On Sunday, I was at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL, for a Spring Training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles. As the starting lineup was announced, the woman next to me asked, with a hint of concern in her voice, “isn’t Ryan Flaherty on the team any more? Did the Orioles get rid of him?” I informed her that he was on the DL, expected to return next week. In fact, I told her, he’d just walked by a little bit ago, so he was definitely there.
As the game progressed I started wondering why she’d asked. I mean, Flaherty is one of my favorite players, but he’s probably not an every day household name like Cal Ripken – especially for a Detroit Tigers fan.
Ryan Flaherty, from Portland, ME, was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 draft. After four years in the Cubs’ minor league system he was picked up by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft. The Orioles’ utility infielder made his MLB debut on April 7, 2012, and has been with the team ever since.
After the 7th inning or so, several players left the field as they so often do during a Spring Training game. I noticed Ryan was among them and pointed him out to his fan. Then she explained: they were from Maine. And no one from Maine ever makes it to the big leagues.
Awesome! Keep making Maine – and Maryland – proud, Ryan!