Q&A with Twins Reliever Ron Mahay


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Ron Mahay’s path to the big leagues required an unusual amount of patience, perseverance and dedication. The left-handed reliever was drafted in the 18th round by Boston in 1991 as an outfielder. He made his major league debut four years later at that position, hitting .200 in 20 at-bats.

Unable to find consistent success at the plate, Mahay began his transition to the mound in Australia in 1996 and returned to Boston in 1998 in his new role. After short stints with the A’s and Cubs, Mahay established himself as a reliable reliever in Texas, making 60 appearances in 2004 at age 33. He was dealt to Atlanta in the Mark Teixeira trade in 2007 and moved Kansas City as a free agent in 2008. After the Royals released Mahay last August he signed with the Twins for the stretch drive and re-upped this May.

The 39-year-old grizzled veteran took some time out to chat with me earlier this week.

DZ: The All Star break just ended, did you do anything special?

MAHAY: Nope, I went back home.

DZ: Where is that?

MAHAY: Arizona.

DZ: Family time, that kind of thing?

MAHAY: Absolutely.

DZ: I was looking into your background a little bit; you have a pretty interesting story. You came up as an outfielder. Could you talk about that a little bit?

MAHAY: It’s a long story…..I wasn’t a very good hitter, always pitched as a kid, through high school and college, drafted as a hitter, gave it a few years, wasn’t really doing all that well, so I decided to make the switch.

DZ: Didn’t you go to Australia for a while?

MAHAY: Went to Australia for about four months as an outfielder. Then the last month over there we decided to make the switch. I would the play the field for about eight innings and then come in – if we were winning- and pitch the 9th inning. Then in ’96 I went to camp as a pitcher.

DZ: What pitches did you have to learn (to make the transition)?

MAHAY: The slider and the change-up.

DZ: Which was the most difficult for you?

MAHAY: The slider. That took quite a few years actually.

DZ: I was looking into your stats and you were into your 30s before you really stuck at the big league level. Was there any time during that span where you thought about hanging it up and trying something else?

MAHAY: No, because I had a pretty good feeling that I could figure it out. I’d done it, it was just a matter of confidence for me, going out there and pitching and having that confidence. That is the key for me.

DZ: During a typical game what do you guys do in the bullpen to kill time?

MAHAY: Everybody comes down at certain times in the game. Mainly we just watch the game. We see how things develop and who is coming up. We have some small talk between us and if we know anybody from the other team – since our ‘pens are right there (next to each other in Target Field) – we speak to them. From about the 4th inning on is when we start locking everything down.

DZ: You were in the Metrodome a little bit last year and as a visitor too, how nice is it having that space now (in Target Field).

MAHAY: It doesn’t matter to me. A ‘pen to me is a ‘pen to me. I’ve been at the Chicago Cubs field where you are on the brick wall down the field, so it’s the same thing. We interact with the fans at times, so it’s good. This ‘pen is nice too, we can interact with the fans not as much, but overall it’s nice, pretty good.

DZ: Are there stadiums where you get heckled worse than others?

MAHAY: There are certain stadiums where you get heckled just because you are the other team. It doesn’t have to be anything bad or good against you. It’s just a matter of that your are the opposite team…

DZ: Wearing the wrong clothes….

MAHAY: ….wearing the wrong clothes, that’s right.

See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:

July 21: Danny Valencia
July 11: Michael Cuddyer
July 8: Jason Repko
July 5: Nick Punto
June 12: Jason Kubel
June 9: Drew Butera
May 11: Denard Span
April 25: Justin Morneau
April 22: Alex Burnett
April 21: Mike Redmond
April 16: J.J. Hardy

5 Responses to “Q&A with Twins Reliever Ron Mahay”

  1. Q&A with Twins Reliever Jesse Crain » MinnesotaSCORE Says:

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    […] 23: Ron Mahay July 21: Danny Valencia July 11: Michael Cuddyer July 8: Jason Repko July 5: Nick Punto June 12: […]

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    […] 29: Jesse Crain July 23: Ron Mahay July 21: Danny Valencia July 11: Michael Cuddyer July 8: Jason Repko July 5: Nick Punto June 12: […]

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    […] 5: Randy Flores August 23: Matt Capps August 19: Brian Duensing July 29: Jesse Crain July 23: Ron Mahay July 21: Danny Valencia July 11: Michael Cuddyer July 8: Jason Repko July 5: Nick Punto June 12: […]

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    […] 5: Randy Flores August 23: Matt Capps August 19: Brian Duensing July 29: Jesse Crain July 23: Ron Mahay July 21: Danny Valencia July 11: Michael Cuddyer July 8: Jason Repko July 5: Nick Punto June 12: […]

  5. Q&A with Twins Reliever Matt Guerrier » MinnesotaSCORE Says:

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    […] 5: Randy Flores August 23: Matt Capps August 19: Brian Duensing July 29: Jesse Crain July 23: Ron Mahay July 21: Danny Valencia July 11: Michael Cuddyer July 8: Jason Repko July 5: Nick Punto June 12: […]

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