Ryan Long is currently leading the Frontier league in home runs and RBI, and is hoping the hard work will pay off with a chance in the Majors. Joe Downs has more with the Otters slugger.
“I’m sure people know we don’t get paid much at all, so we’re just fighting for our meals out here,” said Otters 3B Ryan Long. “We just do it because we love it.”
Otters 3rd baseman Ryan Long is the personification of the phrase ‘For the love of the game’. The Lone Star state native had a stellar career at Texas Tech, as a member of the 2016 Big 12 Conference Championship team. However, after a strong senior season, Long’s name went uncalled in the 2017 Major League Draft. But like any good Texan, he dusted himself off and got back on that horse.
“When we offered him the contract, he got right in his truck and drove up from Lubbock, Texas,” said Otters Manager Andy McCauley. “He jumped in his car that day. No waiting around, no anything. Obviously, discouraged by not getting drafted, where he should have been a draft pick, but for whatever reason, slipped through the cracks.”
“All I can do is take care of my business,” said Long. I wasn’t too happy about it, but at the same time, I got another chance to play baseball, so here I am. I’m just continuing to work on my game and get better every day.”
The Crandall, Texas native has become a fan favorite since he stepped on the diamond at Bosse Field. After a solid first season, long ignited in 2018, batting .292, with 55 rbis and 59 runs scored, along with a team-high 12 home runs, earning him a spot on the frontier league all-star team. And this season, he’s off to an even better start.
“He’s done everything here from play left field, center field, right field, third, second, short,” said McCauley. “So, we can probably throw him behind the plate if we needed him. Just a real gamer. Probably a higher level hitter than the league. He certainly understands it and has a great approach. When he gets himself out, it’s him getting himself out, not the pitcher.”
And with those numbers, along with the recent signings of teammates Andrew Mcguff, Taylor Lane and Randy Wynne with big league ball clubs, Ryan thinks his Major League dreams might be just around the corner, as well.
“That definitely gives us some hope here,” said Long. “Just know that if you put good numbers up and take care of your business, it will find you.”
“I’m hoping and praying he gets an opportunity to move onto affiliated baseball,” said McCauley. “But certainly a higher level hitter than the frontier league.”
“The dream here, I think, is just to get better and make my way to the big leagues. That’s the dream right there.”