Ryan Bollinger did not take the express route to Yankee Stadium. He was born in California and went to high school in North Dakota, plus a number of stops in around the world as a result of having a father in the military.
He was selected by the Phillies in the 47th round of the 2009 draft. Bollinger wasn’t much of a hitter so he converted to pitching. He spent several seasons in the White Sox organization before playing on Independent League teams. Then his playing career took him to Canada, Germany and Australia.
The Yankees signed him to a minor league contract before the 2018 season, and he was called up to the team in late May. He was in the bullpen for the May 23 game in Texas. Then he was sent back to the minors. Then he was called up for Tuesday’s game at home against the Orioles, although he did not appear.
He spoke to NY Sports Day after Tuesday’s win. (Bollinger was sent back to the minors several minutes after the interview.)
NYSD: How is it being up here for the second time?
RB: Oh, it’s great. I mean, every time I come up here it’s awesome. The guys are great, they kind of take me in right away, so it’s always fun.
NYSD: That first one was in Texas. What was it like being at Yankee Stadium for the first time?
RB: Yankee Stadium is completely different. I mean, Texas was great but coming here and being able to be in Yankee Stadium, it’s incredible.
NYSD: How is it being with Chapman and Betances and Britton and all these guys in the bullpen?
RB: It’s great. It’s great. It’s a good time down there and you learn a lot. It’s fun.
NYSD: Do you find yourself looking around during the game?
RB: Yeah. I do, yeah. I was sitting down in the bullpen and kind of looking around and it’s an incredible place, and like I said, it’s a great feeling being able to get called up and be an option.
NYSD: What’s the biggest difference between this league and some of the other leagues that you’ve played in?
RB: I mean, it’s the big leagues. It’s a huge difference, so I don’t really know.
NYSD: You’ve done a lot of traveling. How does New York City compared to all the other places you’ve been?
RB: New York City’s awesome. I’ve been here a few times just taking in the sights and everything, but after this experience it’s definitely got a different meaning to me now.
NYSD: Were you a little surprised getting the call from Double-A straight up?
RB: Oh absolutely. You don’t really think about that in Double-A, you’re hoping to get the call up to Triple-A, obviously, and then to get the call to go to the big leagues, it’s huge, especially last year when I was around the world, it’s the last call you think you’ll ever here. It’s a good feeling.
NYSD: When are you going to get a nameplate for the locker?
RB: (Laughing) I don’t know. Hopefully one day I’ll get up here and maybe stick for a minute.