Matt Holliday talks return to Stillwater and more
STILLWATER — For 18 years, Matt Holliday called Stillwater home.
That was before he played in three World Series and seven All-Star Games. That was before he won a batting title.
Now, the 40-year-old is enjoying being back home.
Holliday is Oklahoma State’s new volunteer assistant coach, joining his brother’s coaching staff following a 15-year Major League Baseball career with four organizations. He’s primarily the team’s hitting and outfield coach.
And he’s loving every minute.
Ahead of OSU’s home opener against Texas-Rio Grande Valley at 4 p.m. Friday inside Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, Holliday met with the media and talked about why he returned to Stillwater, coaching and more.
Q: Can you walk us through how you ended up returning to baseball as a coach?
A: “I think the one thing is that I knew when I was done playing that I needed to I wanted to stay involved in baseball and didn't quite know what capacity. But having four kids and being away a lot as a player and playing, this was a good fit. When Josh (Holliday) asked me if this is something I wanted do, it was a really good fit for us as a family because I get to be here and it's not quite as consuming as professional baseball.
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“So, it just seemed like a good fit, kind of a good next step for me in my life and having the opportunity to to be here and be around Josh and the staff. And helping young players was appealing to me.”
What restrictions, if any, does that volunteer title have?
“For the most part, recruiting off campus is pretty much all the restrictions that I have. It's all about when you can call people. I can't go off campus recruiting.”
In the big leagues, you might have recruited free agents. This is different. Even with recruiting only on campus, how is that for you?
“I think it's cool when you get a chance to meet kids and their families when they come on campus and they can call me. I've got a chance to talk on the phone to some kids and I like to talk hitting. I like to talk about what they think when they're hitting and stuff like that.
“So, I've enjoyed that part of it, because I think obviously the more higher-end talent you're able to bring in the better chance you have to help them get to a higher level and ultimately helps us and our team success.”
There is another former MLB player on staff in an unusual role. Robin Ventura is back as a student assistant. What’s it like working with him?
“It's really cool. He's just a great guy. He's got a ton of baseball knowledge that I think goes without saying, but I think his presence and just his cool-and-calm demeanor is fun to be around for me. It's fun to be around for our staff, and then also the players. I think he just brings a really appealing way of bringing baseball knowledge and helping young guys that is pretty fun to watch.”
Texas-Rio Grande Valley at OSU
When: 4 p.m. Friday
Where: Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, Stillwater
Radio: 93.7 FM