Forget Natitude, how’s your Matt-itude?
He’s the newest blogger and twitter sensation in NatsTown.
Every time he gets a new follower on twitter, it makes his day.
Every time somebody comments on his work, he’s appreciative- and ecstatic.
And he’s 8.
Yes, as in 8 years old. When Matt first reached out to us, all he wanted was a follow on twitter. And he wasn’t “soliciting” by any means- I had made it known that I’d like to follow more die-hard Nats fans. But after hearing his story, and seeing his work, I had to learn more: who’s his favorite player? What does he think about Morse getting traded? Which National would he most like to have as his teacher? You know, the important stuff.
So with the help of his parents, Matt was nice enough to agree to share some of his story- and some of his thoughts.
In the fast paced, social media world we live in today, how many of us wish we could channel our inner-child and go back to the basics of just loving the game and hoping for the best? How many of us wish the simple things, like adding twitter followers, would give us this kind of reaction?
His basic, fundamental level of love he has for the game and for the Nationals at 8 years old is contagious. Maybe when you read this, you’ll catch some of it. Either way, thanks for reading it.
And so here it is- the exclusive interview with the Nationals biggest 8 year old fan:
Red Porch Report (RPR): Hey Matt! Thanks for taking time to answer some of our questions. You’re such a big Nats fan and you’re only 8 years old- how long have you been a fan?
Matt: My dad got me tickets to a game in July 2009, but I didn’t know much about baseball at that time because I was only 5.
The Nats were playing the Mets. We were sitting in the 300 level. Randomly, a man came up to us and we started talking to him and told him that it was my first baseball game. He said he was leaving soon and gave us his tickets in the front row behind first base next to the camera well in the dugout. After we got settled, a camera person told me to yell to the players and maybe they would give me a ball, and they did!
I got so into the game I realized I would love baseball. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.
RPR: When did you start your website? Who gave you the idea?
Matt: Towards the middle of last season, I was so interested in MLB news that my mom got the idea that I should write a paragraph every morning about what was in the news and give my opinion on it. Then she started to post them to a blog so that she could easily share them with my family and give it the feel of being published like a news story. It also gave me the “pressure” of making sure it was good! I’ve been writing posts, mostly about the Nationals, ever since.
RPR: Who is your favorite player?
Matt: My favorite player is Bryce Harper because he tells the world no matter what age they are, they can still be whatever they want. He was so amazing last year and he wasn’t even 20. I use his stance all the time when I play in games.
RPR: So you play baseball- what’s your position? What’s your number?
Matt: Yes, I play. In the Bethesda-Chevy Chase league I play in, they assign different positions every 2 innings. Last year, my favorite position was third base and my number was my age, 8.
RPR: If you got to interview Bryce Harper, but only got to ask him ONE question- what would it be?
Matt: I would ask him “How did you get so into baseball and how can I do the same” because he’s a baseball mega-phenom and a person with NATITUDE IN HIS HEART!
RPR: Which player would you most want to play like if you were in the MLB?
Matt: I would like to play like shortstop Ian Desmond because he plays awesome defense and is maybe the best #6 hitter in the National League East.
Most importantly, Ian Desmond interacts with the fans and signs autographs for the fans before the games. He realizes that people are coming to the game to see him play. Since we give Ian Desmond our love, he gives the fans his love by signing autographs, throwing a practice ball into the crowd and talking with fans and high-fiving them. He does this more than any other player I’ve ever seen. I see how important this is to all the fans, so if I were in the MLB I would be like him and make the fans happy.
RPR: If you could create your baseball dream team, which non-National would be on it?
Matt: The non-National would be Miguel Cabrera because if you win the Triple Crown for the first time since 1967, you deserve to be on anybody’s dream team.
RPR: If you could have one of the Nats as a teacher for a year, who would it be?
Matt: I would like my teacher to be third baseman Ryan Zimmerman because he seems patient and trustworthy. He takes his job very seriously. He is a good leader. A good teacher can also laugh and make jokes. I’ve seen him be funny sometimes when he throws bubble gum or sunflower seeds at the other players. A good teacher would be proud when the kids get a hard answer right, and that’s kind of like what Ryan Zimmerman does when he high fives his teammates after a home run. Zimmerman also went to a good college, UVA.
