As Joe Mather battles for the starting third base job in St. Louis Cardinals camp, I thought it might be interesting to look back at an interview I did with “Joey Bombs” in August of 2007.
Remember, that was the season that Mather went from being just another player in the organization to one of the Cardinals’ top prospects. Between Springfield and Memphis, Mather would hit 31 home runs.
Dustin Mattison: Congratulations on a great season.
Joe Mather: Thanks.
DM: What has been the difference?
JM: Maturity, probably. Just getting older. The more experience I’ve gotten, the better I’ve gotten.
DM: What’s the origin of the nickname Joey “Bombs”?
JM: (Chuckles) It came about my first year. One of the players on the team, Matt Lemanczyk, and our manager Pop Warner. Lemanczyk said it and Warner kept it going. I hit a couple of homeruns in batting practice and since then it has stuck.
DM: Tell me about going to the Arizona Fall League.
JM: I’m excited. It’s where I live. I live right there in Pheonix. It’s what I’ve worked for. I’ve wanted to be invited to go for a couple of years now. Since I signed, that has been the goal every year, to possibly get there. A lot of prospects come out of there. A lot of big leaguers come out of there. I am definitely very excited.
DM: What’s it like going from clubhouse in Springfield that sits atop the division, to one in Memphis that has had trouble winning games?
JM: Springfield was a great atmosphere all around. It’s a great city. I had never been there before. Like you said, they are winning. It was a young group, I was one of the older guys on the team being 24. I come up here and I am one of the younger ones. We’re losing. It is definitely a different feel in the clubhouse. It’s tougher for everyone to get motivated to play. But all in all, you got to put that aside and get ready to play.
DM: What’s the biggest difference in hitting in Double A and hitting in Triple A?
JM: Pitchers here know how to pitch. They have a much better idea. Pitchers at Double A will try to throw a fastball by you. Here you get sinkers in on your hands and cutters away. They rarely challenge you with a fastball down the middle. They are better picking their spots. That’s the biggest difference.
DM: I know you got a game to play. I thank you for your time and good luck the rest of the season.
JM: Thanks, I appreciate it.
(Ed. Note: Originally published at MVN on Monday, Sept. 10, 2007)