SPORTS Q&A: Daryl Harang on minor leagues, local baseball and his major league brother
Daryl Harang probably never envisioned that he would be living in York a decade ago.
A 23rd-round selection in the amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2004, Harang had hopes of living the high life in "The Show."
But baseball in the minor leagues is no cakewalk, even for the highest of draft choices. Harang, who now takes the mound for the Stoverstown Tigers in the Central League, advanced all the way up to Class AA in the Toronto organization as a reliever before suffering a tough spell that ended with his release.
Seeking a fresh start, the southpaw came to York to try out for the Revolution. He was asked to convert to a starter, which he did with decent results (154.1 innings, 10-12 record, 4.08 ERA). That led to his second chance in pro ball with the Cincinnati organization, where he played in High A and AA for the Reds, who released him after the 2010 campaign.
Originally from San Diego, Harang went back home to finish up his degree in criminal justice. But during his stay in York, Harang met his current wife, Lacey, and the pair decided to make the York area their home.
In addition to juggling time between pitching for the Tigers and working for the York County Sheriff's Department, Harang has his hands full with his son, Coleson, who was born on May 2.
And, of course, he's busy following all the rumors surrounding his older brother, Aaron, who currently is a starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Aaron recently visited the area to check in with his brother, who pitched against Dillsburg that night, while also meeting up with his new nephew.
We caught up with Harang recently to discuss his life, his brother and all things baseball for this edition of Sports Q&A.
Q: So how did it all turn out for you to play with the Revs back in 2009?
A: "When I got released from Toronto during spring training back in 2009, my agent called me and he knew Adam Gladstone. They had played ball together at some time and Adam, at the time, was the player development guy. So he called Adam and then he called me and asked if I would want to play in York. But they'd want me to be a starter and I had never been a starter before (professionally). He said to try it out and if it doesn't work out they can move me to the 'pen. So I said, 'all right, I'm playing baseball so let's go.'"
Q: So when was the last time you started?
A: "The last time I started was my senior year in college. I was the Saturday starter at San Diego State. I was a middle-round pick, 23rd round, and when you go in there, whatever they tell you to do, you do. And they told me they wanted me to be a reliever so I said, 'all right.' Whatever is going to keep me playing."
Q: Did you sign quickly after the draft?
A: "Yeah. I signed two days after the draft and two days later I was out of town playing on the East Coast in Virginia. So I went from San Diego to Virginia in the matter of four days."
Q: What was your time like with the Revs?
A: "I came into town and they put us up in the Yorktowne (Hotel), and it was kind of funny because my roommate (Colin Roberson) there was a good friend of a guy that I played organized ball with. So we became friends right away. And it was great because we were all there in indy ball and everyone there just wanted to play. I've had fun everywhere I've played. I don't regret anything."
Q: Was the thought of coming to York that it might lead you back to (affiliated) minor league ball someday?
A: "Yeah, that's always the thought. You want to get back into organized ball where you can make a little bit more money. It's still not great money until you actually make it to the show, but it is everybody's goal when they play in the independent leagues to get back into organized ball and make it all the way back to the top."
Q: Did you have a host family that you stayed with while you were in York?
A: "Well I stayed at the Yorktowne with that guy, Colin Roberson, who was from Virginia Beach. I stayed there for about a month living in the hotel and that got expensive. So I ended up staying with Don Kain (the guy who came up with the "Hit the Wall" chants) for a little bit. I enjoyed staying with him and I still keep in contact with him. We'll go out to breakfast every now and then. It was a pleasure to be able to stay at his house."
Q: How did your stay with the Revs end?
A: "The year after I played for the Revs (2010) I stayed in town here and I met (Lacey), who is my wife now. I ended up working in the front office for the Revolution and also working part-time for UPS a little bit loading trucks. So in the middle of the offseason I was working in the office and I got a call from (Andy Etchebarren), who said, 'hey, you've been traded!' And I said, 'uh, I work for the Revolution and I'm in the front office right now.' So he was like 'oh, really?' It was just his tone of voice ... he had no idea. He might have felt bad, I don't know, but I got traded to Long Island but I had already signed with the Reds to go to spring training. So I spent half of the season bouncing between teams in the Reds organization. So I ended up getting released by the Reds and I called up Long Island and they said they have a spot for me. So I finished the season out in Long Island and then came back and decided to stop (playing professionally) so I had a year left of college and I went back to San Diego and finished up my degree in criminal justice."
Q: So how did you get back to York after that?
A: "My wife and I went back to San Diego. She got some jobs and I had a part-time job and finished school, but it's so expensive to live out there. It's an awesome place to live if you can afford it, but we couldn't afford it. So with her having family here, I said 'let's come back and figure things out here.' So that's what we did and now here we are."
Q: Is it right that I heard that you're on 'daddy duty' a lot?
A: "Yeah, but it's fun. It's great."
Q: You work for the sheriff's office now, right?
A: "I do. I was hired there two years ago this October. That's what I wanted to get into, especially with getting my degree in criminal justice. I was looking for some sort of law enforcement job. I enjoy the people that I work with and it's a great job. I like it."
Q: Kind of a more steady job, right?
A: "Yeah, yeah. That's kind of what you always look for ... kind of a career thing and I think I've found it."
Q: So how did you end up playing for Stoverstown this year?
A: "Well Tim (Thoman) has been on me ever since I moved here. Now I played for Red Lion because of (Jason) Aspito. When he found out I was moving back here he said 'you want to play some baseball?' And I said, 'heck yeah.' So he said (Red Lion) is the team he's playing for. So I stayed down there and then the coach left and I played for Jacobus last year. And then, with living over here (west side of York), I said 'it's about time I go over to Stoverstown.' I live right around the corner, and especially with the baby now, time allows me to just roll down the hill and get to the field."
Q: What was it like growing up with your older brother Aaron?
A: "He's four years older, but I always wanted to go to his practices. So I was always at his practices running down fly balls, trying to hit and running the bases and stuff. Just trying to be with them all the time and I guess it got me better."
Q: Didn't he come to one of your games here recently?
A: "Yeah. They had a day off and especially his schedule. We couldn't ever really get over there (to Philly) because (Lacey) was pregnant. And just the travel, even though it's just two hours, that's a long time for a pregnant woman. So we had to stay over here for the time being and fortunately they had a day off one day and (Aaron) said, 'hey, we're going to come out.' And I said, 'all right, but I've got a game that night and my coach needs me to pitch.' So he said, 'OK, let's go'. So that was pretty neat having him here. We played Dillsburg that day and you could hear (the Dillsburg players) talking about (Aaron) so it was pretty cool."
Q: How close are you to your brother?
A: "We talk every couple of days. Shoot texts to each other and crack jokes. I ask him about some of the players that he faces. You know, a lot of questions that people ask me, I never thought of asking myself. So sometimes I'll ask him, but it's fun."
Q: What's your brother like?
A: "He's very humble. He's a lot quieter than I am. I'm a little more outspoken than he is. He's laid-back, but he'll talk to anybody, just like I do. He's easy to walk up to and I guess he's used to it now."
Q: What's it been like hearing trade rumors surrounding pretty much everyone in Philadelphia right now including your brother?
A: "People probably ask me more about it than they ask him. They ask, 'where's your brother playing?' And then they ask if he's going to go to the Orioles, because they need pitching. And you hear that a lot from the team's fans, especially around here. But (Aaron) tries not to think about it. If you get too caught up into it then you're not focused on your job at hand. And that's how he's always been. He's always had his mind set and has always been focused on his job. And it's paid off for him."
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.