7th Inning Stretch: Tanner Hess

It’s been a steady summer season of baseball for middle infielder Tanner Hess of the Fort McMurray Giants.

The 23-year-old from Victoria, British Columbia was a last-minute addition to the Fort McMurray roster and he ended up turning the opportunity into an All-Star calibre campaign.

Entering the 2019 Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) season, Hess was coming off of his third year at Vancouver Island University (VIU), where he posted a .375 batting average and a .460 on-base percentage in 120 at bats for the Mariners. The shortstop and second baseman also put up 27 runs and 23 runs batted in (RBI) in the Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC) this year.

Hess continues to be a consistent producer in the WCBL, where he has a .286 batting average, 29 RBI, 28 runs, 10 doubles and six steals in 49 games in a Giants uniform.

We chatted briefly with the right-handed batter to learn a bit more about him. Here’s what Hess had to say:

1. How did you get your start in baseball?

In Little League … I played in Victoria and it just grew from there.

Tanner Hess leans over the railing of the visiting dugout at Seaman Stadium in Okotoks during a matchup between the Giants and the Dawgs … photo by Ian Wilson

I went to Lambrick Park (Secondary School), which had a baseball academy, played for the Victoria Mariners and then moved on to VIU and now I’m here.

2. From both a team perspective and individually, how was your season with VIU before you came to the WCBL?

I was at Vancouver Island University in my junior year and we struggled a lot last year. We had a pretty young team and some injuries, so it was a rough year, but hopefully next year we can get some guys back and rebound.

I had a pretty good year, personally, but other than that it was rough.

3. What brought you to Fort McMurray to play for the Giants?

It was last minute. It was about five days before everybody was supposed to be there. I called them and they said, “Come on out,” and I had a temporary contract to start out with … I was calling all the (WCBL) teams, I was.

4. What is your all-time favourite baseball movie?

I’m a Sandlot guy. I love The Sandlot. I grew up watching it.

5. Speaking of movies and killing time, what do you like to do with your down time when your traveling on the bus? A lot of your Fort McMurray teammates enjoy playing a game called mafia – are you into that, too?

I’m a Netflix guy. I download movies for the road. I just finished watching Narcos.

I’m not a mafia guy. I don’t play mafia. I don’t get in on that. I like Netflix and I like my sleep.

6. The subject of displaying emotion in baseball is often a hot topic. What are your thoughts on bat flips after a big homer or fist pumping after a big K?

I don’t mind, at all. It’s a situational thing and, yeah, you can go over a line, for sure, but for the most part, it’s fair game.

Fort McMurray teammates Max Hewitt (left), Tanner Hess (middle) and Will Langford (right) share a laugh at the 2019 WCBL All-Star Game … photo by Ian Wilson

7. Last question: what are your goals and expectations for the rest of the season?

I just want to win. That’s it, yeah. That’s all I care about.


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