Meet The Fish: Mike Mueller
Mike Mueller has travelled the world to play the game he loves.
The 26-year-old pitcher for the Welland Jackfish spent last year playing in Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Germany before travelling down under to play six months in Australia.
“I always wanted to travel and I thought that it would be a pretty cool idea to travel and still be able to play baseball,” the Mississauga native said.
Mueller said the experience couldn’t have worked out any better.
“It was awesome. You get to see different parts of the world as well as play some competition from everywhere,” he said. “It was fantastic, from the people to the actual baseball.
“It was a heck of an experience.”
Mueller enjoyed his time in Europe but said the highest calibre of ball was in Australia.
“That was the best baseball I played overseas. It was fantastic. It was similar baseball. Very small ball, but overall a great experience.” he said. “I would certainly compare it to this, especially the top of the order, they were very competitive and very smart. The first two pitchers were pretty stellar and then it fell off.”
Baseball is still baseball, even a world away, but Mueller did notice one big difference compared to playing in North American.
“Not too much that was out of the ordinary but before every at-bat to start the game every single player would shake hands with the umpire up to the plate,” he said. “There was a little bit more respect in that sense thanking the umpire for their time.”
Mueller said the experience has opened his eyes to the calibre of ball in the Intercounty Baseball League more than ever.
“I think I found myself to be more humble after looking at baseball and seeing the type of baseball that’s played over there,” he said. “It’s definitely put it into a better perspective for me and whenever I make mistakes now, I don’t take it so hard. You see what other people are doing and just the challenge of putting teams together over in Europe. You become a little more thankful for the calibre we have here.”
Mueller, who has also played in Brantford of the IBL, is off to a strong start with a 1.68 earned run average while appearing in all three Jackfish games this season.
“He’s a high leverage reliever and spot starter and it (start) could be sooner than later the way he’s throwing now,” Jackfish manager Brian Essery said. “He attacks the zone, he pounds the zone. He throws strikes and gets ahead of guys. Really good off-speed pitch and he’s firm too.”
Mueller, who features a two-seam and four-seam fastball, curve, and change-up, normally throws in the mid to upper 80s and occasionally touches the low 90s.
“It’s definitely been a learning curve throughout my seasons that I’ve played,” Mueller said. “I’ve learned I’ve got to get out there and attack and get ahead of guys. When I’m more efficient and successful, I found myself getting ahead in counts.”
Mueller also played junior college at Arkansas Tech University and Scottsdale Community College before joining the IBL.
“I learned a lot from junior college, the baseball there was some of the best I’ve ever been part of,” he said.
Off the field, Mueller works in real estate.
The Jackfish, 1-2, are in Guelph Saturday and Toronto Sunday before playing host to London Saturday, June 3 at 6:05 p.m.