RPR: If you could follow around one player for a day, who would it be?
Matt: I’d follow Gio Gonzalez around because almost every kid wants a funny person to follow and since Morse left DC, Gio is now in charge of the shaving cream pie business as the funniest player on the team.
RPR: Do you have any nicknames that you’ve made up for the players?
Matt: I call the Ian Desmond-Danny Espinosa combo in the 6-4-3 double play “Des-pinosa.” We use all the other ones—Harp (Harper), Zim (Zimmerman), Shark (Bernadina), Zuke (Suzuki), T-Mo (sometimes my parents say “Mary Tyler Moore”).
We also made up a song about Danny Espinosa. The only words are “Danny Espinosa” but you have to sing it the right way. We have another song we used to sing to the tune of Desmond’s old walk up song “Warriors” where we put in the names of all the players we can think of as we are singing it.
RPR: What do you want to be when you grow up (besides a baseball player!)?
Matt: This is kind of about baseball, but I want to be a commentator like F.P. Santangelo. The play by play that Charlie Slowes does is hard to do and you really are just the narrator. But the commentator gets to give his opinion and also tell jokes. I am starting to give my opinion on my blog. I also know a lot of stats because I watch the MLB Network and I have lots of baseball cards that I play with. When my Twitter got popular, F.P. Santangelo followed me. Maybe he will read my blog sometimes and give me pointers to get as good as him.
If I couldn’t do anything related to baseball, I would be an inventor, because I like to come up with new ideas.
RPR: Let’s get some of your thoughts on the team. What do you think the Nats need to do differently this year to avoid losing in the first round of the playoffs?
Matt: The Nationals need only one thing: Stephen Strasburg. It was disappointing that he had to be shut down in early September when the team was so close to making the playoffs. It would have been a great idea to start his season later (like in May) to make sure he could go into the playoffs, but no one knew the Nats would get so far. I wasn’t happy when Davey Johnson shut him down and that was right when we realized we could clinch the division. Now we know Strasburg can pitch the whole season and post-season.
RPR: Even weighing in on the Strasburg debate Matt, I like it! Do you think bringing Adam LaRoche back was the right move? And how do you feel about Michael Morse getting traded?
Matt: Morse was so funny and popular around NatsTown that it is sad he had to be traded. He was a great hitter and loved his fan base. He also had the famous walkup song. Bringing back Adam LaRoche was a good move because he was so helpful at the plate and defensively he picked a lot of balls that would have been wild throws. LaRoche is a talented veteran.
I wrote a post on my blog on January 9 about Morse and LaRoche with my idea for keeping both of them. It was great having a 4-5 punch with Morse and LaRoche.
RPR: If you had to create a title for the 2012 Nats season, what would it be? What about the title for the upcoming 2013 season?
Matt: The title for 2012 would be “The Unexpected” because they had an amazing season that no one expected, but the NLDS Game 5 was also so unexpected. People were hoping for .500 baseball, but they ended up with the best record in baseball. In Game 5, they were leading the whole way and were 1 strike away (2 times) and ended up losing 9-7. In Game 4, no one really expected Jayson Werth’s season-saving walkoff.
In 2013, I have a feeling that the title will be “NATIONALS WIN WORLD SERIES FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1924!!” because THEY’LL WIN IT ALL!!!!
RPR: So you’re going on record and picking the Nationals to win it all in 2013. You’re 8 right now- how many World Series wins do you think they will have by the time you’re Bryce Harper’s age?
Matt: Yes, I think after a year of experience in the postseason, 2013 is going to be their year.
I think the combo of Stras, Gio, J-Zimm, Haren and Detwiler is going to shut down hitters. And Zim, Werth, Harp, and LaRoche will help get our curly “W” on the base of a World Series trophy. I expect Desmond and Espinosa to continue their awesome defense. I am excited to see Wilson Ramos back in a Nats uniform and also expect Suzuki to throw out any runner that tries.
I think from now until the time I turn 20, they may win 1 or 2 more trophies, but 2013 will definitely be the year of the Nats.
So far, you could argue that 2013 has been the year of Matt. His followers on twitter have gone from just a few to almost 200. His writing and knowledge of the team rival that of many different blogs I follow, including our very own.
Natitude is alive & well folks. And it comes in all different shapes, all different sizes…and all different ages.