Although three years removed from his time with the organization, Jeff Mathis still is a part of the Angels’ extended family.
The current Marlins catcher is the brother-in-law of Angels reliever Cory Rasmus.
"I know him pretty well," Mathis said of Rasmus.
Mike Scioscia has been so impressed with the catcher, he wouldn’t mind if he was a part of his immediate family, either.
"Jeff Mathis is not only an outstanding catcher but he’s the type (of) kid you’d want to be your son," Scioscia said. "He’s a great young man and we’re very proud of what he did, not only with us, but as he’s moved on and continued his career."
Scioscia and Mathis have spent hours upon hours with one another. Mathis’ time with the Angels can be likened to attending and every day catching school. There were positives and negatives about playing at the highest for a manager who played the same position as you. The positives include an understanding of the rigors of the position. Because of that same understanding, there isn’t much the skipper will miss, which at times can be a drawback.
"He stayed on me and (former Angels catcher Mike) Napoli pretty hard when we were over here but it was always to make us better, to teach, and have us learn the position," Mathis said. "Nothing slips by him. Nothing gets by him but it was good."
Even in Miami, he still can recall pointers Scioscia would give him about receiving the ball.
"There’s thoughts that run back through my head," Mathis said. "Things that you, kind of, revert back to. It’s a starting point, different things from commanding the game to giving the pitcher a good target to reminding the pitcher to get over when a left-handed hitter is up."
The relationship between skipper and catcher is one of immense respect. No matter how tough Scioscia might have been on Mathis, Scioscia always respected his work behind the plate and was appreciative of Mathis’ ability to be receptive.
"I don’t think there’s anybody that I’ve been around in the catching position that took it any more seriously," Scioscia said. "He really applied himself back there and knew that it was important what he did. He felt it when he didn’t play well and he felt good when he contributed to our team winning a game. He’s a terrific a catcher."