Rooting For The Local Product
A weekday June baseball game with a first pitch West coast time before noon usually doesn’t get too much attention.
On Wednesday, June 9th I found myself completely engaged on the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers game from the new ballpark in Arlington.
This wasn’t about the Rangers and to be honest this wasn’t about the first place Giants for me either. This was about a story, truly a great story, that was being written right in front of all of us.
This was Sam Long, or now, Sammy Long’s story.
Long is from here. He is one of us. Being that I am originally from Southern California, but now being in Northern California for thirty years, this has become home for me, so I feel I can say one of us.
I knew that Sammy Long had pitched in high school here with his final stop at Del Campo. I remember him from Sacramento State playing for that program. I had the opportunity to host a couple of events over at the school where he was recognized for his incredible talents.
Do I truly know Sammy Long? The answer is no, but that didn’t slow down my enthusiasm in rooting for him like we were long lost friends.
There is something about a connection. Sacramento has a healthy list of athletes that have made it from Sacramento and now Long joins that robust list. It is easy to root for those that are from here. We want them to succeed. We want them to thrive. We feel like we are out there with them.
Long’s story though is amazing. He had bounced around the minor leagues a little bit with never pitching above the Single-A level until this year. Long impressed the San Francisco Giants so much this spring training that he earned a spot at the Double-A level. Long went quickly to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats and continued to excel.
The big club finally made the call up to the show and that debut was Wednesday in Texas.
Long was originally scheduled to start the game but a late change made him take the hill in the 2nd inning after an opener began the game. When Long took the ball in that 2nd inning he recorded a line out and two strikeouts for his first time in the Majors. In the third inning he had a walk but then struck out the side.
WHAT? Are you kidding me?
His third and fourth innings on the mound 6 up, 6 down with two more strikeouts. He began the sixth inning and gave up a double and his debut was done, but what a debut. Final numbers for Long included 4 innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 earned run and 7 strike outs.
When Long left the mound to give the game over to the bullpen he took a look around the full stadium taking in what he just accomplished. I had a sense of pride and felt like we witnessed a very special moment. His day was done, but the game was not over.
I didn’t care about the game, I cared about Long. He was the story, he was my story, and the story was AWESOME.
The Giants ended up losing the game, but Long won the day. Seeing someone garner success from Sacramento was very cool. Long now joins former Sacramento State teammate Rhys Hoskins as active players in the Major Leagues. Not sure where Long’s career is going to go but just know this, a lot of people will be rooting for him and he will always have the stellar debut to hang on to.
I will always root for Sacramento, I will continue to root for Sammy Long. Here’s to many more great moments.
Thanks for making us all Sacramento Proud.