Coach Ryan Valdes is thrilled to be joining the Collegiate League of the Palm Beaches as a head coach for the North Palm Beach Flamingos. He brings years of playing and coaching experience, with a few unique mantras that are hard to forget. Whether it’s “Are you a moth or cockroach?” and “Scared money, don’t make money.”
Florida is home to Coach Valdes and it’s where he discovered a passion for baseball. Valdes explained, “I fell in love with it when I was nine or 10 years old. I couldn’t get enough of it, I was doing it every single day. I would have practice, then lessons right after that. I would have lessons before a game. Baseball was something I fell in love with, and couldn’t get enough of it.” Valdes passion and persistence for baseball paid off in highschool when he played for head coach Landy Faedo at Alonso HS, alongside Jose Fernandez. There he won two state championships and was the team MVP his senior year, hitting .355 with seven home runs and 18 RBI’s.
The success at Alonso HS led him to play college ball at Florida State in 2013, then he transferred to State College of Florida, and found his home at University of Southern Florida where he would play his last three years of college baseball as a relief pitcher. From his time and effort in USF, the MLB took notice and he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round. He played for them from 2017 to 2019, and then officially retired in the spring of 2020.
It was during his retirement that Coach Valdes realized he had a strong desire to coach. When asked about his coaching path Valdes was quick to respond, “I started at IMG Academy, I was there for a year. Then I went to a private highschool and restarted and rejuvenated their program. I then said I wanted to do college baseball. I went to HTC and decided I wanted to do it over the summer too.”
While discussing coaching philosophies and mantras over the phone you could feel Coach Valdes’ smile. “I have a lot of things, that’s one of things that the guys I’m with like, because some of them make you think a little bit and some are kind of funny. I always say this a lot. Are you a moth or cockroach? The guys always look at me funny, because it makes you think a little bit. But, finally I say when the lights come on, what do cockroaches do and what do the moths do? A cockroach will run and hide, and a moth will fly towards the light. I always challenge and tell them, are you a moth or cockroach? That became one of the sayings.”
Towards the end of the interview we talked about expectations and what Coach Valdes is looking forward to the most. He replied, “I’m excited about the comradery of the summer. I did it not too long ago, the comradery of those guys from random colleges getting together for a common goal of bettering the individual. And, when you better yourself individually, you better the team. And, it’s like pro ball-esque. Then these teams become special over the summer. I will always remember my summer teams, I remember my summer coaches, and I still connect with some of the guys I played with my freshman summer. I’m excited to have these memories with these guys for years on end.”