There was a time when Ryan Kalish thought about giving it up. He had some injuries, most notably a wrist ailment that plagued him in 2007 and 2008, and was unsure if his one-time mediocre minor league numbers would translate to prolonged success.
But giving up on the dream? Never.
“I’ve been hurt and on the verge of saying, ‘I don’t even feel like doing this cause it’s such a repetitive thing,'” Kalish said. “But it’s one of those things where, obviously you never know if it’s gonna work out, but when it does, it’s something special.”
Now that he has achieved his dream of making it to the major leagues, Kalish could not care less about the bumps and bruises of two years ago. He knows he has what it takes to make it, and whatever happens going forward will just be part of the journey.
It all makes him grateful that he kept pressing on when the negative thoughts crept in, because the reward was worth it.
“No matter how bad it is, just keep giving it your all,” he said. “I could spend another couple of days here, and that could be it forever. I don’t plan on that, and I don’t think anybody ever does, so you just have to go out there and work as hard as you can and do the right things on and off the field to make it happen.”
The “pinch me” moments have been coming at a steady pace for Kalish, who was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on July 31. After sharing clubhouse space at Portland and Pawtucket earlier in the year, he now sits aside Dustin Pedroia in the Red Sox clubhouse. He had a hit in eight of his first 16 at-bats, hit his first career home run at Yankee Stadium, displayed a throwing arm that manager Terry Francona called “elite” and played virtually flawlessly in the field.
Every so often, Kalish has to sit back and remind himself of those who helped him get this far. Without them, the dream would have been hard to come by.
Well over 100 text messages came flooding in after his major league debut, and it was those closest to him that got the first replies.
“It was a wild day, but you just think back to all the people that helped you,” he said. “I had so many texts, I had to go talk to the people that cared about you. There are people that have really, really been there for you. You have to get back to them first, because that’s been your core group your whole life.
“That never changes.”
Neither does the dream, no matter what happens along the way.