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Supply Meets Demand

NJB Feature Story

In case anyone has missed it, economic conditions have severely impacted life in American society as we know it. Being the recession proof industry that it is, though, baseball still presents opportunities to capitalize on an investment. Diversification still optimizes returns, supply still meets demand, and hard work still translates into the promise of achievement.

For hard working Ryan Flannery, the 2009 season looms promising. The former Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) hurler continues his rocket rise in professional baseball as he prepares to enter class A competition. Drafted from FDU during his senior season, Ryan spent his summer last year as a middle reliever and closer for the Rookie League’s Gulf Coast Yankees.

After stellar careers in high school and college, he moved quickly and easily to the next level, where he suddenly found himself “surrounded by good players, mostly from the Dominican Republic and South America.” He has always had the raw talent – he played quarterback in high school – he just needed the right opportunity for it to flourish.

Ryan Flannery Showing His Stuff

With a still-developing fastball and a nasty, 2-seam sinker in his arsenal of pitches, he got his chance when Major League Baseball scouts Cesar Presbott and Don Kohler saw him pitch in April 2008. His performance on the mound earned him spots in open tryouts held at FDU and in Yankee Stadium. That’s all it took for him to receive the offer to pitch at the next level. Before long he found himself working in the New York Yankees’ farm system. When opportunity knocks you just have to take advantage of the situation.

Take advantage he did, although he also quickly learned that in life, as in baseball, our expectations do not always match our realities. A dominating, starting pitcher in high school and college, Ryan began his professional career in the bullpen, because that’s where the team needed him. For the first time in his young baseball life, he worked as a closer. He used the opportunity to his advantage. In just 20 2/3 innings pitched he fashioned a 0.92 ERA and a 2-1 record on the mound. Supply meets demand.

Ryan knows that expanding his pitch selection will play an important role in his advancement up the professional ladder. In this respect he continues to work on gaining speed on his fastball, and, more recently, adding a slider to go with the excellent control he already has. A diversified portfolio increases return on investment.

Of all the qualities, though, that tough-minded investors and mentally tough pitchers share, the most significant center on courage and intensity. Courage to invest during a falling economy separates those who succeed financially from those who struggle. Likewise, courage to persevere in sports despite nagging injuries separates champions from the mediocre.

Ryan displayed his mettle for the game in his senior year of high school. After opening the season with a no-hitter, he sprained his ankle the very next day. If you do not think that courage and intensity form the ingredients of pitching with a sprained ankle, you need only to remember Curt Schilling’s performance in the 2004 ALCS. Who can forget how he persevered on the mound despite a bleeding ankle that made him wince in pain with his every delivery to home plate?

Curt Schilling Pitching with Pain

Despite pitching with the injured ankle, Ryan led his Becton High School team to its third straight North 2, Group 1 state championship that year, finishing the season with a 10-1 record on the mound, and a stingy ERA of 0.81. Curt Schilling would have indeed been proud.

Actually, in exhibiting intensity on the mound, Ryan tries to emulate Joba Chamberlain more than anyone else at the professional level. As Ryan puts it, “He wants to win and so do I.” What other kind of sentiment would you expect from a rising young star who has “been a pitcher since T-Ball,” played quarterback in high school despite weighing only 200 lbs., and modeled himself even as a youngster after Nolan Ryan?

And what a fitting role model for Ryan Flannery to have at such a young age than Nolan Ryan. Those who recall Nolan Ryan’s fastball know why we called it “The Ryan Express.” That Ryan, owner of a Hall-of-Fame best seven no-hitters and 5,714 strikeouts, would no doubt take pride in knowing that our Ryan, is on an “express” fast track to realize his ultimate goal of pitching in the major leagues.

NY Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain

The Ryan Express

In reaching that goal, our Ryan has his sights set on pitching at the ‘A’ level this season, ”probably in Tampa or Charleston while working to tone my legs and upper body, and become explosive off the mound.” Major League Baseball requires these qualities, of course, to satisfy the increasing demand for hard-throwing, mentally tough young pitchers at its level.

If the laws of economics hold true this year, the country will begin emerging from its recession. Diversification will still produce healthy returns, hard work will once again lead to success, supply will continue to meet demand, and a courageous young pitcher from East Rutherford named Ryan Flannery will rise ever closer to his dream of playing in the big leagues. On all counts, NJB Magazine maintains a positive economic and baseball outlook.



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