PHOENIX -- For most Cubs players, walking off the plane to be greeted by the 110-degree Arizona summer weather was anything but enjoyable.
But for Cubs outfielder Joe Mather, who went to high school in the Phoenix suburb of Ahwatukee, it was home sweet home.
"Every time I get out of the plane and feel that heat, it feels like home," Mather said. "You don't get to come home very much in the summer playing baseball, so I actually like it."
With the Cubs enjoying an off-day Thursday, Mather got time to spend at home with his girlfriend, sister and father, who all live in the area.
"We didn't tell a lot of people we were coming in because it was an off-day and we wanted to get some sun," Mather said. "We kind of laid low, saw some close friends and treated it like it was just a regular day at home."
Signing straight out of Mountain Pointe High School, Mather takes pride in his relationship with the community he grew up in. His father used to coach at Mountain Pointe and last season, when the school won the baseball state championship, Mather bought the team a suite at a D-backs game.
"I have a really good connection with Mountain Pointe, they always let me come up and use the field," Mather said. "I've always done as much for the school as they've done for me. It's been an awesome relationship."
The 29-year-old was in the lineup on Friday night with friends and family watching, going 0-for-2 with a walk. Although his first game at Chase Field with the Cubs didn't go as planned, Mather does have a special memory at the ballpark.
In his first career at-bat against the D-backs in 2008, Mather hit a home run off of Randy Johnson.