Sport

Kansas City Royals’ Peter Moylan on what he misses about Australia and aiming for the World Series. By Donna Walker-Mitchell.
Credit: ED ZURGA / GETTY IMAGES

Pitch perfect: Peter Moylan, 38, baseballer

Getting older has its advantages. Being 38, I know everything there is to do in this game as a relief pitcher. I’ve been in every situation before. Also, I don’t get as nervous as I did when I was younger. Once you’ve proven yourself over and over again, you don’t second-guess yourself.

I spent the off-season trying to get ready for this year and it’s paid off. It’s the first time I’ve been healthy in a while. From 2011 up until last year, it’s been a bit of a struggle with injuries, but I’ve done what I needed to do to get myself ready to pitch every day. Physically, you just have to do your rehab, but mentally, there have been times where I thought, “This might be it for me.”

I’ve been told so many times in my career that it’s time for me to move on, that I maybe should look at doing something else. I never gave that a second thought. I believe if you can stay focused and stay driven then anything is possible. Anything you do in life, if you really want to pursue it, do it 110 per cent.

I left home when I was 17, came over to the States to play and it didn’t work out. I went from being pretty good in Australia to moving overseas and just being one of 150 guys who were trying to do the same thing and a lot of them were a lot physically stronger than me. It was also my first time out of home so I didn’t really know how to adjust to that. I came home and worked every regular job you can think of. I was a plumber, concreter, splashback installer. I sold pest control, upholstery fabric, and I also sold furniture to the elderly. You name it, I’ve done it.

When I was working as a pharmaceutical rep, I was asked to try out for the Australian World Baseball Classic team. Somehow, I made the team and came over to Orlando to pitch for Australia at the WBC and the next day I got offered a contract with the Atlanta Braves, so I had to call my boss and say, “Hey, you need to find another rep. I’m not coming back.”

What I miss most about Australia are my family and friends. Oh, and great coffee. I can live without just about everything else, but friends, family and great coffee, no. When I’m back home I probably have four or five coffees a day. I can’t stop! I love that and having a poached egg. They can’t seem to do it over here. Why can’t they poach an egg? I just bought a cafe, the Apollo in West Melbourne. That should be fun.

I’m a huge Hawthorn supporter. The other week I got to watch the Fremantle Dockers versus the Demons on TV in Kansas City. It was the first game of AFL I’ve watched in about five years, so that was great. Relaxing-wise, if I have a day off I’ll play some golf. Or just put me in front of some good TV and I’m pretty happy. My favourites are Peaky Blinders and Orange Is the New Black.

This is my philosophy: it’s not that hard to be a good person and be a good teammate. You just have to genuinely care about other people. That’s what makes a good team player. Now, your performance on the field may be good or you may struggle, but if you’re the same guy every day, you show up and you have a smile on your face, be in a good mood and be a good guy, it translates into being a good team player.

My Aussie mates keep me down to earth. If they read something I’ve said or they watch me do an interview on TV and they don’t think I’ve said the right thing, they let me know it. My mum texts me after every single game. And there was a time when my dad would call me and he’d like to run through every play and I’d say to him, “Dad, you know I was there, right?”

My No. 1 goal is to win the World Series. On this team now, there are only four of us who haven’t won a World Series so I’d like to get that done. I love the competition of baseball. Any team can beat the other on any given day. It just takes one thing to totally change the game.

I’ve been clocked at pitches that are 96 miles an hour [155km/h], but that’s not my average, no. It’s anywhere from 88 to 92 miles an hour [142-148km/h]. People have asked me how I do it but, honestly, I don’t know. I guess I’m just lucky.

 

This week's highlights...

• AFL: GWS Giants v Richmond
Saturday, 4.35pm (AEST), Spotless Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park

• Netball: West Coast Fever v Collingwood Magpies
Saturday, 6.45pm (AWST), Perth Arena

• Motorsport: Winton SuperSprint – Supercars Championship, Race 10
Sunday, 1.45pm (AEST), Winton Motor Raceway, Victoria

• NRL: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Sydney Roosters
 Sunday, 4pm (AEST), ANZ Stadium, Sydney

• Gymnastics: 2017 Australian Championships
Monday until June 4, Hisense Arena, Melbourne

• Soccer: Liverpool FC v Sydney FC
Wednesday, 8pm (AEST), ANZ Stadium, Sydney

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 20, 2017 as "Pitch perfect". Subscribe here.

Donna Walker-Mitchell
is an Australian journalist based in Los Angeles.

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