Named the first Texas Player of the Week for 2013, leftfielder Matt Long is beginning his third year with Travelers. Although, he did spend most of last year with Triple A Salt Lake City, Long is back with the Travelers this year and thus far leads the league in RBIs with 12 and is tied for first with 15 base hits. From Mountain View, Calif., he attended Santa Clara University before being drafted in 2009.
With a .405 batting average including two doubles, a triple and a grand slam home run, what is going on when you are at the plate?
At this point, I try to make it as simple as possible and make sure I feel good and feel comfortable. I try to hit a little better each year, and I think it has to do with maturity. I’ve made some small physical adjustments but mentally, I try to be level-headed.
How do you feel about being with the Travelers for a third time?
I like it here a lot, and through my Dad have met some awesome people and have found some spots to go to. Any town can be fun if you have some places to go. I like the stadium, and it’s a great stadium but it’s tough to hit.
Is it hard to be back here after spending most of last year in Triple A?
If anything it motivates me and gives me opportunity to prove myself. Baseball is so out of your control. The only thing you can control is how you do and how you act because other people make the decisions.
Do you remember when you first came to the Travelers?
The first time I was called up, I left the California League and met the team in San Antonio in mid-August. I only took one undershirt with me, and it was dripping wet and sweat was rolling off my sleeves. After that, I realized I had to have two or three shirts to change into through the innings.
Did you play other sports and if so, why baseball?
I played every sport but fell in love with baseball. Personally, I line up well with baseball. I have always been a Giants’ (San Francisco) fan. After I got a scholarship, I wanted to pursue baseball as a career so I worked hard in college. Each year is a new year and every spring training, I am excited to play.
Your thoughts are being named Player of the Week?
It’s nice to get the recognition for doing well. I don’t pay attention to my stats. I saw it, took it in, but’s a new day and a new week.
What are you goals?
My goal has always been to play in the Major Leagues. It has been the same since I started. I want to get there and stay there. Major League baseball is tough and daunting and crazy things can happen.
Since you are one of the veterans of the Travelers, what advice do you have for the younger players?
This is the first time there are significant players younger than me. Patience is the number one thing. It’s hard not to get angry and hard not to get happy. You have to stay in the middle and not get on the roller coaster.
Finally, what do you do for fun?
During the off-season, I live in San Francisco and take a small break and go to Montana and fish. I also like to golf. Here, I like to go to restaurants, and I might try to fish in Arkansas this year.