The New Jersey Athletic Conference’s one-year experiment with wooden baseball bats in 1999 cost many players a lot of points toward their batting average. Not Anthony Flynn. The former Lions third baseman’s batting average rose significantly to .340—a team high among everyday starters.
“I think his mind approach and his technique—his mechanics—were very solid,” reasoned Dean Glus MEd ’02, TCNJ’s head baseball coach, who was an assistant coach at the time. “He wasn’t as strong as the other kids were, so that wooden bat helped him because he was so sound that he was hitting the ball square all the time.”
Flynn’s analytical approach and attention to detail helped define him as a TCNJ student-athlete. He planned to put his corporate fitness major to good use as a strength and conditioning coach or in sports marketing until a chance encounter one month before his 2001 graduation changed everything. While working at a restaurant, Flynn met Lonn Trost, the New York Yankees’ chief operating officer. Flynn faxed a resume to Trost the next morning and within a week was hired as an intern to Brian Cashman, general manager of the most storied franchise in sports.
Flynn’s work ethic, communication skills, and knowledge gained favor while he worked his way up the organization’s ladder. Now as the Yankees try to a repeat their 2009 World Series title, Flynn enters his 10th season as a Bronx Bomber. He’s gone from intern, to baseball operations assistant, to coordinator of major league operations (specializing with budgeting, statistical analysis, and scouting while in the front office), to this—his second season as assistant director of video and advance scouting. He films the Yankees players and breaks down their techniques and tendencies.
“I would say everybody on the team comes in before the game at same point during the day,” to view film, Flynn said. “And there are certain guys who I’ll give a little more. Alex (Rodriguez), for example, likes DVDs of stuff for him to look at, even when he’s away from the ballpark.
“For me, the biggest thing (this season) is to try to improve the department and try to improve the video operations.… Obviously, we got a whole new system at home last year with the new stadium. We’re tweaking that a little bit, making it a little more friendly. We just bought all new road equipment.”
Being away from TCNJ has allowed the 32-year-old Flynn to appreciate the prestige that surrounds the College. He had attended Providence College on a baseball scholarship for two years before he transferred home to TCNJ (he grew up in nearby Hamilton Township). Rick Dell, who at the time was the Lions head baseball coach, welcomed Flynn with open arms and became an immediate influence.
“The one thing from the (first) day, in particular, that really stuck with me is that Coach was a straight shooter,” Flynn said. “He told me how it was and he told me what the expectations were, the kind of program that it was and the kind of the school that it was—the expectations both athletically and academically. The one thing from Coach that I always appreciated and always have taken with me is you need to be honest and straightforward.”
“He always did the right thing; he was always there and that’s what I try to do now all the time.”
Flynn, who grew up on baseball under his father Marty, a high school coach, enjoyed great success in a TCNJ uniform, which coincidentally resembles Yankees pinstripes. Over his three seasons from 1998 to 2000, Flynn’s teammates called him “Tex” because of his love of country music. Each squad that Flynn was a part of reached the finals of the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, and the Lions won the 2000 NJAC title in his senior season.
Although Flynn could do a great impersonation of Dell, when he stepped across the white line he was all business. “He was a very focused young man,” Glus said. “And that’s why he’s able to do what he’s doing right now because when there’s something in front of him to get done, he’s very focused on getting the job done.”