In our weekly feature on former Fisher Cats and their MLB debut, we hear from Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins. The Fisher Cats team MVP in 2012, Goins earned a call-up and became the Jays everyday second baseman in the latter part of 2013.
Never labelled a 'top prospect' by the various so-called experts, Goins hit .252 with a couple of home runs over 34 games with the Blue Jays. He also made extraordinary plays look ordinary when he manned the Keystone Corner at second base. Heading into 2014, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has repeatedly said he is content to have Goins man second base.
During his first-ever trip to Fenway Park in September, Goins recalled his first experience in the major leagues.
The News Arrived
I was watching a movie, I took a nap, fell asleep, and I got these phone calls. I didn't answer the first couple from our trainer, and I finally answered, half asleep, and the trainer said "Hey, I texted you (manager Marty Brown)'s number, call him."
I called Marty and he said, "Maicer (Izturis) is going on the disabled list and you're going to the big leagues. Congratulations, you deserve it." I hung up the phone and thought 'That's now how I drew it up in my head.' But the feeling, telling my parents and grandparents, was awesome.
From Round Rock to Houston
My first game was in New York in Yankee Stadium. I didn't play, just watched the whole game, took it in. I was anxious, excited, every feeling you could possibly have, I had it. I didn't get in my first game until the first game in Houston (165 miles from Round Rock) the next day. I had my whole family in town so it was great to get to play in front of everybody for the first time and let them experience it with me.
These Guys are Good
In spring training, (major league stars) are going hard but they're not in their midseason form, they're not where they need to be. But when you see these guys in the regular season, the intensity they play with, the speed of the game, the defense. I've noticed balls that I've hit, I'm thinking in Triple-A it's probably a hit, but in the big leagues they're diving and they're taking the hit away. It's not an easy game up here.
You Have to Experience it for Yourself
It's been awesome. You come in and the stands are pretty much packed every night. You're playing in big stadiums in front of the brightest lights, the best fields, against the best players in the world. It's pretty unbelievable. You go out there every day and you just want to compete. You can't explain to somebody how it is to play in the big leagues, honestly. You can hear it, you can talk about it, but until you actually get here and you feel it and you taste it, it's really an unbelievable feeling.
Once You Taste It…
(Minor leaguers) work hard, but once you taste this and see what the lifestyle is like, and you see how good everything is up here and how much better it is than the minor leagues. Not to take anything away from the minor leagues because I thought the minor leagues were fun. But just playing up here with the intensity and the passion these guys play with, the everyday in-and-out, the grind, hopefully I can stay.