GEORGETOWN, Texas — "You can see why he's one of my favorites," said Brandon Puffer to a pitcher on one of the select baseball teams he coaches.
It was another day invested into a bullpen session.
"Way to work kid," Puffer yelled.
Puffer's passions in life are his wife and daughters and developing young baseball talent.
"Growing up, that was always my dream to be a baseball player," Puffer said.
Puffer's dream became a reality. The California native bounced around the minors from 1994 to 2002, then received the call.
"My 1st shot [in Major League Baseball] was with Houston in 2002," Puffer said.
But Puffer ended up back in the grind of the minors and experienced one bad night while with the Frisco Roughriders, the Texas Rangers AA affiliate.
"I remember Chris Davis, Derek Holland," Puffer said.
He was the older guy on the team and had experienced problems with alcohol in his past.
"I told them, Shawn, 'I could ruin my life in one night,'" Puffer said.
That's exactly what happened.
"I drank too much and had a blackout," Puffer said.
A felon convicted of burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit sexual assault on September 13, 2008.
When Puffer arrived at the state penitentiary, it dawned on him his life was about to change.
"Those bars shut, it clicked and said 'this is real,'" Puffer said.
A five-year sentence behind bars and a baseball career derailed.
But Puffer changed his mindset and his life.
"It was only then when I surrendered and found that peace," Puffer said.
Peace from his past through his faith.
He found opportunity in baseball after his five-year sentence expired.
"He found his direction," his wife, Lisa, said.
He met Lisa after his five-year sentence. They eventually exchanged nuptials and he gained two stepdaughters in addition to his own daughter.
"I always said his heart is much bigger than his muscles," Lisa said.
His heart and love for baseball led Puffer to developing young baseball talent and doing so with his faith.
"Some of these kids won't find faith in a church, but they've found faith on a baseball field," Lisa said.
The GPS baseball program includes prayer huddles for the players, letting players strengthen faith on a baseball diamond while developing life skills.
"I want the kids to want to be the next Jimmy Lewis, who was drafted recently by the Dodgers. I didn't think that would make me emotional," Puffer said.
The emotions are real and true but so are the valuable life lessons Puffer provides.
"It doesn't matter how much success you've had, your whole life can change in the matter of one night," pitcher Wes Ley said.
Puffer has plans to write a book called "From the Bullpen to the State Pen."
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