STACY ROST

Mariners’ Shed Long Jr. recaps his heroics, shares insight into clubhouse

Jun 22, 2021, 8:35 AM | Updated: 10:10 am
Mariners Shed Long Jr....
Shed Long Jr.'s walkoff grand slam gave the Mariners a sweep over the Rays. (Getty)
(Getty)

If you’re going to have anyone describe your style, ask Shed Long Jr. to do the honors because he won’t hold back. The Mariners second baseman, who isn’t afraid to rock some accessories at the plate, was asked which of his teammates best pulls off his own style.

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“Other than me?” Long Jr. said. “We’ve gotta go with my boy Kyle Seager. We always talk to him about his swag. He’s got the dad swag. His swag is just being so basic and he just pulls it off to the fullest, like it’s just amazing to me.”

Long Jr. joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy to recap his heroics from Sunday and share a few insights into the Mariners clubhouse.

“We had a little bet going, but the game wound up not happening,” Long said of Seager. “He’s a North Carolina guy and I’m an Auburn guy, and we had a bet going for the North Carolina-Auburn football game that was supposed to happen this past year. And the bet was if Auburn lost, I had to give him my chain and he was going to wear it every game. But if Auburn won, he was gonna by me another one.”

The bet was off when the game was cancelled, but Long hasn’t given up.

“I’m gonna try to get a chain on him. Just be on the lookout. We’re gonna try.”

Long was all laughs during the interview Monday, and it’s not hard to see why: The Mariners just wrapped a four-game sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays that was cemented by Long’s walk-off grand slam with two outs in the 10th on Sunday.

The series implications were more obvious for the Rays: it capped off a six-game losing streak that knocked them out of first place in the AL East, a move they can remedy with an upcoming series against Boston.

What it means for the Mariners is less obvious; Seattle is a club in the midst of a rebuild that can hang its hat on strong play from its young players this past week, but it must also acknowledge that a tough second-half road lies ahead.

When the bright moments come, players and fans alike have been making the most of it – and that includes Long, who described his reaction to the grand slam.

“It was definitely a crazy moment,” Long said. “I mean it was kind of a blur. I just had to soak in the moment as much as I could.”

It’s not just the sporadic nature of those hot streaks that prompts a player like Long to soak up the moment. Long underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his shin in September 2020 and wasn’t reinstated until June 7. The 25-year-old is .244/.279/.439 with an OPS of .718 in the 11 games he’s played since returning.

“Man it feels great,” Long said about his return. “It feels great. I worked hard to get to this point so just coming back and being able to perform at a high level, it’s always a good feeling to have. And just being able to help the team. That’s all I want to do – I just want to help the team win.”

Listen to the interview here or in the player below.

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