‘Man, this song is great': Bucs' Johnson rocks to his brother's beat

June 9th, 2023

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Pirates’ theme when they won the 1979 World Series was ‘We are Family.’ It looks like 2022 first-round pick  would fit right in.

The youngest of four brothers, Johnson brings his older brother to the plate with him every at-bat played at home at LECOM Park. As the infielder strides to the plate, Terrenz Johnson’s song, “Twin Time,” performed under the name Levels, blares over the sound system.

“He was in the studio one day, he makes a lot of good music,” Johnson said prior to the Bradenton Marauders, the Single-A affiliate of the Pirates, playing host to the Dunedin Blue Jays on Thursday night. “He tries all of us out at some point in the music. Today was my day. He used it and I said, ‘Man, this song is great. I need to use it.’ And I use it now. I listen to it every day.”

The song was written about Termarr’s Draft experience, when he was the No. 4 overall pick of the Draft just over a year ago. It was Termarr’s brothers, oldest Tervont, Terrenz and Tervel, closest to Termarr in age, who helped the youngest prepare for the moment of the Draft and for starting on his path to the big leagues. Before tuning things out when he steps in the box, Johnson makes sure he hears his brother’s words.

“It’s definitely a reminder,” Johnson said. “Every time, I’m bopping my head, I’m remembering him. Shout out to him, it’s his birthday today, so happy birthday bro. Happy Birthday Terrenz!”

One of the biggest things the youngest Johnson brother has had to get used to, other than facing professional pitching every day, is being away from that family unit that’s been such an important support system.

“It’s definitely an adjustment I have to make,” Johnson said. “I have a lot of family back at home. I’m used to having a big family at home. I try to keep in contact. I talk to my brothers every day, my mom every day, my grandparents every day, my dad every day, just to make sure we’re staying in contact and they know what’s up with me.”

Termarr Johnson and his family celebrate after he was selected fourth overall by the Pirates.

That includes keeping tabs on brother Tervell, who is currently playing for the Frederick Keys in the MLB Draft League and has gotten off to a .471/.550/.765 start in his first five games.

“He’s super talented,” a proud younger brother said. “I’m going to be honest, he has a little bit more pop than me. We’re keeping it in the family, making sure he does his part every day and trusts the process.”

As much as he knows his family has his back, Johnson knows he has to go through much of this journey himself. That included getting through an early injury that delayed his debut with Bradenton this year and some early struggles. There have been some signs of life, including a pair of opposite-field home runs, in the last couple of weeks, and he knows he has to keep trying to not do too much at the plate.

“I need to slow the game down,” Johnson said. “I can’t create anything the game doesn’t give me. I need to go back to what got me here. Doing that helped a lot. It’s only up from here.”