Ryan McNally has been a big reason for Fordham Baseball’s success this season. Currently playing his final season in maroon and white, the global finance graduate student is enjoying a career season. Through Sunday, May 1, the leftfielder is slashing .295/.409/.577 with nine home runs, 35 RBIs and 12 steals. Last week, McNally sat down with The Fordham Ram to talk about his Fordham career and life after baseball.
TFR: How long have you been playing baseball, and what got you hooked on the game?
RM: I’ve been playing baseball since second grade. I missed out on tee-ball, so when guys look back on that, I don’t get to be a part of it. I was a tennis player at first — my mom has been a huge tennis player her whole life and she wanted me to get into that. A lot of people actually say my swing looks like a tennis backhand and it’s unusual that I’m a lefty thrower and a righty hitter. That actually comes from my tennis background. What got me hooked on baseball was the team aspect versus the individual aspect that I got from tennis.
TFR: Tell me a bit about your recruitment process. What made you choose Fordham?
RM: I was primarily looking [into the] Ivy [League] for my recruitment process. When Fordham got involved, I had a real family connection to Fordham. My grandparents all went to Fordham. My dad’s siblings [did too], and my dad actually went to Fordham Law. Once I got on campus, [head coach] Kevin Leighton was new my first year, that was his first recruiting class. It all just seemed to fit together perfectly.
TFR: The Rams are currently 9-6 in the A-10 with three conference weekends to go. What do you think of the team’s performance so far?
RM: [I’m] really proud of all the guys. This is the first time in conference history that we’ve taken the first four conference weekends in a row, so we’re looking to continue that. Our weekend starters have been phenomenal, so all we have to do is put up a few runs for them, and they take care of the rest. It’s a great dynamic we’ve got going so far.
TFR: Looking forward, how far do you think this year’s team can go?
RM: I honestly believe that we can win the A-10 Championship. We’re hosting it this year, so that’s also huge. We’ll be looking to take it to NCAAs for sure.
TFR: You’ve hit nine home runs and are slugging .589. Were you expecting to be that power threat in the middle of the lineup at the beginning of the year?
RM: A lot of people might not have been expecting me to, but yeah, I was actually expecting to be in the middle of the lineup. I didn’t have any expectation for my power numbers, but I knew that I could be someone the team could depend on in the middle of the lineup, move runners around, that kind of thing.
TFR: What do you think has been the reason for your huge power surge this season?
RM: There have been a few mechanical adjustments I’ve made, but we all know how to hit at this level. It’s really a matter of believing in myself more. I came into this year with more confidence — I’m an upperclassman now, people look to me for leadership and that sort of thing — so I really think that it’s a matter of confidence, more focus at the plate and a mature and intelligent approach.
TFR: You’re one of the most experienced players on the team. How would you describe your leadership style?
RM: [I’m] more of a players guy rather than a coach guy. Not that I’m against the coaches or anything, but if there are any concerns that need to be addressed in the open, [I prefer a] player-to-player style rather than a top-down, hierarchical style.
TFR: When you look at the underclassmen on the team right now, how much success can you envision them having next year and down the line?
RM: Tons. I think there’s endless talent on the team. My class was lucky in that we were Leighton’s first recruiting class and a lot of freshmen were starting my freshman year. A lot of the [current] younger guys haven’t had that same dynamic coming in, but I think they’ve been able to learn a lot in the program they’ve inherited. Their talent’s going to shine through in the next few years, for sure.
TFR: Do you have a favorite memory from your Fordham career?
RM: That’s a good question. There’s always the antics that you go through with the team, so traveling with the guys is always a great memory. On the field, when we clinched the playoffs last year was probably the best memory.
TFR: What are you going to miss most about Fordham?
RM: My teammates, for sure. The people that you meet here, that’s the most memorable thing that you encounter. Obviously, the academics are great here, the campus is phenomenal, but the people that I’ve met are what I’ll miss most.
TFR: What are your plans for after the season and beyond?
RM: Things are up in the air. I’m going to finish my master’s degree, probably in August, so I’ve got a few more classes to take after this semester. Beyond that, entering the real world.