Getting there is half the battle for Dragons' Long
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By Marc Katz
the Dayton Daily News
Thursday, May 22, 2008
DAYTON — For most people, a promotion might mean moving from the second floor to the fourth. It might mean increased responsibility with a modest pay raise.
For a baseball player, it's a little more complicated.
On his second call-up to the Dayton Dragons last season, catcher Jake Long was in Billings, Mont., and he had to join the team in Burlington, Iowa.
"I had just played a nine-inning game when the manager called me in and said I had a 6 a.m. flight," Long said. "By the time I packed everything in the clubhouse, it was 12, 12:30. Then I had to go home and pack. I caught that flight to Moline, Ill., then a shuttle to the ballpark.
"I arrived about the seventh inning and still had time to catch two bullpens. The next day, we had a nine-hour bus ride to Great Lakes."
Tuesday, May 20, the call came at 4 p.m. while Long was in the batting cage. When he came out, Reds minor-league field coordinator Freddie Benavides had already pulled Dragons manager Donnie Scott aside, telling him he had to change his lineup. An injury to catcher Chris Kroski at Class AA Chattanooga started a chain reaction. Sarasota needed another catcher, and Long was the man.
Sarasota had a game at Brevard County on Wednesday night, so Long took a 6 a.m. flight into Melbourne, Fla., on the East Coast, arriving before noon. Game time was 7 p.m.
Today, the team is at home versus St. Lucie.
"You don't ask questions," Long said. "You try to take advantage of any opportunity. Sometimes, you only get that one shot."