Minor League Teammates Bond Over MLB Manager Dads

Tate Matheny and Nick Lovullo are teammates on the Boston Red Sox’ Double A affiliate Portland Sea Dogs. They're also best friends with something special in common.

Tate’s father, Mike, is the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, a job he's had since 2012. Nick’s dad, Torey, currently manages the Arizona Diamondbacks. He left his role as Boston Red Sox bench coach at the end of the 2016 season to take the top job in Arizona.

The Red Sox drafted Tate Matheny in the fourth round of the 2015 draft; Nick Lovullo went off the board in the 20th round of the 2016 draft. They spent plenty of time together with the Greenville Drive in 2016 and Salem Red Sox in 2017. In both seasons, however, Lovullo joined Matheny after the season began and left before it ended. This season marks the first time they've started on a team together, and they hope to stay together as they progress through the organization.

Matheny and Lovullo hope to one day take the field in Boston as teammates. Thanks to their famous fathers, however, it won't be the first time the pair has been in Fenway Park at the same time. Matheny sat in the stadium's bleachers in 2013 to watch his dad’s Cardinals take on the Red Sox in the World Series. Across the stadium was Lovullo, who was cheering on his dad and the Sox. They didn’t know each other at the time—though that would soon change.

They participated in separate interviews for this story, but both players started off by saying “small world” when asked about the irony of those events. 

“Back then, we had no idea of one another,” Matheny said. 

When did they learn that they were hundreds of feet away for multiple days in October 2013? “Pretty early on,” said Lovullo. “We were talking about our experiences, and we both stumbled upon that we were both at all those games at the World Series. My dad’s team came out on top which I still give him a hard time about today.”

Nick may still give Tate grief about that series, which the Red Sox locked up with a 6-1 win at Fenway Park, but there’s no bad blood between the two of them.

“We’re good buddies, both playing for the Red Sox [organization],” said Matheny.

Each player admitted to still asking his father for advice often.

“Obviously it’s priceless being able to lean on somebody like that who’s been through all the minor league ranks and played at the highest level,” said Matheny. “He knows what it takes to get there.”

Nick echoed the sentiment, calling the opportunity to go to his father for coaching “priceless.”

“If I’m struggling, or if things are going good, I always like to check in with him,” Lovullo said. “We probably talk once or twice a week. If it’s good or if it’s bad, he’s always there to give me some advice. I am very thankful.”

Kid Reporter Andersen Pickard and Tate Matheny

They both said they were proud of their fathers: Matheny for his dad’s strength as both a player and manager and Lovullo for his dad’s World Series win in 2013 and opportunity to take over as Diamondbacks manager in 2017, among other things. 

But they won’t always be cheering for their father. They agreed that if Boston was playing against one of their fathers’ teams in the World Series, they’d be rooting for the Red Sox.

“I’d really like to see my dad win a World Series, but this team helps pays the bills for my son and wife," Matheny said.

Matheny was lucky enough to face his dad's team twice in spring training when he was with the Red Sox’ big league squad. Red Sox manager Alex Cora even let him exchange lineup cards with his dad prior to the game.

“That was a classy move by Alex,” he said. “He’s an awesome guy. That was a really neat moment for my dad and I.”

Meanwhile, Lovullo already has his ideal game planned out for for when he faces his father in the MLB.

“I’d like to hit a home run my first at bat, and then hit a walk-off grand slam against him as well,” he said.

Sure, Nick and Tate are still in Double A, but they plan on making it to the big leagues together as friends and teammates. Their dads will be waiting for them when they get there.

Photo credits: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images (Lovullo); Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images (Matheny); Courtesy of Andersen Pickard (Andersen and Matheny)

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