In celebration of Black History Month, 2022 Hop Ryan Bliss reflects on his baseball path and those who helped him along the way. Bliss led the Hops in at-bats (426), plate appearances (484) and runs scored (68) in 2022, all of which are club records. He also had 91 hits,
In celebration of Black History Month, 2022 Hop Ryan Bliss reflects on his baseball path and those who helped him along the way. Bliss led the Hops in at-bats (426), plate appearances (484) and runs scored (68) in 2022, all of which are club records. He also had 91 hits, 19 doubles, 32 extra-base hits, 147 total bases and hit the 8th grand slam in team history. Bliss was selected 42nd overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2021 MLB draft.
In conjunction with Minor League Baseball’s “The Nine” initiative, Bliss answered nine wide-ranging questions about baseball, his time growing up and memories from Hillsboro.
What was your draft day experience like?
My draft day experience was amazing. I was with my friends and family and got to experience it in a place that was comfortable to me at Auburn. I had a lot of great people around me and it happened so fast I didn’t have time until later to realize what happened. I am very blessed to get drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks and it was a great experience to have everyone experience that moment with me.
What was your first experience in pro ball?
My first affiliate was the Visalia Rawhide. It was most of our first times playing professional baseball and we were all learning how to understand pro ball and play as a team. I enjoyed spending time in California and being able to bond with the team.
Can you talk us through your first pro at-bat?
My first at-bat in pro ball was nothing different. I was just coming off a college season and just trying to treat it as a normal at-bat. I realized later that night, "man" I really just played my first professional baseball game. It was pretty surreal and I was definitely nervous because of the new environment, new team and new career, but at the end of the day it's just baseball and I am doing what I love and I get to do this as a job.
Who was your baseball role model growing up?
Growing up my role model was Derek Jeter he was the captain; he was always in the playoffs and always winning. I was a shortstop and I wore #2 because of him.
Who was your personal role model?
My father was a big off-field role model for me. He taught me how to be a man and how to never give up. I will forever be grateful for him, he is always there for me and I love him to death. I am so very thankful for him.
What is your favorite stadium you have played in?
Its hard to pick a favorite field outside of Hillsboro because I think it’s the best affiliate field out there, but it had to be Vancouver. The Canadians’ field is amazing, they have 5,000 strong every night. They have great fans and a beautiful city. I enjoyed playing there every time we went.
What was your favorite thing to do outside of baseball in Hillsboro?
Hillsboro had a lot of great activities. One of my favorites was hiking and seeing all the nature and waterfalls. It was a little different than what I am used to in Georgia, being thousands of miles from home, so going out and seeing the beauty of Oregon was surreal.
Favorite moment as a Hop?
My personal favorite moment as a Hop was the 4th of July game. I led off the game with a home run to dead center field. It was sold out and the crowd was rocking. I will remember that moment for a long, long time.
What is your goal after your playing career is over?
My goal after baseball is to give back. I want to give back to kids younger than me who love the game as much as I do, whether that’s coaching or being an instructor. I want to provide something to them so they can play the game and I will do everything I can to make that happen.
The Hillsboro Hops will be celebrating their 10th Anniversary season throughout the 2023 campaign, with the home opener on April 11th at Ron Tonkin Field against the Seattle Mariners’ High-A affiliate, Everett AquaSox. More information on promotions and tickets can be found at hillsborohops.com or by calling 503-640-0887.