Many of the 170 of Canada’s best prospects came here last week for the Canadian Futures Showcase with a parent or two, a friend, an uncle or aunt, to watch them on the Rogers Centre turf.
Ryan Stalony brought an entire cheering section.
Over 40 members of the Stalony family came on the Thursday afternoon of the anual five-day event, where they hollered, clapped, held up signs and generally made a wonderful spectacle of themselves every time the young man took the field.
Some skipped work, young children were pulled from school, grandma came along … a full pride.
“Family is what matters the most to us,” said Ryan’s dad, Andrew Stalony, sitting in the stands on Friday with a smaller group this time. “We are lucky to have a big family where everyone supports each other.
“We make family gatherings and events to create a support system around Ryan and to keep his feet on the ground, because one day he will see that family is everything you got.”
An outfielder, Stalony started the tournament slowly but came out hot on Friday, going 2-for-3, with two walks, two RBI and a laser-shot 350-footer into the left-field bullpen.
Andrew Stalony decided early on not to coach his son, even though he himself was involved in the game.
“I never coached him directly and rather asked another coach to do it because children will never listen to their parents,” he said.
Ryan was younger and smaller than most of his teammates when he started baseball, but that became an advantage.
“I pushed him to work harder and smarter, because I knew he would eventually catch up,” said dad. “But what would make him different is his form, technique, hard work, and ethics.
“So I always wanted him around older and even better teammates to bring the best out of him.”
Besides being athletic, disciplined and coachable, his dad says Ryan possesses a quality that even more experienced people wished they had.
“It is human nature to get depressed and some kids drown when things are not going right.” Stalony said. “Ryan has a good ability to forget the past.
“When he struggles to find his form, like the past couple of games, he comes to me and says ‘Don’t worry dad, I got this.’ And that mentality resulted on a home run today.”
Andrew is firm on the importance of prioritizing his son’s education, considering there’s a lot of uncertainty in sports such as an injury, that can finish it all in an instant.
“I’ve told him that making it to the Major Leagues is probably not realistic because there are things that can go wrong and a million kids better than everybody else,” said Stalony.
“If it doesn’t happen, it won’t be a failure because there are other ways to be around baseball if that’s what his passion is”
But nothing could be possible if it wasn’t for Ryan’s united Portuguese-Polish family and individual values his parents raised him with and have made a great young man out of him today.
“We as his parents are very proud of him as the solid young man he is, the way he treats others, his confidence, hard work and to see the great human being he is today, leaving the baseball aspect aside,” said dad.
Ryan Stalony’s performance during the tournament earned him an invitation to be part of the Prospects Game at the end of the tournament, but he chose not play due to a minor injury.