By Devin Stubbs | firstname.lastname@example.org
Playing in the big leagues is a dream for many young baseball players. For Radford alumnus Ryan Meisinger, this dream became a reality.
Meisinger began playing baseball at a young age and hasn’t stopped since. He currently plays for the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.
Growing up, Meisinger went to Orioles games at Camden Yards in his home state of Maryland. Meisinger has been able to remain in his home state while playing the game he loves. “I remember going to Camden Yards when I was younger with my aunts and uncles. Being out there and playing on that field, it’s just wild,” Meisinger said.
He made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut on June 29, 2018, against the Los Angeles Angels. Though the Orioles ultimately fell to the Angels 7-1, Meisinger will never forget the day he took the mound in Camden Yards.
Meisinger played division one baseball for the Radford University Highlanders from 2012 till 2015. In 2015, he was selected in the 11th round of the MLB draft. Before his time at RU, Meisinger played at Northern High School in Owings, Maryland. In 2009, the team was state semifinalists.
During his time as a Patriot, Meisinger was named team MVP in both 2011 and 2012. He also was named First Team All-Southern Maryland Conference twice. Meisinger struck out a total of 67 batters in 50 innings his senior year and posted a 1.15 earned run average (ERA).
In baseball, ERA is a way to calculate how many runs a pitcher lets per nine innings pitched. Even though pitchers are designated as starters, middle relievers, and closers, ERA is measured in nine innings to signify the traditional length of a game.
Meisinger posted an ERA of 6.43 in his big league debut season. “My first major league hit I gave up was Albert Pujols. He’s a future hall of famer,” Meisinger said. Playing against those whom he watched growing up was an eye-opening moment.
Meisinger realized that he had fulfilled his childhood dreams and had made it to the big leagues.
A future in the big leagues is never certain. The strain put on the bodies of the athletes is not something to look past. The motion of throwing with added velocity behind it can be very damaging to the body. One of the most common surgeries related to baseball is the Tommy John surgery.
The scars from the medical procedure have the appearance of stitches on a baseball. Often, players will tattoo over the scars with an image of the ball. Both this surgery and shoulder procedures are done when pitchers undergo damage to their muscles in these areas.
For Meisinger, he faced a tough challenge this past season. Due to stress from pitching, he had to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder. “Coming back was hard work. We were rebuilding the team and getting hurt set that back,” Meisinger said. Building from the bottom up, the Orioles organization stood behind their player fully.
Positivity and hard work can go a long way. In the minor leagues, Meisinger climbed the ranks quickly. He made his debut with the Gulf Coast League Orioles was shortly promoted to the Aberdeen IronBirds. In 2016, he pitched for both the Delmarva Shorebirds and Frederick Keys. The next season, he had success pitching for the AA Bowie Baysox.
From his success with the Baysox, he was promoted to the AAA Norfolk Tides. At this time, he grabbed the attention of the Baltimore Orioles staff. Meisinger was pulled into the majors in June of 2018 and had his pitching debut that same evening.
“I got the call that morning and drove to play in the game that night. It was exciting, I didn’t even have time to be nervous,” Meisinger said.
The time at RU and in the minors, Meisinger was able to adequately prepare for playing in the majors. His hard-working mentality partnered with his patience paid off, allowing his dream to come true.
Photo Credit: (RU Athletics)