October 31, 2012
After three years in the Blue Jays organization, right-handed pitcher Bryan Longpre has decided to retire from minor league baseball. In 69 career games spread across four different minor league levels, the 25-year-old posted a 7-7 record with a 4.29 ERA and 11 saves. He pitched 107 innings, allowed 51 earned runs, struck out 93 and walked 38.
Looking back on the experience, Longpre admitted that the high point of his career came at the end of this past season. “If I had to choose one highlight moment it would be winning a second championship this season with the Vancouver Canadians,” he said. “I couldn’t have imagined a better way to end my career. I hung my cleats up in the locker room after the game and I took one last walk out to the mound by myself that night after the celebration. I knew it was probably my last game as a player. It was a perfect moment and a perfect ending.”
But when Longpre had begun the season with the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2012, he never expected the season to be his last. It was an unfortunate injury that reinforced his decision to pursue other career avenues.
“Unfortunately, I’d have to say the injury to my throwing elbow this past season was the lowest point of my career,” said Longpre. “I took pride in the fact that I was never on the disabled list in my career, but looking back it was a real struggle to make it through the second half of the season. I didn’t know how bad it was until the MRI after the season showed a partial tear.”
When Longpre was first interviewed by JaysProspects back in 2010, the California native discussed how his competitive nature was his strongest skill. Nearly three years later, he talked about how that skill made it hard for him to retire.
“It’s always hard when you are walking away from a childhood dream and I will really miss baseball. There is nothing like that feeling of standing in front of a crowd and staring down a hitter,” he said, adding, “Baseball has always been my biggest passion, but my other passion is working as a financial advisor. I plan to take that same competitiveness and channel it into a different career.”
Longpre also previously admitted that academics and education were always important to him. He now states that his education received from Crescenta Valley High School (3.83 GPA) and Grossmont College (3.7 GPA) have enabled him continue a career after baseball and potentially find him an opportunity to combine both industries.
“I was very lucky to be able to get my degree in finance before I signed with the Blue Jays. Now that I’m retired, I am going to pursue my original plans of becoming a financial advisor,” the right-hander said. “I hope I will always be involved in the game of baseball, whether it is helping baseball players with their finances or maybe even coaching down the road. I hope that offering financial advice to baseball players will not only keep me involved in the game but also keep me involved with the Blue Jays organization.”
Longpre states that he loved many aspects about the Blue Jays organization, including having been able to play for four different minor league teams including the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, the Vancouver Canadians, the Lansing Lugnuts and the Dunedin Blue Jays.
“Every team was different and I enjoyed my time with each of them,” he said. “With that said, Vancouver was definitely my favorite place to play. Winning two championships, living in an amazing city with incredible host families and the best fans in the minor leagues was amazing. There is nothing like playing in front of a sold out crowd at Nat Bailey Stadium.”
In addition to loving the stadiums and fans within the Blue Jays organization, Longpre thoroughly discussed his admiration and gratitude to the trainers, staff and teammates. “I think the greatest reward of minor league baseball came from my personal relationships between my teammates. On-field successes were great, but what made them great were the people standing by my side.”
Specifically, in an additional interview in 2011, Longpre had stated the two players in the Blue Jays’ organization that definitely have ‘it’ are Justin Nicolino and Noah Syndergaard. He now admits that there is another pitcher he‘d like to add to that list.
“After playing with three different teams this season and what feels like every player in the organization, I have seen so many talented players. I will absolutely still stand by my original choices. But I would like to add one player in particular to the group: Aaron Sanchez. I think it is difficult to talk about any of those pitchers without mentioning all three together. All three are so unique and talented in their own respect. They are going to be exciting to watch in the future,” Longpre said.
Longpre did admit that despite having an incredible time with the Blue Jays’ organization, there were aspects of the game that were a little harder than he anticipated, specifically missing his friends and family and also the jump from high school and college ball to a minor league organization.
“The hardest part of minor league baseball for me was being away from home. Being away from family and loved ones is always hard, especially when you spend half the year on the other side of the country,” he said. “I also think the transition into minor league baseball can be a tricky one for some.
“High school baseball and minor league baseball are two different worlds. The Blue Jays are very good at transitioning young high school players into professional baseball, but it is still a major jump. For m,e the jump from high school to college was the biggest change, but it’s hard to truly prepare kids for all the rigors of minor league baseball. There are no classes for how to ride the bus for 13 hours!”
Despite some of the tough aspects of his career, Longpre reinforced that he was truly thankful for every single opportunity he was able to experience during his minor league career.
“I have no regrets, and I am very proud of what I was able to accomplish. I left everything I had out on the mound and not a lot of players can say that,” he said. “The only advice I would go back and give myself would be to enjoy the journey because you never know when it will end. Baseball is so much bigger than just a game. I may not remember every outing or pitch, but I will never forget the many great friendships and memories I made over the past three seasons.”
“Thank you to all of my teammates, coaches, trainers, and the entire Toronto Blue Jays organization for making my professional baseball experience so amazing.”