MEDFORD, Ore. – In many ways the Medford Rogues are their own little melting pot. Players from all over the country are stirred together to make a summer league team, but the process of getting these players to Southern Oregon is more structured than one might think.
“Baseball’s like a game of chess,” head coach Josh Hogan says. “You have to get the right pieces. You’re fighting against the other team, the umpires, the weather, the field. There’s all different variables so you have to match up your chess pieces with all those different variables.”
Yet, perhaps the biggest variable is talent, whether it comes from someone local or Oklahoma. That’s where the Rogues’ first baseman Matt Page stems from.
“I looked up Matt,” general manager Chuck Heeman says. “I talked to his coach. I always talk to the coaches if I’m interested at that point. That took a couple of days, and then I passed it on to Josh and kind of said, ‘Let’s look at this guy. Let’s take a chance.’”
“I looked at Matt Page’s stats and everything lined up: RBI’s, home runs,” Hogan says.”I thought that he would be a good match for a 3-4 hole hitter for us, and so far seeing him live in person, he’s what he lives up to be.”
Page is the reigning NAIA Player of the Year. He exploded onto the scene with Oklahoma Baptist this year batting .385 and leading the nation with 85 RBI’s, but he actually credits his uncle with getting him to Medford.
“My uncle sent a couple emails to Chuck and the roster was full,” Page says. “Then apparently they had a first baseman drop out. As my season was going on, I guess I was putting up pretty good numbers, so then my uncle sent one last email, and they signed me that night.”
Little did the Rogues know they were getting more than just numbers.
“Great kid, just a great kid,” Heeman says, “and I’m not saying that because I have to say that they’re all great kids. He really is very, I guess, humble.”
“No one here has any egos,” Page says, “We’re all just playing the game, having fun and getting along great.”
It doesn’t matter where they’re from or how they got there. It’s baseball, and Matt Page is now a Medford Rogue.