Regarded as one of the best shortstops in the nation, junior Ryan Flaherty has been a product of consistency for the Commodores in each of his three seasons in Nashville. A native of Portland, Maine, Flaherty, or "Flash" as his teammates call him, set a school record with a 38-game hitting streak that stretched from the 2007 season through the first three games of 2008. He also ranks in the top 15 all-time in Vanderbilt history with more than 200 hits in his career.
On his nickname: Flash
I got it back when I was 12 or 13 when my baseball coach called me that. I have no idea why he called me that, but since then it has stuck and everywhere I've gone, everyone has called me that. It's not because I was fast. Speed has never been my gift.
On why he plays with his right back pocket out
I'm not really a superstitious person, but I've done it ever since I was in high school. Every now and then, the umpires will say something to me and I've got to tuck it in a little bit, so they will let me hit.
It has been great. He's almost like a father to everyone on the team. He's definitely more than just a coach. He watches out for all of us, and he definitely cares about all of his players beyond the baseball field.
On playing shortstop at the next level
That's what I want to do. I know some people want me to move, but I want to play shortstop at the next level.
On who he tries to model his game after
I like Derek Jeter and Troy Tulowitzki. They are big shortstops and on top of that, they are good leaders and they play the game the right way.
On growing up in Portland, Maine
They love sports in that town. It was a good town to grow up in. It was cold, but it is a special town and I love going back there. I know they follow Vanderbilt baseball closely with Andrew (Giobbi) and myself being from there.
On his high school career at Deering High School
I played baseball, basketball and football. My favorite sport growing up was football. In basketball I was the point guard, and in football I played quarterback. I played three years of basketball, and I think I led the league in turnovers. In football, I started at quarterback for three years, and we won the state championship my junior year.
On if he recommends kids playing more than one sport in high school
I'm definitely a big fan of having kids play multiple sports. It gives kids a chance to compete year round instead of just at certain times of the year. I think staying in competitive and pressure situations is going to pay off more than concentrating on one sport.
On having to play baseball indoors in Maine because of the weather
We practiced indoors in a high school gym. There were a lot of days I spent learning to hit in a small gym. Fortunately, for me my dad (Ed) is a college coach (Southern Maine), so I always worked out with his team and that always helped me get a jumpstart on the season.
On his time as a bat boy for his dad's team
It was cool. As a bat boy, you get to pick up on a lot of things just by watching. You don't have much of an opportunity to say much or ask many questions, but you can just sit there and watch and learn the game by seeing things that other kids maybe couldn't have seen at that age. It is kind of funny when we travel to other parks -- I see all the coaches' kids and I remember that that was me back in the day.