Bigger name on the other line.
That wound up being the more than understandable excuse that at the-time volunteer assistant coach Matt Reiland used to be absent from duties related to the Mooresville High School baseball program earlier this year.
Little did Reiland know it at the time that the Blue Devils would go on to embark on a program-best postseason surge capped by the capturing of the first-ever N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A class state championship crown.
Still, odds are that even if Reiland could have peered into the crystal baseball and gathered the results, he would have still made the same decision.
Based on his baseball-related skills and knowledge, Mooresville resident Reiland garnered attention from Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and was offered a paid position with the organization.
Reiland is presently serving as an advanced scouting analyst with the Yankees franchise and is traveling with one of the organization’s minor league teams in continued preparation for what could well be a fulltime opportunity with the parent outfit.
“When the Yankees came calling,’’ said Reiland, back in the area for a quick homestand visit during the late regular-season segment of the current minor league schedule, “I just had to hear what they had to say. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. You never really know, and our conversations haven’t gone that far yet, but anything is still possible as far as a promotion is concerned.”
Reiland is more tuned in to what takes place off the field than what happens on it.
Although a former player with both high school and college-level experience under his hat, Reiland is being counted on more heavily for his knack of crunching the game’s scorebook full of statistics.
In addition to serving as a volunteer assistant for the baseball Blue Devils, Reiland also spent some time filling the role of the head coach of the summer collegiate-level Race City Bootleggers based out of Mooresville. The team serves as a feeder for the Mooresville Spinners operation.
While with the Bootleggers, Reiland also found the time to start a one-man consulting company specializing on using analytics to help develop baseball players.
It was in this capacity where the former Holly Cross University product received the notice from the Yankees operation.
He was confronted about his specialty before being welcomed onboard as a member of the organization.
Once hired by New York in late January, Reiland was assigned to attend spring training. He was asked to relay his analytic findings to players and coaches alike.
When conversing with the players, Reiland is quick to use his data to inform them of pitching tendencies during certain strikes-ball counts and in cases where teammates are on base.
While huddling with the coaches, Reiland shares his inside information to support strategies employed on the part of the opposition.
Once the team broke camp, Reiland was named to join the organization’s Triple-A level Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for the season. The team is just one step on the professional baseball ladder below the parent Major League Baseball entry.
Recently, he was able to return to his Mooresville home when the RailRiders were in the area taking on the Charlotte Knights during a three-game series.
“It’s always good to be back home,’’ said Reiland, who grew up in the Raleigh area before spending time residing in Texas and New Mexico prior to settling down in Mooresville. “We always wanted to come back to North Carolina. We like it around here.”
The relocation was aided by his employment at the time with the area-based corporate headquarters of Lowe’s Home Improvement. His fulltime position with the Yankees places him on the road for the majority of the baseball season.
Reiland is expecting to fulfill his commitment to the organization this season before being informed of additional services being required by his current employer.
“I enjoyed my time with the Mooresville baseball program,’’ assured Reiland. “I was very excited with the team’s success and wished I could have been with them. I hope they understand that this was a chance of a lifetime that I couldn’t turn down.”