2016 opening day has come and gone, but the PBATS ‘Inside the Game’ interview series is just getting started.
As we mentioned last week in the launch and interview #001, PBATS.com will be featuring a different person who currently plays an integral role in making the game of baseball as great as it is today. If you have an idea for a feature, feel free to comment below and let us know!
Last week we featured Freddie Seymour, a close friend to PBATS who works at MLB headquarters in New York City. This week, Inside the Game had the pleasure of sitting down with Jimmy Mattocks, an assistant athletic trainer with the Cincinnati Reds. Previously, Mattocks attended Northern Arizona University and Oregon State University.
In the interview Jimmy talks about his first opening day in the big leagues and the start to his career at the MLB level. Now on to the interview:
PBATS: When did you learn that you were promoted to be a MLB athletic trainer?
Jimmy Mattocks: I learned the news in early November of 2015.
PBATS: How is Spring Training in the Minor Leagues different than Spring Training with the MLB club?
JM: The intensity of spring training has a different feel. Instead of preparing for just another season, there is this feeling of preparation for something much more.
PBATS: What does opening day mean to you and what was special about it?
JM: Opening day means the beginning of what the off-season and long Spring Training have been building up to. This is what everyone has been preparing for. My first opening day in Cincinnati was a very memorable moment in my professional career.
PBATS: How did you get your start in baseball?
JM: I first completed an internship with the Arizona Diamondbacks, which introduced me into the world of athletic training in baseball. I had an idea baseball was where I wanted to go with my career, but seeing the day in and day out of baseball, along with the atmosphere, really solidified the fact that I wanted to get a start in professional baseball.
After graduate school, I started my first job with the Cincinnati Reds in rookie ball and have been with the Reds ever since, making stops at nearly every level along the way.
PBATS: What is your favorite part about being an athletic trainer?
JM: My favorite part is seeing a player return from an injury, that is really exciting for me. A guy that you have been working with and rehabbing for a certain amount of time — to see him get back on the field, feeling and seeing that moment for the first time, is just about as good as it gets.
PBATS: What is your favorite memory from working in baseball?
JM: My most memorable moment was opening day 2016 in Cincinnati. My favorite memory was a couple of years ago when Muhammad Ali came down into the clubhouse, while I was working in Louisville. Everyone got to meet The Greatest, it was amazing.
PBATS: What are some of the most interesting parts of your job in MLB that most people might not be aware of?
JM: The people you get to meet along the way are some of the most interesting and motivating people that I know. I’ve met sports icons and music icons that I wouldn’t have had the chance to in another setting or job.
PBATS: What is a typical day at the park like for an athletic trainer?
JM: We all usually get to the ballpark and make sure everything is in order for the day and set up the training room and field. Next, we’ll complete the pre-workout treatments in preparation for batting practice. After that, we’ll usually go outside and cover batting practice. After batting practice is over, we’ll come in for post-workout treatments.
At the same time, someone on the staff will be completing pre-game treatments in preparation for the game. Then, we’ll clean up the training room and set up for post-game. Then we get settled in and watch the game. After that, we’ll head to the training room after the game and complete post-game treatments. Once we’re done with that, we will clean the training room in preparation for the next day. Then, as expected, wake up and do it all over again!
PBATS: What are your favorite things to do in the off-season?
JM: I try to spend as much time as possible with family and friends that I don’t get to see very often during the season. And golf, of course.
PBATS: What advice would you offer young people, college students or anyone looking to get their start in athletic training and the game of baseball?
JM: I’d recommend that anyone looking to get into baseball makes sure that they know what they’re getting into. Set your sights and goals high, if you are passionate and take pride in what you do, you never know what can happen. Truly, anything is possible.
A huge thanks to Jimmy Mattocks for taking some time to sit down with us for Inside the Game #002. And please let us know if you have any specific questions that you’d like to see answered throughout this series. Feel free to tweet at us at @PBATS using the hashtag #InsideTheGame.