Saturday, August 3, 2013

Q&A with Trent Schmutter

Questions and answers with Trent Schmutter (pictured above) who is an outfielder with the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League

1. (NH) What do you consider to be your top five baseball career highlights?
(TS) Baseball career highlights:
  • Making my debut for New South Wales in the Claxton Shield and getting my first hit... I still have the ball in my room
  • Achieving the ABL Rookie of the Year Award with the Blue Sox during the first year and having the best batting average for our team was definitely a highlight
  • When I was younger I went to Japan for the World Children's Baseball Fair... It wasn't just a baseball experience it was a cultural experience and it actually developed me further as a person... The whole getting to know people from other countries... It was the first time I'd travelled outside of the country without family... I was one of five Australian boys over in Japan when I was twelve
  • I hit a walk off against Melbourne during the first ABL season... It was a pretty big moment for me... And as part of this a highlight as a team was being the team first past the post during that season as Minor Premiers
  • One of my best mates Dave Welch throwing a no-hitter... Being on the field... Catching the last out is definitely something I'll remember... It's a moment that we'll always have together that we talk about even though I don't see him because he's in America, but we still talk about it over the phone
2. (NH) Who were some of your most formidable opponents?
(TS) I don't think you can go past Perth... One they've got such a great junior development program over there and the talent coming through is ridiculous... Every year I play there seems to be another Kennelly brother that's coming up and signing and dominating... I think they should be called the Perth Kennellys... Then you bring in the import players and a couple of pitchers who have played in the Major Leagues so you put them up against us and we battle them every time but they always seem to have the wood on us unfortunately

3. (NH) Having experienced the previous ABL as a fan and this version as a player what are some differences you have noticed between the two?
(TS) ABL differences:
  • As a young kid going with my dad basically every week to Parramatta to Concord to Homebush following them (Sydney Blues/Storm) around to the different stadiums that they had... I just remember looking up to them and thinking they were the biggest things in the world... They still gave the time and effort to talk to me... My dad was quite close with Craig Stone's old man so I had a bit of an apprenticeship with him and he looked after me... The one thing that I've noticed that's different now being in their shoes is that everyone is just regular blokes at the end of the day, where I looked up to them as being these superstars and they could do no wrong and they could strike out fours times in a game and be heroes in my eyes... Everyone is just normal and what we've got to do is the same thing and give back to the fans... I always take time out of my night to talk with a fan or give them something to walk away with to remember a game because they're the ones who are going to be stepping into our shoes in ten years time... Without that fan base this league doesn't exist
  • The influx of overseas players coming and making this league a lot stronger is a difference I've noticed. I played alongside Brandon Barnes who is basically a gold glove centre-fielder with Houston and he recently hit for the cycle... Having imports further pushes you as a player and drives you to improve
4. (NH) What are some of the things you have learnt from players who have played in the Major Leagues or have later gone on to play at that level?
(TS) Learning from Major Leaguers:
  • I'm lucky because I've know Trent Oeltjen for years and he actually lived down the street from me... When he would return from America we would have a throw... I was only about 15 and still developing as a player but it was just such a massive thing to train with this guy whose such a heavy weight of baseball
  • I was playing in the first year of the ABL, and he (Oeltjen) came back, and sharing the outfield with him and unfortunately had some sort of collision out near the wall with a lack of communication and I'd like to add it was his lack of communication it wasn't my fault... He basically got up and said to me (jokingly), "Trent, you know if you want centre-field that bad just tell me and I'll let you have it, you don't have to run into me and injure me." He's got such a great attitude in terms of just life in general and I think that's the main thing I've learnt from him
  • He's (Oeltjen) one of the guys I really look up to... That guy I've seen run down balls and I don't know how he does it... He's obviously Superman in centre-field... Just watching him go about his business and knowing he's been to the Major Leagues is helpful
  • Brandon Barnes is a gamer who gives 110% every game and I like to think I'm the same, and it doesn't so much matter on your natural talent because you've always got to work to further develop your skills, but if you give that amount of effort you're going to succeed 99% of the time... Barnes was at the end of a seven year contract when he came out here and he didn't know if his contract would be renewed but his attitude helped him to the Major Leagues
5. (NH) What are some initiatives you feel could further cultivate baseball interest in Australia?
(TS) Cultivating baseball interest:
  • There's a thousands ideas and it would be awesome if they could all be attempted but the reality is we don't have the funding in the sport... But the Blue Sox are catching on to a few ways to try and expand the fan base... I did a promotion the other week at the ice hockey at Norwest because we run opposite seasons to each other but are both newer sports here
  • Working to sell out Blue Sox games... Atmosphere is a reason why people go out and watch baseball... The atmosphere cannot be created unless you have a full stadium
  • Getting baseball into schools is the main thing... Getting guys especially leading up to the ABL season doing clinics and handing out all the promotional information... Having promotional continuity well before the season begins... I know the funds aren't there I understand that... It really doesn't take too much and I give up my spare time for any promotional thing and we don't get paid for that... You just do it out of passion and there are enough guys in Australia, from our roster, all year to be able to do some regular clinics
  • Keep building up with television... If we can get that going a bit more with maybe some free to air and some prime time that will build up more interest
Please refer to this link to see Trent Schmutter's ABL statistics

For all my baseball themed books please refer to these links:

Aussies World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017 and also available from United States Amazon

Aussie Baseball Musings and also available from United States Amazon

Aussies in the Majors and also available from United States Amazon

Boomerang Baseball and also available from United States Amazon

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento and also available from United States Amazon

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