MIAMI -- A South Florida native and graduate of Coconut Creek High School, Mat Latos is excited about no longer having to face Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton on the mound. In addition to acknowledging his pitching goals for 2015 on Friday, Latos, who grew up a Heat fan, also noted that it is a dream of his to meet Miami Heat Power Forward Chris Birdman Andersen during his time in Miami.
"Are you kidding me?," Latos responded when asked if he was a Heat fan. "I almost wore my Birdman jersey today. I seriously thought about it. I was a Heat fan obviously, but I respect the game, especially at that level."
Latos, who was acquired from Cincinnati in the Winter Meetings deal that sent Anthony DeSclafani to the Reds, considers himself to be a high-energy player. In addition to producing, Miami is looking for Latos to serve as a veteran leader in the clubhouse, similar to Andersen's role with the Heat. Seeking a simple meeting, Latos would be content just shaking Andersen's hand.
"I just enjoy watching him play" Latos said of Andersen. "He's got high energy like me. He just seems like he is the kind of guy who has a lot of energy. It would be interesting. I would love to just be able to shake his hand. I've got my Birdman jersey if anyone wants to make it happen."
While both Latos and Andersen add experience to their teams' respective rosters, Latos noted a more visible similarity. Both are known for their tattoos, with Latos estimating he has spent at least $5,000 on different designs.
"I've got full sleeves and lips on my neck," Latos said. "Half my back is done, so is the back of my neck. I've got Stewie and Brian from Family Guy on my leg. A lot of my sides are done."
Although he wants to meet Andersen, Latos would not welcome a photo shoot with the Heat forward, claiming such an experience would be embarrassing for him.
"No, that would be embarrassing for me," Latos said. "I've got lips on my neck and that is about as high as it gets. I'm not as hardcore as Birdman. He has a neck tattoo. That's awesome to me."