All-Ivy outfielder Rick Brebner, a 2014 graduate, was at the center of Penn baseball’s success this past season. Relieved to give his body a rest but unsure of his next move after a sports-centric youth, Brebner reflects on an exhilarating senior season, lost MLB dreams and having his own parody Twitter account.
The Daily Pennsylvanian: What are your plans for the near future?
Rick Brebner: Right now, I’m relaxing a bit, trying to gather my thoughts and give my body a rest after the season. I’m looking for jobs right now. It’s pretty tough. I don’t have much prior experience, because I’ve played sports my entire life. Right now I’m trying to figure out my next move and have some fun.
DP: What was your attitude as a baseball player coming into college, in terms of your hopes to play after college?
RB: My entire life I’ve been hoping to play professional baseball one day. All throughout high school that was my main goal. My number one priority was to play baseball in college, and when Penn recruited me, it was a great opportunity to play Division I baseball and also get an excellent education. I feel like, throughout my career, there was a real possibility for me to get drafted, but I’ve had some injuries over the years. I pulled my hamstring sophomore year and missed some time, and then I tore my labrum my junior year, and had to have surgery in the summer. So it was a tough road back, trying to rehab. And I was able to come back for the season, and have a decent year. But I played with pain for a lot of the season. My shoulder isn’t really holding up, but I’m still thankful for the four years that I got to put in there.
DP: Now that you’ve had some time to reflect, what does this past 2014 season mean to you?
RB: I was fortunate enough to be a four year starter at Penn, so I played under coach Cole and got a season under Yurkow. You can definitely tell the paradigm shift [between the team under Cole and Yurkow]. I can honestly say this past season was the most fun I’ve had playing baseball my entire life. The chemistry was just better, we had a great coaching staff, and the players really battled behind coach Yurkow. He’s a great leader. With the guys we have in place now, and with the current coaching staff, with coach Yurkow leading the way, the sky’s the limit for Penn baseball.
DP: You had an All-Ivy season in 2013, but you took it to the next level this season, becoming arguably the best power hitter in the conference. What do you attribute that surge to?
RB: I think it was definitely due to being healthier for the most part. Considering I was a senior this year it was really time for me to step up and be a leader — lead by example. So I just tried my best and let the younger guys follow behind me. Also just playing relaxed. We’d just go out there, have fun, and not be stressed out or worried about anything. Playing free and loose like that was a real benefit for me.
DP: One of many fun aspects of this season was the Boring Brebs Twitter account [which quoted Brebner throughout the season]. Can you talk about that whole saga?
RB: I don’t know why I was chosen for that, but I was really honored. It was funny, because everyone on the team knew who it was except for me. So I was a detective the whole season trying to figure out who it was. But it ultimately ended up being Matt Greskoff. At practice around the guys I like to be myself, have fun, be goofy, be funny, just say whatever’s on my mind. And I guess people enjoyed that. So one day I’ll be talking, and later on it’s on Twitter. I think that’s another way the team was able to have fun.
DP: You experienced a tough end to your Penn career in the playoff against Columbia. Can you talk about the emotions you experienced after the loss?
RB: The end to this season was the most disappointing I’ve had during my time playing at Penn. Because in the past few years, when the season comes to the end, we’re already eliminated. But this year we had a real chance to win and everyone had that mindset. We truly believed that we would win. When it came down to that one game playoff, I was just heartbroken. Unfortunately I made the last out of the game. So as soon as I made the out, I just started crying. I was so disappointed. It was such a fun season, I didn’t want it to end. And that was the end of my career at Penn. It just all hit me at once, and I wasn’t able to control the emotions.
DP: How you plan on keeping the game of baseball in your life?
RB: Because I live in the Philadelphia area, next year I’m gonna go back to Penn and visit the guys. Go to some games and maybe stop by some practices. I don’t know.... maybe I’ll eventually become a coach just to be around the game. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out what I’m doing next, and if baseball is a part of that, great, if not, I’ll just have to say goodbye to it.