Category Archives: Alumni Stories

Alumni Stories: Chandler Brierley

Posted on by

The New York Nine has a large and diverse alumni population and it’s not always feasible to have them come to share their story in person with the entire organization. We want to share as many alumni stories as possible. This spotlight is written by Chandler Brierley. When Chandler arrived with the New York Nine he was a tall, lanky, semi-coordinated 6 foot 5 left-hander who lacked confidence. Through his own dedication, hard work and belief in those providing him instruction, Chandler has put himself on the path to become a prospect as he hit 92 this past fall with more in the tank. The New York Nine believes in projection, patience and our organizational process, and we couldn’t be happier for Chandler and his family for his success both on and off the field.

My name is Chandler Brierley, I am into my sophomore year at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ and am majoring in Business Technology. I have been playing baseball since I was 7 on town teams, travel teams, school teams and club teams. The summer after eighth grade, once travel baseball ended, I began to play for a competitive team for players in high school. I met some great guys and had a chance to finally try my hand at pitching. I played on my high school freshman team but did not get much playing time at the plate. Coaches and teammates thought of me as a first baseman and we’re not always willing to give me a chance. It was very frustrating. Sophomore year I played JV with similar outcomes. After my sophomore year, I decided to give up basketball and focus exclusively on pitching.

As luck would have it, during my sophomore year, I was in a sneaker store and started talking to the owner. He asked what sports I played and I told him baseball and basketball. He told me about a team he was involved with and encouraged me to reach out to the team. A week or two later I was back at the store and I was introduced to Ian Millman and we spent a while talking about baseball and the team. Ian suggested I try out as it would offer me a higher level of play than I had previously experienced, not to mention the help the organization could provide with college and the recruiting process.

Not long after that, I went and tried out, made the team and then played with the organization over the next three years. I will never forget my first report day when my dad drove me to a park in Queens. I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t sure if I would play. I had my baseball bag loaded with my mitt, cleats, turfs and two wood bats. The coach walked over to me, introduced himself as the coach and promptly pulled the bats out of my bag and said, “son, pitchers don’t bat.” I was thrilled that I was a pitcher. I threw that first day and although it was not my best outing, I got through it and they invited me back. That season and those that followed I met some great guys from all different places. I had teammates from every different background imaginable and even one or two from Texas. Not all of us spoke the same language, but once we got on the field, we all spoke baseball.

Playing for the Nine wasn’t always easy. I commuted from New Jersey 6 days week for practices and games, missing a lot of stuff with my friends who were playing locally. But I knew that I wanted to play at a higher level and the Nine gave me that opportunity. My hope was that baseball would get me into a great college. With the Nine, we traveled to Major Tournaments all over the country and I wound up traveling to over 8 states and in front of a ton of college coaches. The Nine also set me up with a coach, Frank, who had played in the majors and was willing to be my personal trainer in the winter to build my stamina and strength. Frank gave me the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic, his home, to train with local players and learn even more about baseball and the work it takes to be the best. It was so inspirational, I started a foundation with Frank to bring used baseball gear to people without the means to get it and help encourage them to stay in school and get an education. Without the New York Nine, I would never have had these opportunities to learn so much about myself on the road.

Just as my senior year began, the Nine suggested I come to a showcase they were co-hosting for Ivy League coaches. I knew I wasn’t Ivy League smarts but agreed to go. I must have made an impression because a few coaches asked for my transcript after that outing. Ultimately, the Ivy thing did not work out but I got a few solid offers from some well-known schools. But coaches talk and they may see a guy who has potential but maybe they don’t have a roster spot for but they know a coach who needs that guy. Because of that showcase, I saw the Stevens Tech coach at a lot of our tournaments and showcases.

The journey through sports to college is not always easy. A lot of coaches say a lot of things and make a lot of promises they don’t keep. You are their “number one pick” until you aren’t. I was lucky to have supportive parents and coaches who believed in me to help me get where I am today. No, I’m not playing D1 baseball but I am at an amazing school, playing competitive baseball and have great friends. Once you get to college, you realize how important your character is. It is not what you do but who are you. There are so many great ball players but they aren’t all great guys. But with the New York Nine, I had the chance to play with the best players in the area who were also great people. My overall experience with the New York Nine helped shape me into the mature, confident person I am today. No matter what happens with baseball, I will do great.