USC football: Mitch Mustain signs baseball contract with White Sox
Former USC quarterback Mitch Mustain dreamed of one day playing in the Super Bowl. But now Mustain, who has not pitched since his sophomore year in high school, is thinking about the World Series after signing a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox.
“This is my one shot and I have nothing to lose,” Mustain, 24, said in a phone interview.
Mustain will report to the White Sox’s spring training facility in Arizona in March. He will take part in the extended spring training program and, if he progresses, will likely be assigned to a rookie league team after the June draft.
It's the latest chapter in an athletic career that has featured many twists and turns.
Mustain was a high school football legend in Arkansas and started eight games as a freshman at the University of Arkansas in 2006. That season, however, was full of controversy surrounding Mustain, former Coach Houston Nutt and others, and Mustain was among several players who left the program.
Mustain transferred to USC in 2007 but never won the starting job. He started only one game — the Trojans’ 2010 loss to Notre Dame at the Coliseum.
Mustain had hoped to play in the NFL, but his prospects for getting drafted or signing as a free agent were not helped by a February 2011 arrest in the San Fernando Valley on suspicion of selling prescription drugs. He completed a pre-file diversion program and did not face misdemeanor charges.
Mustain had a brief stint with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League last summer. The Georgia Force of the Arena Football League announced in October that it had signed Mustain.
Those plans, however, were put on hold after a recent pitching session that Mustain said occurred “as ironic as it sounds” in a bullpen at the University of Arkansas.
Mustain had been working out last year in preparation for a possible shot at baseball, but stopped throwing in November.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said.
But last month, he said, a friend who had played in the White Sox organization contacted a scout in Tulsa, Okla.
“He hit me up on a Friday and said the scout could be here the next Friday,” Mustain said. “So I went out on Tuesday and played long toss to stretch out my arm.”
A few days later, he was on the mound in tennis shoes touching 90 mph on the radar gun.
“I was hitting my spots and my curve ball was on,” he said.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Mustain signed a contract this week and the White Sox sent him a throwing program the next day.
“I’m hoping to eventually get to 94 or 95 [miles per hour],” he said. “I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Mustain said the baseball chapter of his life will probably be added to a documentary in the works that gained attention last month. Filmmaker Matthew Wolfe posted this clip of the project, tentatively titled “The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain” on a website. The clip includes Mustain shooting rifles and handguns in the woods.
“I’m not a militiaman by any means,” Mustain said. “I think a lot of that was intentionally vague to draw some attention and see where it goes. We wanted to stir up some reaction, and there was some pretty interesting feedback.
“He had been asking me about stuff, hobbies I have. He was intrigued and wanted to see. We spent maybe 10 or 15 minutes out there shooting a little bit. It’s amazing that from a two-minute clip that people deduced that’s my life.”
-- Gary Klein
Photo: Mitch Mustain. Credit: Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire.