I helped Ryan Rua win a home run contest.
Playing Tap Sports Baseball 2016 on my Android phone, I’ve been slowly building a roster of Major League players. Cleveland Indians Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana play for Team Hawk, as do heavy-hitters Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles, Austin Jackson of the Chicago White Sox, and Christian Yelich of the Miami Marlins.
I haven’t acquired Rua yet, though I’ve tried and fell short in a trade bid.
When it comes to baseball, he’s the pride of Amherst, playing for the Comets from 2004 to 2008 and drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2011. He was elevated from the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders to the majors in August 2014, scoring a run in his debut game.
Rua’s likeness popped up this week during the game’s Slugfest event. In a turn of luck, I was able to use his digital character to outshine the Kansas City Royals’ Brett Hayes, knocking six of 12 fastballs over the fences.
That was a strange experience, as someone who watched a teenage Rua knock hits while wearing Comets green and gold, and who greeted him back home as a pro. And with the odds of grabbing him in any MLB-licensed game fairly slim (there are 750 active players and 450 more on expanded rosters for 30 ball clubs), I couldn’t resist quickly penning an admittedly offbeat story.
The crime here is that the game rates Rua’s slugging ability rather lowly — just one star out of five for overall batting talent — despite his real-life .258 batting average.
Over three seasons, that’s included 101 hits for 57 runs, including 19 doubles and 13 homers in 162 games.
Perhaps the most impressive single-game feat of Rua’s career came May 10 when his three-run home run in the eighth inning pushed the Rangers to a 13-11 victory over the White Sox, marking the team’s biggest comeback in four years.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Screenshot Amherst’s Ryan Rua has played for the Texas Rangers since 2014 but it’s still wonderful to see him pop up in video games such as Tap Sports Baseball 2016.