OTTAWA- Scott Mathieson (Aldergrove, BC) has seen a lot in his professional baseball career. Three arm surgeries, riding buses and eating the same old spread everyday at all levels of the minor leagues, playing for his country and realizing his childhood dream of playing Major League Baseball are all experiences that the 27 year-old has gone through in his baseball career.
In early July, on Canada Day weekend, Mathieson’s Philadelphia Phillies were in Toronto for a three-game series with the Blue Jays. At the same time, the Junior National Team was in Toronto to participate in Canada Day festivities and workout at Rogers Centre prior to heading to Cuba for a series of exhibition contests with the Cuban Junior National Team.
While most MLB players choose to go out for dinner and get away from the ballpark after a game, Mathieson chose to attend the JNT practice after his Phillies defeated the Jays and spend his time speaking to the team about some of the adversity he has faced in his career and how he was able to resurrect his career when the odds were against him. He also lent a hand to the JNT pitching staff and made himself available to players so they could ‘pick his brain’ on anything baseball.
Mathieson took the time to sit-down with Baseball.ca to discuss his career, Canada Day and what he’d like to do when his playing days are over.
Baseball.ca: You didn’t have to come out to the JNT practice, why did you decide to be here today?
Scott Mathieson: I don’t get a chance to be around Greg (Hamilton) and the JNT program a lot so any chance to come out here is a lot of fun for me. This is a program that helped me get to the next level, so any opportunity I have to come out, I do, I love being here.
BC: How did you enjoy your experience as a member of the JNT?
SM: My first experience with the JNT was in 2002 at the Spring Camp in Orlando. I was actually a late addition to the team because of an injury. It was great, I got the experience of representing my country and nothing really beats that. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in baseball.
BC: How have you handled the adversity you have faced in your career and how has it affected you as a baseball player?
SM: In 2006 I made my big-league debut; I really thought that I was there to stay and I was going to have a long big-league career. Then (in 2006) I had my first Tommy John surgery and two surgeries later I was out of baseball. It’s definitely been a long road and there have been days filled with doubt since I didn’t know if I’d be able to play again. I stuck with it and luckily was able to come back and last year reached the majors again. I’ve been back here for almost a month this year and it feels great to be back at the highest level of baseball.
BC: What was it like as a Canadian being able to play baseball in Canada on Canada Day?
SM: It was awesome seeing 50,000 people packed into this stadium (Rogers Centre), there was a lot of energy, and it was pretty exciting. I was here (in Toronto) for Canada Day in 2006 but before then I hadn’t been in Canada on Canada Day since high school. I’m happy to be here with the JNT and being able to spend some time with coaches and friends from the team on Canada Day is special.
BC: Since you’re here today helping out with the JNT, is coaching something you would like to do when your playing days are over?
SM: Definitely, I’d like to do something at the amateur level, similar to what my dad (Doug) does with the Langley Blaze and help kids get to college or play at the next level.
Note: Scott Mathieson is currently in AAA with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs where he is a joined by fellow Canadians Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, QC) and Pete Orr (Newmarket, ON).