12 Year Old Myleigh Carper Chats With Indians Prospect Mark Mathias
Mark Mathias stepped up to the plate not knowing that May 14th, would be his day to play. As he stepped into the batter’s box, he was not expecting the ball to carry over the wall for his second home run of the season, setting the score 3-2 in the 4th, allowing his teammates to come and set-up for the win. After trotting the bases he brought his good spirit into the top of the tenth, going 4 for 4, hitting an RBI single, while securing the 5-4 win for the Clippers. With this amazing end of a great game, Mathias truly showed his desire to play in the majors.
“I believed in myself highly and I knew what I wanted. I had a goal,and it was to reach for the big leagues, and I think I believed in that every single day. Every time that I would step on the field, I would think about what I wanted to accomplish. Getting that little taste in my mouth that I wanted to get to the highest level,” Mathias says when he is asked if he always believed that he would get to the level that he is at today.
Growing up he had his parents that were there to support him and he knew as soon as he got ‘that little taste in his mouth,’ that he wanted to get to the big leagues. Mathias always took the game to heart and consistently pushed himself to get to the point in his career that he is today. Never giving up and constantly believing in himself was the key that unlocked the door to open up the world he lives in today. Mark grew up knowing that baseball would be his future. He pushed himself to get to the point where he is at now. He knew from the start that he would end up playing in the majors, but he also knows that everyone else who strives to be where he is, can do it with a lot of hard work.
Mathias reminds every young athlete with these words of advice,”The biggest thing is to have fun. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s nothing you can change because this game is really hard to play and not a lot of people are good at it. Just take it one step at a time and stick to the process. Make sure that you don’t take it for granted. Everyday you come onto the field and be ready to play.”
While Mark set out to complete his goal of playing in the big leagues, he knew that the point of the game was to have fun. He wants to ensure that everyone else knows this as well. He says that the game is not something to pass by, and that you can’t take it for granted. Mark sends a message that speaks “Never give up and just have fun. That’s what games are supposed to be.” And his words, can help everyone who has a goal.
Mathias has had many struggles during the journey. He suffered injuries that taught him that the game, could be removed from his life at any moment. Every time it felt as though the journey was over, he pushed himself even harder to pursue his dreams. “I think injuries helped me a lot in my career because I have been through a lot of injuries that I overcame and they made me stronger eventually. Baseball is super special, so being hurt and having the game taken away from you and then coming back through it helped me a lot to overcome my first season. To really respect the game and to know that it could be taken away from me at any time.”
While some injuries helped him to understand the truth behind the fan favorite sport, they also harmed him in being able to pursue his dreams, “In 2017, I dislocated my shoulder twice. I dislocated my shoulder in training and I dislocated my shoulder during the season. That was the hardest obstacle I’ve ever faced.” He was injured many times but he never let that slow him, having many struggles that he had to overcome, they never slowed his determination.
In his youth, Mathias had his family to support him through his journey. “My parents helped me the most. They’ve supported me throughout everything. Supported me when times were tough, pushed me when I needed to be pushed and they weren’t too hard on me when I was young. I mean, just go out there and have fun.” He understood early on that baseball was not the easiest sport there was. He knew that he was going to have to work hard in order to accomplish his goal of making it to the big leagues. He had played soccer and football growing up, but one tiny difference truly set in stone his desire to play baseball.
“Just the feeling of hitting the ball off the bat. Hitting home runs and hitting the ball. Just the feeling of achieving one of the hardest sports ever I think helped me a lot.” Just being able to feel the feeling that few people have felt helped Mark decide what he wanted to do with his life. He never gave up, if anything he tried harder. Because of Mark’s hard work, he has been able to play with many teams that are just as determined as him.
“I think the camaraderie with your teammates is one of the best things, I mean just having the team. In professional baseball you play with Latin players and Chinese players, so it’s like you get a lot of relationships to establish with all of your teammates. The biggest thing is you get to meet everyone around the world and your with everyone for six months out of the year, so you get to become like family.”
He has gotten to feel the sensation of winning championships, “We won nationals in 2015 and winning a ring in the professional league is amazing. It was awesome.” He’s achieved many things during his career, gotten to feel the golden moments when he hits the ball over the fence or making near impossible plays. He has striven to be the player he is today and it hasn’t stopped.
Myleigh Carper is the daughter of Legend on Deck’s official photographer Mathew Carper. Myleigh has grown up watching her dad follow some of the games greatest players in the minors as he has covered the Columbus Clippers and also many other teams for our site. Myleigh is a standout softball player, who understands the game probably more than most girls her age and I am honored that we get to share her first professional interview here on the site.
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