Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Addendum: From The McKinney, Texas Courier-Gazette Star: "Life of Forsythe"

Life of Forsythe
By Travis Summers, McKinney Courier-Gazette
(Created: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:04 AM CDT)

In baseball, a fireman is a relief pitcher that has the ability to extinguish fires by getting out of the tough situations he inherits.

Ryan Forsythe is no relief pitcher, but a fireman, well that sounds about right.

The McKinney Blue Thunder’s big-hitting outfielder is well on his way to becoming an actual firefighter after receiving his Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic certification this past offseason.

Forsythe, who just began his third professional season, graduated from Oklahoma Panhandle State University with a degree in psychology and business management, but never found his business opportunities in the offseason to be fulfilling.

That’s why almost two year’s ago Forsythe decided to mix in a different career path while following his dream of professional baseball.

“I tried the business thing first — got into sales — and I realized that it was so repetitious that I knew there was no way I could do it,” Forsythe said. “I started to do some research and talk to some buddies that were already in the fire service. I did some ride-a-longs and really liked it, so I enlisted back in school.”

His sudden turn away from a career in the business world isn’t much of a surprise considering the roads he has traveled in his pro baseball career.

Forsythe made a name for himself after being selected as a three-time All-Heartland Conference player and setting almost every offensive record at Panhandle State. He had a number of offers to play pro ball, but decided to sign with the Regina Red Sox in Saskatchewan, Canada due to his desire to travel the world.

His time north of the border went well enough that he decided to travel to the Middle East for his second season, and for 2007 he signed with the Netanya Tigers of the Israel Baseball League.

“I really wanted to see the rest of the world,” Forsythe said. “It paid pretty well, and it was only a three-month league, so I took up the chance to go out there and play ball. Truthfully I didn’t do any research before I went out there. I didn’t want to scare myself into not going out there. Once I got out there it was great.”

Playing baseball in Tel Aviv, Israel, a town that surprisingly reminded him more of home than he originally thought.

“It reminded me a lot of San Diego,” Forsythe said. “It had beautiful beaches, it was a modern city, had a lot of nice people and had a good transit system.”

Most of the people Forsythe met spoke English, so the transition to life in the world’s only Jewish state wasn’t too drastic. There was one major unexpected difference, though.

“The food was terrible,” Forsythe said. “For breakfast they would serve us hard boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers. We would sleep until it was lunch time to avoid having to eat breakfast. We had to find restaurants that weren’t kosher out there. It was a struggle at first, but eventually I got used to it.”

As far as being an American in the Middle East, Forsythe was given a lecture from the Israeli Police.

“They told us stuff does happen, but we shouldn’t worry about it or let it affect our daily lives,” Forsythe said. “So we still went out at night and did what we normally would have. I wouldn’t have changed anything about it.”

Two year’s of playing baseball on foreign soil was enough for Forsythe, who decided to move back stateside and stay closer to his hometown of Phoenix, Ariz., to help his EMT training.

It was a decision that also led him to a deal with the Blue Thunder last December.
Forsythe might have an eye on his post-baseball career, but he is currently looking forward to continuing his baseball career for as long as he can.

“Baseball is something that I love to do right now,” Forsythe said. “I get to hang out with some guys that are like me, and are still trying to get our shot. I’m just trying to enjoy it while I can because I know I’m going to get the chance to do this forever.”

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