For Mayfield native Mitch Longo and his father, Mark, being drafted by the Cleveland Indians is a dream come true
It’s the call all young baseball players dream of their whole lives. All the work, hours, training, batting practice — Everything you’ve ever worked for, and you finally get your chance.
For Ohio University outfielder Mitch Longo, that chance came on June 11 — the third day and in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
That Saturday in June was one Mitch’s father, Mark, remembers all too well.
“We were anxious as the draft began,” Mark said, “Mitch had been receiving a lot of feedback from teams leading up to the draft, but the Indians weren’t really one of them.”
He paused for a moment. “Actually,” he said, “He did have an interview with a scout from the Indians at OU in the fall, said it was one of the toughest interviews he’d ever had. But, he never heard anything else, so we just figured they weren’t interested.”
Mark and Mitch had met in Columbus to watch Mitch’s brother play in an All-Star game at Ohio State, but Mark just knew what was on Mitch’s mind. So, he suggested the two head to the Easton Town Center in Columbus to pass some time.
“I knew it was weighing heavily on him,” Mark said, “I had to do something to get his mind off the draft. So, why not hit the mall?”
But in the time it took the two, driving in separate cars, to get to Easton — Mitch received a phone call that would change his life.
“We were driving in separate cars,” Mark Longo recalls. “I was driving behind him, and we were talking on the phone. Then, all of a sudden, he cut me off: ‘Dad, hold on, I’ve got a phone call coming in!’ I was so excited.”
Just like that, a few minutes later, Mark knew it was good news on the other line.
“Oh we were driving on the highway, and I see Mitch roll down his window and start fist pumping,” Mark said, “He was pointing me off the exit, so we met at the BP station right off the highway.”
Mitch was still on the phone, but that didn’t stop proud papa Mark from interrupting.
“I jumped out of my car immediately” Mark recalls, “I was all the way across the parking lot, but I shouted out to him: WHO IS IT?!”
To which Mitch, grinning ear-to-ear shouted back, “INDIANS!”
Mark ran across the parking lot and hugged him, a moment so special the scout on the other end of the line later told the Longos he had goosebumps just hearing the exchange.
— Mitch Longo (@MitchLongo10) June 11, 2016
See, for Mitch, a native of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, the Cleveland Indians were the team he had forever been a fan of. He grew up admiring former Indians second baseman and Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar, a man who really inspired Mitch’s love of baseball at an early age.
Mark, a former Tribe fantasy camp participant, was asked to sum up his emotions when Mitch got the call.
“One word? Surreal. You know, you always dream of your kid going to the next level, but having it be for the team you know he’s always wanted to play for? Well, that’s just surreal,” he said.
As a father, Mark describes seeing Mitch begin his journey to the bigs with his hometown team is really special, but selfishly, the first thing that crossed his mind?
“Oh this is excellent,” Mark laughed, “Now I don’t need to buy new gear — I can keep and even more proudly wear all my Indians gear!”
-TribeVibe contributor Missy Perez