Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long looks on during batting practice...

Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long looks on during batting practice prior to Game 3 of the NLCS against the Padres at Citizens Bank Park on Oct. 21 in Philadelphia. Credit: Getty Images/Elsa

PHILADELPHIA — Max Scherzer considers him his favorite coach ever. Bryce Harper calls him a “really good baseball mind, really good hitter’s mind.” His former charges include a wide range of brand names, local and otherwise, from Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to David Wright and Brandon Nimmo to Harper and Juan Soto to this free-wheeling, fun-loving bunch of Phillies.

He is Kevin Long, Philadelphia’s hitting coach, and he is in the World Series for a fourth time with four teams in 14 seasons. He won rings with the Yankees (2009) and Nationals (2019) in addition to going to the Fall Classic with the Mets (2015).

Now he is back on baseball’s biggest stage, with the Phillies and Astros tied at one win each heading into Game 3 on Tuesday. And it never gets old.

“This is why I do what I’m doing,” Long said, “to win and to reach a level of excellence.”

Like a lot of MLB coaches, Long, 55, is a journeyman, bouncing from one team to another, sometimes at the whims of the front office but sometimes of his own volition. At each transition, he has never had trouble finding another fit.

“Your voice can get stale after a number of years. Your message can get stale,” he said. “So the moving around doesn’t bother me that much. It actually propels me to strive to do better, strive to do more. Especially with a new bunch of characters.”

Long first reached The Show in 2007, when the Yankees promoted him from Triple-A hitting coach to the same role in the majors. He stayed through 2014, the longest he has worked anywhere. They fired him after a down offensive season amid other staff changes, one of their periodic didn’t-win-the-World-Series-again, have-to-change-something moves. General manager Brian Cashman said at the time that Long was “an exceptional hitting coach” who “did a tremendous job.”

Other teams seemed to think so, too. The Mets hired him as Terry Collins’ hitting coach less than two weeks later. Long estimated that he had 10 job offers. Taking this one meant he didn’t even have to move from the Upper West Side apartment he and his wife lived in.

“Something about the Mets intrigued me,” he said. “I knew that the Mets had a real chance to win because of pitching more than the hitting, but pitching can take you a long way. And with the Mets, that was more the case.

“It was kind of strange how that [New York-New York switch] happened, but I felt deep in my heart that they were going to go to the World Series. So that’s why I signed with them.”

The Mets indeed went to the World Series on the strength of their pitching, in Long’s first year at that. That was the fall that he helped Daniel Murphy tap into his power potential, leading to that October explosion and NLCS MVP honor.

When the Mets were looking for a new manager in October 2017, they interviewed Long before making the ill-fated hire of Mickey Callaway. Long joined the division rival Nationals and the Mets replaced him by promoting assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler.

In Washington, he forged a relationship with Scherzer, a current Met and a pitcher who fancied himself as a good hitter (despite all evidence to the contrary).

“It’s strange the relationship and the bond that we have,” Long said. “I don’t have many relationships with starting pitchers or even pitchers in general like I do him. He’s on my closest list of people that I call and talk to frequently.”

Long spent four seasons (2018-21) in Washington. (Coincidentally, Roessler again helped replace him, serving as the Nationals’ assistant hitting coach this past season.)

“They dismantled and there was going to be a rebuild,” Long said. “I didn’t want to be a part of that.”

Soon the Phillies, managed at the time by Joe Girardi, with whom he worked in the Bronx, came calling. Long reunited with Harper after they overlapped for a season with the Nationals and was tasked with guiding a lineup that also includes NL home run champion Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos. The Phillies struggled early before firing Girardi, turning their season around, sneaking into the playoffs as the last seed and winning the NL pennant.

Does Long still aspire to manage?

“Can I do it? Would I be good at it? Probably,” he said. “Knowing my personality and how well I communicate with players and people, I don’t think it would be a tough transition. It certainly would be much different than what I’m doing now. And I love, love, love what I do now. That would be the most difficult part.”

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