Excitement mounts for Matheny as Draft nears

Excitement mounts for Matheny as Draft nears

Excitement mounts for Matheny as Draft nears
NEW YORK -- Every few minutes during his pregame meeting with reporters on Saturday, manager Mike Matheny would glance over at the desktop monitor in his office. Streaming on that monitor was video from Meador Park in Springfield, Mo., where Matheny's son, Tate, was about to take the field.

A senior at Westminster Christian Academy, Tate Matheny helped lead the school's baseball team to a 10-4 win and State Championship title later in the day. As he did with Friday's state semifinal game, Matheny caught bits of the action from afar. Text updates from family and friends filled in the blanks.

Since stepping into his role, Matheny has encouraged his coaching staff and players to prioritize family whenever possible. In fact, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist is away from the team this weekend to attend his son's high school graduation.

Matheny missed Tate's high school graduation during the last homestand and joked on Saturday that he has done "badly so far" taking his own advice. However, Matheny does have the benefit of having his family permanently in St. Louis, unlike many members of the organization.

"For me, I know what to do," said Matheny, a father of five. "I was able to watch them play for a few years, and it was fun. They get it. They're great about it."

Matheny's personal and professional worlds will collide next week when Tate is expected to be selected in the First-Year Player Draft. Tate, who has a scholarship to play baseball at Missouri State, has talked to his father, a former eighth-round pick, as well as current Cardinal players about the decision he'll have to make between turning pro or heading to college.

Matheny hasn't shielded Tate from the process either, instead allowing his son to take phone calls directly from scouts.

"It's an exciting time for him," Matheny said. "To me, it's a no-lose situation. It will be obvious if a team feels strongly enough about him to make a decision. If not, he's got school waiting for him and an opportunity to go get better and get an education. I keep talking to him about it, but he hasn't put too much thought into it. He thinks it will be pretty clear."

The ultimate decision, Matheny said, will be up to his son.

"We've had a lot of good conversations and will continue to," Matheny said. "He and I will be talking a lot. It's been a good experience for him so far."