French import Jonathan Mottay is playing with a chip on his shoulder to the benefit of the Williamstown Wolves in the Baseball Victoria summer league division 2.
Mottay, the Wolves’ dominant starting pitcher, was implored by his girlfriend, Betty, to take his baseball talents overseas.
Knowing how much he loves the sport and how good he is at playing it, Betty wanted Mottay to challenge himself in competitions around the world and the couple could use it as an avenue to travel and break up the monotony of a nine-to-five job and weekly bills.
Mottay was drawn to Australia, a nation that is developing in baseball, much like his own country, so it seemed a good fit.
What Mottay did not expect was to find Australian clubs pushing back on the idea of him joining their club, not because of his skills, but because he was travelling with Betty.
For Mottay, it was non-negotiable that he came as a package deal with Betty.
“I found that so many clubs in Australia from Perth to Brisbane and even out here [in Melbourne], they were like, ‘you shouldn’t come with your girlfriend because she’ll be a distraction’,” Mottay said.
“That was except for Williamstown, who said, ‘oh, you’re coming with your girlfriend, what can we do for her?’’’
Mottay’s arrival at Williamstown has been a win-win for club and player.
Mottay is relishing the chance to check out Melbourne and its surrounds, while the Wolves have found a star pitcher who has the potential to lead them to promotion.
“We’ve settled in perfectly since the first day,” Mottay said.
“I met with [coach] Jarryd [Rogers] in Paris and I knew [president] Daniel [Chircop] through chat from May all the way to October when I got here.
“They’ve been more than welcoming and as far as going out to eat, going out for drinks, going out to the beach and showing me and my girlfriend around town.
“They’re taking both of us into consideration, which makes it easier.”
More importantly, Mottay is delivering on the field, perhaps making some of the other clubs regret their decision not to take the package deal. Mottay recently sported a 1.40 ERA to go with nine wins.
The 23-year-old from Paris has even come face to face with clubs who opted not to take him on.
“I have that chip on my shoulder when we face these other clubs, like, ‘hey, this is what you’re missing out on’,” Mottay said.
“We get to winning a bit more and they have that bitter taste in their mouths.”
Mottay was born in the US, living there until the age of 15. But he sees his future in France.
He wants to be a permanent fixture in the French national team.
“It’s a country developing baseball, whereas America is baseball, so I’m not looking to be another American out here, I’m looking to be the Frenchman out here,” he said.
Mottay likes Williamstown’s prospects of promotion this summer.
“We’ve got that goal to make it up to division 1 next year and we’d like to make it as easy as we can and finish on top of the ladder,” Mottay said. “I like our chances as far as pitching and hitting goes.”