Pitcher heads Down Under
to continue baseball career
(See related story:
Playing for his late pal.)
By Ned Bekavac
Like facing a batter he knows next to nothing about, pitcher Nathan Linseman is heading into uncharted territory.
And he’s saying bring it on.
“I feel like I’m the kind of person where I cannot imagine it not working out,” says the 6-foot-2 local lefty.
Linseman is going Down Under to take to the mound for the Northern District Reds baseball team in Adelaide, Australia.
And he’s pumped to go, for both on- and off-field reasons.
“I’m really, really excited. Australia seems like such a popular place right now,” he says.
As for pitching, he says success should be in store: “Pitching is a funny thing. If you know how to do it in one place, halfway across the world is probably the same.”
An Our Lady of Lourdes graduate, Linseman was drafted by Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers in the 45th round of the 2008 draft. Earlier this year, he finished his NCAA Division I baseball career with Canisius College in Buffalo.
He got some Aussie tips from Guelph’s Mike Goemans, who is a friend and a former teammate.
Goemans spent some time pitching in Australia, had lots of success, Linseman said, and talked up the idea to his friend.
“It gave me the idea that it wouldn’t be the craziest thing, to go over there,” says Linseman.
While the ball he’s playing in Australia is considered amateur, Linseman says he’ll get lots of stuff paid for, and he will have a decent-paying job hooked up for him.
His stint will be for one eight-month season, from September to April.
“I’m just going to ride with it, see how it goes, take it one month at a time and enjoy it as much as I can. And then I’ll come back and try to find real life again,” he laughs, while adding that he’s not sure what his baseball future might hold after the season.
Linseman came up through the Guelph Minor Baseball Association ranks and he would go on to play for the Intercounty Terriers. A career highlight for him was getting to represent Canada on its junior national team, a team that included current Toronto Blue Jays star Brett Lawrie.
The pitcher is looking forward to a lot of things in the next phase of his career. One of them is getting to swing the bat again.
Linseman hasn’t batted competitively in a few years. In Australia, he’ll be expected to regularly step into the batter’s box.
“It’s exciting. I really miss hitting,” he says. “It’s kind of like riding a bike, a little bit. You hop back on, you’re back in the cage and it feels good. We’ll see how it goes.”
With his trip to the Oz right around the corner, Nathan, often called Nate by his peers, says he’s already got a fun taste of the Australians’ much-loved lingo and accents, courtesy of phone calls from his new coach.
“The coach always calls me ‘mate.’ I thought it was ‘Nate,’ then I realized he’s been calling me ‘mate’ . . . and calls me ‘mate’ every couple of seconds,” Linseman says.
Ahead of his trek to Australia, the Tribune threw a few Qs Linseman’s way for a Q&A.
Q&A With Nathan Linseman
Q: What, specifically, has been the most memorable moment of your baseball career so far?
A: Being selected by the Detroit Tigers in the ’08 draft and this past season getting the win versus Duke University (as well as future Blue Jay Marcus Stroman) twice.
Q: The Trib’s paying the tab. What’s your tipple and where are you having it?
A: If the Trib is picking up the tab, I would go back to Negril, Jamaica, and have a couple Black Russians with my dad.
Q: Baseball players seem to have a lot of superstitions or game-day rituals. What is/are yours?
A: My superstitions aren’t as intense as others, but during games,
I often pace the dugout and bullpen and do not like talking to anyone but the catcher. I also never like wearing my hat. I developed the game persona from watching guys like Doc Halladay back in the day.
Q: What are the three most-played songs on your iPod?
A: My music taste is all over the map. But the top three songs on my iPod right now are 38 Years Old, by the Tragically Hip, Wild Ones by Sia, and Calling by Sebastien Ingrosso.
Different kinds of music for different moods!
Q: Baseball is a pretty civil game, but sometimes things can get pretty heated between a pitcher and a batter. Care to share a story?
A: I will never forget my trips with Team Canada. We were in Winnipeg, playing in CanWest Park.
It was a game between Chinese Taipei and Canada, and the game was getting out of hand.
I was asked to brush a Taiwanese player back, and when I did, it erupted into a shouting match between me and the batter.
I was yelling at the player in English and he was yelling back at me in Mandarin. Anyways, it resulted in a two minute yelling match between two players – and neither of us understood what the other person was saying. Needless to say, I won the shouting match.
Q: What is one thing you’re particularly excited about with regards to moving to Australia? And what is one thing you’re nervous about?
A: Everything about Australia excites me. The promise of not seeing snow is extremely exciting.
I just want to embrace the country as much as possible, and be able to tell my kids about the time where dad lived half way across the world for a brief time and played baseball.
I only hope that the snakes and wildlife don’t take a liking to me as a meal.
Q: Where do you see yourself baseball-wise and life-wise in, say, seven years?
A: In seven years, I will be married – two kids. I would love to work within investments but have enough time to raise my kids and give them as much of my time as possible. My dream is to move to Columbia, South Carolina.
I could find myself getting very comfortable with calling the beach my home. In seven years, the only thing I see baseball wise is preparing my kids for tee-ball practice.
Q: Thanks Nathan . . . hoping you can pass me your favourite:
• Band or musician: The Tragically Hip/ Mumford and Sons
• Actor: Larry David
• Actress: Sofia Vergara
• Movie: Shutter Island
• TV show: Seinfeld/ Curb Your Enthusiasm
• Food: Thanksgiving dinner
• Drink: Booster Juice
• MLB team: Blue Jays
• Sport other than baseball: Hockey