A Call to the Bullpen: Ryan Mattheus

Not many baseball fanatics ever make it into the major leagues. In Ryan Mattheus’s case, it actually came true.  Mattheus is a reliever for the Washington Nationals who specializes in the sinkerball.

One fine November day in 1983, Ryan Mattheus was born in Galt, California. As he got older, on the weekends he’d probably go to the Chabolla Park in downtown and play ball on one of their sandlots.  I don’t know if that is where he actually played, but I saw it on Google Maps and it looked nice.

As he stepped onto the mound in Union Stadium at the Sacramento City College, about 10 years after his sandlot days, he hoped he would have the stuff make it to The Show. Then, with a lot of hard work, it actually happened.

June 4, 2003 was no ordinary day for the Mattheus family. Ryan got drafted by the Colorado Rockies. He got on the Casper Ghosts in Casper, Wyoming and had a 3-3 record with a 4.94 ERA. With the Class A affiliate in Asheville, NC, the Tourists, and he had a 7-6 record with a 5.92 ERA. When he made the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox, his career with the Rockies looked like it was about to begin.  But it wasn’t.  And that was a good thing for Nationals fans.

Joe Beimel was a pitcher on the Washington Nationals since they were the Montreal Expos. In 2009, Beimel was traded to the Rockies for pitcher Robinson Fabian and Mattheus. It wasn’t until 2011 that Mattheus got called up to the MLB by the Nats.

Mattheus made his major league debut on June 14, 2011 against the Cardinals at Nationals Park.  It was an exciting come-from-behind win for the Nats.  Watch the recap HERE.  Mattheus came in to replace starter Yunesky Maya in the fifth as the Nats were down 6-1. The Nats got six runs in the 7th and won 8-6.

Mattheus is becoming very popular with Nats fans.  People like his walk-up song, Firework by Katy Perry.  They also like the way he wears his hat low over his eyes.

As I discussed in another POST, I got Mattheus to sign an autograph on the program for me at NatsFest and I caught his hat.  He now also follows me on Twitter.  He said that he has a nephew who is 8 who is also a Nats fan.  Maybe if Uncle Ryan teaches him how to throw a killer sinker, he can teach me too.

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