By Lukas Eggen
Ely Times Staff Writer
For professional baseball player Tanner Rahier, 2013 represented a big step forward. After being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school, Rahier entered 2013 as a rookie. He ended the year playing Single A ball and being named Defensive Player of the Year in the Reds’ organization.
But one of the most special moments came when Rahier stepped onto the field for the first time.
“It’s amazing,” Rahier said. “With the fans and the crowd and everything, it was unreal. This was what I’ve been working my whole life for; having this many fans, having everyone cheering for you. It was an unreal feeling.”
Rahier excelled in his first season in the Reds’ farm system. He switched from shortstop to third base and finished third on the team in home runs. But while he found success, it took a little getting used to.
“It’s a lot different,” Rahier said. “Instead of a 60 game season, you have a 140 game season. Being an every day player, there’s a lot more grind to it. There’s no break at all. You have a couple days off a month and the days off you’re on a bus ride, so there’s not a lot of time to really relax or get over the soreness.”
“Sometimes your body is so broke down and sore. Your arms are tired from taking balls every day and throwing every day. You’ve just got to tell yourself to keep grinding and working hard and you can do it. It’s tough, but once you get past that little hump, it’s really nice.”
As Rahier took his first steps toward the goal of playing in the major leagues, he’s also hoping to help inspire local players to dream big.
Players from White Pine High School’s baseball team visited Rahier’s training facility in Ely. Rahier took them through a light workout and teaching them drills to help improve everything from core strength to fielding. Rahier’s goal is to show local players that they can accomplish great things.
“I think out here in this area, it’s good for them to know what they can accomplish,” Rahier said. “Hard work can pay off. They can go to college wherever they want for free as long as they work for it and put in their reps. Never give up, follow your dreams as well as you can. Always work hard and it will eventually pay off.”
Rahier said he gave players his number and is open to working out with the team until he leaves for the 2014 season in February. And he’s hoping players can look at his career so far and use it as motivation to help further themselves.
“I think it’s good to have a team come out and see this set up,” Rahier said. “They see what you can have if you work hard. A lot of kids don’t realize what they can accomplish. Seeing this maybe opens their eyes that if they work hard, they could have all this too.”
As Rahier looks to continue his climb toward the major leagues, Rahier is also looking to extend his reach beyond his play on the field.
Rahier is also working on opening his own bat making business.
“I love messing around in bats and making my own,” Rahier said. “There’s so many different knobs and handles and it makes a huge difference when you’re swinging them.”
Rahier said the bats will be professional grade and, if all goes according to plan, it won’t be long before his bats begin to get noticed.
“By 2015, it should be MLB legal,” Rahier said. “So hopefully you’ll see some big leaguers playing with them and some minor leaguers. It’s a lot of fun.”
But it’s not just his business that keeps him busy. Rahier’s training facility has a ping pong table, slot machines, a basketball hoop, volleyball court and more. Rahier also is starting a small farm operation.
“I like having stuff to do all the time,” Rahier said. “…I like to stay active and keep up on stuff.”
As Rahier prepares this offseason for the 2014 season, Rahier said he’s ready and rearing to go.
“I already miss it,” Rahier said. “I wish I had another game today.”
And as he continues his march toward his ultimate goal of playing for the Reds, Rahier said he thinks his experiences and path he’s taking will prepare himself to handle whatever comes his way.
“I think I’ll stay the same person,” Rahier said. “It’s a dream come true getting to that point .Every day, I think about it like five times. I think of the first at bat, stepping in the on deck circle and the adrenaline rush. It’s unreal just to think about it.”