Photo by Gerald Castillo
Barstow Bound: Ruben Miranda signs letter of intent with Barstow Community College
Bryan Webb just went along with it.
During San Marcos’ 2015-16 school year, the head baseball coach went to watch a freshman basketball game. Ruben Miranda was one of the students playing for the Rattlers. He played “pretty decent,” according to the coach, but Webb didn’t think too much of it.
Until one day, after the basketball season, when Miranda just showed up to a baseball practice. Webb asked what Miranda was doing there. Miranda explained he changed his class schedule to join the baseball team.
Webb really only knew the freshman from the basketball game and certainly hadn’t consulted with him about coming onto the team. He allowed Miranda to stay anyway.
“He’s in baseball and I really didn’t know why,” Webb said. “I just took it as a blessing and didn’t ask.”
It all worked out for both of them. Miranda became one of Webb’s most impactful players over the next four years. And on April 18, he signed a letter of intent to join the Barstow Community College Vikings in Barstow, Calif.
“When I was younger, I would tell my parents all the time, ‘I’m going somewhere to play college ball,’” Miranda said. “Me and my dad have talked about college ball for years … It meant a lot to me.”
Miranda is originally from El Paso and moved to San Marcos in 2010. Basketball was his first sport, but baseball soon followed. He started watching MLB games on TV. Manny Ramirez became his favorite player.
“I just liked his mentality,” Miranda said. “He was never afraid of any pitcher and his integrity was just there every game. He was a competitor.”
Ramirez was known around the league for being quirky and doing things a peculiar way. For instance, as a member of the Boston Red Sox in 2005, he exited the Fenway Park outfield through a door, disappearing behind the Big Green Monster during a mound visit. Ramirez didn’t return until the next pitch was released. Another time in 2008, Ramirez caught a fly ball in deep left field, then jumped on the fence to high five a fan before he threw the ball back to the infield in time to make a double play.
Ramirez’s actions are often described as “Manny being Manny.” Miranda isn’t all that different. Him changing his schedule without giving Webb any notice could have just been Ruben being Ruben.
“You never know what’s going to come out of Ruben’s mouth sometimes,” Webb said. “It’s not bad, but sometimes he’s scatterbrained. He’s got a great personality, you’ll just never know what he’s thinking.”
“I’m gonna miss his dumb jokes that he makes all the time,” senior infielder Julian DeLeon. “He thinks he’s funny sometimes and he just laughs by himself.”
What made Ramirez a great player, though, was his consistency. In 19 seasons in the MLB, Ramirez batted with a .312 lifetime average and made 12 all-star appearances.
Miranda isn’t all that different in that respect, either. He was the No. 2 hitter for San Marcos as a sophomore, helping the Rattlers claim a share of the 14-6A district title in 2017. The following season, Webb knew he could lean on him in any situation.
“In the playoffs last year, I moved him to left field,” Webb said. “He had never taken a rep out there once and actually performed well in the Kline series.”
This season, Miranda — a natural third baseman — lined up all over the place. Some games he was a middle infielder, others an outfielder. He pitched a lot, too.
Whatever the team needed, Miranda was there to do it.
“He’s a great teammate,” senior catcher Colt Ozmen said. “He’s always there for you, he’s always got your back. You make a bad play and he’s right there to encourage you and make sure you get the next play.”
Webb expects to see Miranda improve dramatically at the next level, especially as a hitter. Student-athletes have more relaxed time constraints in college than they do in high school on how much they can practice, meaning Miranda can spend more time in the batting cages.
The senior wants to play baseball for as long as he can and dreams of going pro one day. He wants to be the second Rattler taken in the MLB draft, potentially after Texas junior and former San Marcos shortstop David Hamilton. He felt like BCC was a first step in the right direction.
“I’m hoping to make a good impression on the coach, show him that I’m a hard worker and that he didn’t make a mistake recruiting me,” Miranda said. “I know it’s a junior college, but they have some records that are there and I hope to break some of them.”
Ramirez had multiple “Manny Moments” throughout his career. Signing to BCC was Ruben’s “Miranda Moment.”