Family time special for Wisler at holidays
Matt Wisler introduced himself to Braves fans with the impressive Major League debut he completed in June, and then weathered some growing pains before ending the season with a few strong starts. The 23-year-old right-hander is projected to fill one of the spots in Atlanta's starting rotation at the start of the upcoming season.
Shortly after returning to his small hometown of Bryan, Ohio, last week, Wisler talked to MLB.com about some of his favorite Christmas memories and traditions.
MLB.com: What does Christmastime mean to you and your family?
Wisler: Christmastime is a good time for me, because it is family time. I think I cherish it more now than I used to. When we were younger, my brother, sister and I would all sleep in my older brother's room, and our dad would read us "The Night Before Christmas" -- the real version, and then he would make up one version of his own and we'd have some fun with that.
MLB.com: Has there been one Christmas that stands out more than others?
Wisler: Last year was one of the coolest I've ever had. We spent some time in Europe and we were all together for Christmas in the Netherlands. My grandfather was a supply guy outside one of the caves in the Netherlands during World War II, when we helped free them from German control. So my entire family -- aunts, uncles and cousins -- all went over the celebrate Christmas Eve mass at that cave, like they had 70 years ago in that same spot. It was pretty awesome to see the respect they have for Americans. It was different, but that was quite a memorable Christmas for me.
MLB.com: Now that baseball takes you away from your family, does this time of year mean even more to you?
Wisler: Yeah, we don't see each other that often. In fact, this will be the first time we've all been together since I made my [big league] debut in June. So, it will be nice to get everybody back together and be in the same house for about a week.
MLB.com: Is there a certain dish you always look forward to eating around this time of year?
Wisler: On Christmas Eve, we always get together with my grandparents and have ribs, potatoes and stuff like that. The last couple of years, it has been Seminoles and Mimosas on Christmas morning.
MLB.com: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?
Wisler: My favorite one would probably "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with Jim Carrey, but I also like "Elf." Those are my top two that I will watch.
MLB.com: How about a favorite song for the holiday season?
Wisler: I just got a new one -- *NSync "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays." That's definitely my favorite album and my go-to.
MLB.com: If you had to get a gift for one of your teammates, what would it be?
Wisler: I'd probably have to get [Mike Foltynewicz] some dog treat for the big Great Dane he just got.
MLB.com A year ago, you and Foltynewicz were two of the big prospect additions. Now the Braves have continued to strengthen their farm system. What are your thoughts about what has happened this offseason?
Wisler: I like [Andrelton Simmons], [Cameron Maybin] and [Shelby Miller] a lot. The returns we got for those guys were pretty good, especially the one for Shelby. I think with most of the trades, they have done a very good job of getting very good players back. I think we have a good thing going forward, and within the next couple years, we'll hopefully be pretty good.