It's common for first-round draft picks to move to Arizona. But Gary Brown's relocation to the desert in 2015 came at a unique time, coinciding with his release by the team that drafted him 24th overall five years earlier.
Now, just a few miles from where new prospects flock to chase their major league dreams, Brown is working to put his in the past.
"I wanna stay in baseball in some fashion, I’m just not exactly sure in what,” Brown told NBC Sports Bay Area in an exclusive phone interview.
The former top Giants prospect began classes at Arizona State University's Masters of Sports Law and Business program last month. He's not exactly set on a post-playing career, but the fire for baseball still burns.
“Part of the reason why I'm pursuing this program is that it gives me an opportunity to see where I want to go,” Brown said. “I would like to pursue the opportunity of working in a front office, whether it be professionally or the athletic department of a college. I think those really appeal to me because I feel like I could maintain — this might be me being naive — but maintain some family life, being home every night and being able to raise a family.”
Brown's wife is pregnant with twins, which should give the future father a chance to coach in the coming years. Based on his time in independent ball, it’s an experience he’d likely cherish. Indeed, Brown took advantage of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs' coaching overhaul this year and served as the team's interim hitting coach -- while he was still listed as a player.
"That was awesome," Brown said, beaming. "I wanted to potentially coach when I was done and I think that was about the time I was thinking about retiring so I kind of approached the manager and asked — since we didn't have a hitting coach — if I could be the hitting coach and kind of just help out the guys because I kind of already did."
Time will tell if Brown's path leads to a front office, a coaching position, or something else entirely. But as Brown heads to class to carve out his future, he's filled with gratitude.
"I want to give someone an opportunity like I had -- many players and many kids," Brown said. "Everything that I've had is because of baseball and I'm so thankful for that."