Charger Sports Spotlight: Brandon LaManna

This edition of Charger Sports Spotlight features Brandon LaManna, a graduate student with a sports management degree, working on a general business degree. He is a relief pitcher from Long Island, NY who features a fastball, changeup and slider combination for the University of New Haven’s baseball team. LaManna wants to pursue his passion for baseball after he graduates, whether it be scouting or in the business side of athletics.

Baseball has been a part of LaManna’s life for almost 20 years and is the reason he came back to school for one more year to play a final season after last year’s was cut short due to COVID-19. He is a New York Yankees fan and gives credit to them for his interest in playing baseball. As a child, he loved watching them play, specifically players like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. He looks up to Rivera who was the closer for the Yankees and has the most career saves of all-time.

Just like his inspiration, Rivera, LaManna is now the closer for the Chargers, so there is no better relief pitcher to try and be like.
“I really liked the way Mariano carried himself,” said LaManna. He hopes to be like the 1996-2000 Yankees and bring some success to the team this year.

LaManna and the Chargers won the Northeast-10 (NE-10) title his freshman year and hope they can do it again in his final season.

“Winning the NE-10 on our home field and being able to dogpile on our field is something that I will always remember and something I hope to do again this year,” LaManna said. “It is my favorite memory from all my years of playing so far.”

LaManna’s favorite part about being on the team is being around all his teammates and winning. In his years on the team, they have pulled together multiple winning seasons and he hopes to continue this success this season. His one personal goal for the season is to break the single-season record for relief appearances. The current record is 26 games in a season, but he is unsure if that is possible this season with the 32 games they are scheduled to play–but it is still worth a shot.

“It all depends on how the games play out.” he said. LaManna was close to breaking this record, appearing in 25 games in 2018.

One thing this pandemic has taught LaManna is that “life can change on a flip of a coin. March 8th was our last game last year when we thought we were only going home for two weeks.” Currently, there are plans to have a Spring baseball season for all the players to finally get back on the field.
One tradition the team has before games is hanging their jerseys on the railing of the dugout while they have batting practice and do other drills. Right before the game, they put their jerseys back on, and it might just feel extra special after not being able to play for a year.