle will be the mental side of things.

"That first time I slide or dive, it will be tough," he said. "But all this is just a curveball that I have to adjust to."

And while Ramsay may not be hitting to many of those curveballs on the diamond this summer, he said taking a few months off isn't the worst thing in the world.

"It's kind of a blessing because I've never had this kind of time during the summer. I've been able to go to the beach and stuff like that," he said. "It's been great spending a lot of time with my friends and family. ... But man, I can't wait to get back out there."

Brandon Wright can be reached at

Brandon High School slugger is rehabbing knee 07/23/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 23, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    The Rays had good reason to have faith in RHP Erasmo Ramirez starting Monday after closing Sunday based on his resiliency, versatility and efficiency. But it still turned out to be a bad idea as he allowed four runs without getting through three innings.

  3. Rays journal: Dugout bench becomes bed for Logan Morrison at end of long night

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays found creative ways to get through the physical and mental fatigue of the 6½ hours they spent playing — and ultimately winning — Sunday's game in Minnesota.

    Corey Dickerson drapes towels over an exhausted Logan Morrison in the dugout during the 15th inning of Sunday’s marathon victory.
  4. Rays at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington, Texas

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Rangers

    8:05, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 2: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
  5. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]