Baseball. A father and son can bond with a simple game of catch. Friendships can be created with one effortless pick-up game. Memories are etched forever with one swing of the bat.
Baseball. It has been like a constant heart beat that fuels an entire population. It is the engine that will never die. It is America's pastime.
It has been the source of success, no matter how minute it may be. Baseball has given so much to people, and that is why baseball deserves respect back.
El Paso Chihuahuas starting pitcher, Matt Wisler, knows how special the game really is.
Growing up in Bryan, Ohio, Matt Wisler had one dream, one goal, one mission: to make it to the big leagues.
"I've played since I was three or four and I loved the fact that my dad coached me all the way until high school. I loved playing for him. We would travel and the friends you make is one of the best things about this game," Wisler said.
Dominating at Bryan High School, Wisler earned a scholarship to The Ohio State University. Yet, his focus went far beyond the scarlet and grey.
Selected by the San Diego Padres in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school, Wisler decided to turn his dream into a reality right away.
"Draft day was awesome. I always dreamed of being drafted but I never thought it would turn into a reality. It was a moment I will never forget," Wisler said.
In his first professional season playing for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Class A Affiliate of the San Diego Padres, he went 5-4 compiling a 2.53 ERA. Pitching in 24 games (starting 23 of those games), he racked up 114.0 innings, striking out 113 batters and only walking an impressive 28 hitters.
Wisler was eventually promoted to Double A San Antonio during the season and helped lead the Missions to a Texas League championship.
Between the two stints, he recorded a combined 10-6 record with a 2.78 ERA over 26 starts. He marked a 3.00 ERA for the Missions, marking him fourth in the league, but the right-handed hurler didn't have enough innings to qualify.
In the month of August, Wisler flat-out dominated, notching a 3-1 record with a 1.86 ERA in six starts. However, Wisler wasn't done by any means. During the playoffs, he made three starts for the Missions going 1-0 with two no decisions, allowing just one earned run over 16 innings of work for a 0.56 ERA. Wisler added to that impressive line with 16 strikeouts.
After the season, he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the Padres system and entered the 2014 campaign as the No. 78 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com.
Yet, for any 21 year old Phenom, there will be growing pains.
In his first four starts for the Chihuahuas, Wisler struggled. He tossed only 13.1 innings combined while racking up three losses and notching a 13.74 ERA. To get back on track, Wisler went back to his roots.
"I spoke with my dad when things were tough, and baseball wasn't the only thing we talked about. We just talked. He helped me clear my head and put confidence back in me," Wisler said.
Wisler continued, "When I first struggled, I wasn't limiting the damage. As soon as things started to go wrong I thought to myself, 'Here we go again.' With the help from the coaching staff and my teammates I started to figure out the mental side of the game, because there is a lot more going on and there is a lot more pressure."
With the help surrounding him, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound righty came out swinging with heavy haymakers, focused…determined…ready. Wisler was prepared to become not only a great pitcher, but an elite pitcher.
On May 26th, 2014, Wisler took on the challenge against Tacoma. Drowning out the last four starts, Wisler dominated for seven innings, allowing only two hits, surrendering zero earned runs….Matt Wisler arrived.
Since then, the Ohio native is 8-2. In 106.1 innings of work, he has marked a 4.91 ERA.
"I love when you are in the zone competing. I love the feeling of battling and dominating. Being in the moment and knowing nobody can touch you, that is the best feeling," Wisler said.
Wisler added, "Baseball is a great game. The friends you make, and the memories that are remembered, make this game special."
Purchase your tickets now to watch Matt Wisler and the Chihuahuas play at Southwest University Park. For more information on 2015 Full Season Seat Information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (915) 242-2000.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.