Ryan Kalish had a bright career in front of him, but injuries plagued his playing days. In 2018, after a valiant comeback attempt, he called it quits, leaving Jewish baseball fans -- especially those of the very Jewish 2010 and 2012 Boston Red Sox -- wondering "what if?"
In the last several months, Kalish has stayed positive, working on life after baseball, which includes Pilates and joining a cool company called Birdman Bats. He spoke to us about the past, present and future of his baseball life.
1. Breaking in with the Red Sox in 2010, your career took some twists and turns, but what was that feeling like playing for the Red Sox at such an exciting time?
Playing for the Red Sox was amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better experience coming up. If you look at the roster it was full of veterans. I was so young and respected all of the guys so much. I didn't speak much unless I was spoken to.
2. You were a part of historic Jewish teams for the Red Sox. In 2010 the team had you, Scott Schoenweiss, and Kevin Youkilis, In 2012 you played with Youkilis, Craig Breslow, Ryan Lavarnway and Danny Valencia. Did your teams ever bond over the Jewish connection?
Yes, we bonded a bit over the Jewish connection. It was awesome to have that as a part of our team bond.
3. You stayed resilient through more injuries than most. What kept you motivated? Was retirement a tough call?
What kept me motivated through the injuries was how good I felt I was. I always felt like and proved I could come back and play at the highest level. Calling it quits was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I knew it was time. My body was done.
4. Fenway Park or Wrigley Field?
There is no choosing between Fenway and Wrigley. They were both so amazing. I honestly couldn't choose.
5. Who was the toughest pitcher you ever faced? Greatest hitter you have played with? Your baseball idol growing up?
Toughest pitcher was Felix Hernandez. Greatest hitter I ever played with was David Ortiz. Baseball idol growing up was Derek Jeter.
6. What have you been up to since you retired from baseball?
Since retiring I did a little bit of traveling. Now I have taken up becoming a Pilates instructor. I am really enjoying that work.
7. Tell us more about Birdman Bats and what's on the horizon for the company.
Birdman Bats was started by two of my best friends Gary Malec and Lars Anderson. I couldn't help but want to be a part of it, so I recently joined forces with the team. We pride ourselves in being extremely helpful with each player's individual needs. We have all played the game, so we know how hard these guys work to get where they are, and we want to be a part of it and give them the best bats possible. We plan on getting more and more pros swinging our bats this year.
8. What is next for Ryan Kalish?
For me I plan on really learning Pilates and see where that leads me.
You can follow Ryan on Twitter @Ryan_Kalish.