Former Bangor Ram and Maine Black Bear Hits Big Screen As Nolan Ryan
In the past two years, Justin Courtney's baseball journey has taken him from Bangor, Maine across the country. The former Bangor Ram and University of Maine Black Bear has had many roles on the mound during his young pro career - starting pitcher, reliever, closer - but his latest "role" was the biggest surprise yet.
Courtney, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets' high-A affiliate, was cast as a young Nolan Ryan for the upcoming documentary, "Facing Nolan."
"At the end of last season, the production company reached out and said they needed someone to portray Nolan early in his career on the Angels and Mets," said Courtney.
"I never saw the resemblance until I saw a couple of clips from the movie. I didn't realize how close it was but the production company picked a good one when they found me." At 6'4", Courtney bears a striking resemblance to the Hall of Fame fireballer when wearing the throwback California Angels uniform from the early-1970's.
Filming lasted from 7 pm-7 am last October in Round Rock, Texas, the site of the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate.
"It was the first time in my life I was ever throwing pitches on the mound at 3 o'clock in the morning. It was kind of a surreal process where you're so tired but they need you to throw more and more. It definitely wasn't part of my offseason throwing program to throw 200 pitches through the night."
"Facing Nolan" debuts in theaters on June 24 and is available on Digital July 19. You can check out the trailer below to get a glimpse of Courtney in action.
At his day job, Courtney is 2-2 with a 5.94 era, four saves and 19 strikeouts in 16.2 innings pitched over 12 appearances for the Cyclones. Courtney compiled a 3-1 record with a 5.23 era in 24 appearances between the Angels' and Mets' organizations last year.
I had a chance to chat with Justin earlier today about the role and his season in Brooklyn thus far. You can listen to that conversation, below -