It is Father’s Day, and a few San Diego Padres would like to share some thoughts about their dad and what they mean to them in regards to the game of baseball.
Father’s Day has developed into one of the more recognized days of the major league season.
The Sunday holiday used to be just another game day for major league baseball, but now players wear unique uniforms and accessories to celebrate their fathers. Baby blue is seen everywhere in the ballpark as most players realize their fathers were instrumental in their baseball development.
In speaking to several players, they all had the same story about their dad when it comes to baseball. At some point in all these men’s career, their father was their coach. The love of the game was cultivated from a father and son bond that is special. Though some player’s dads had more baseball skill than others, the love the shared with their son was equal.
A few of the men in the Padres clubhouse have small children, and the love from Father’s Day is experienced from a different perspective for them. Having children is a beautiful experience and something that most people treasure dearly. A few of these players will eventually get to share and help their children if they choose to play baseball.
For Padres’ rookie pitcher Cal Quantrill, Father’s Day is a chance to recognize his dad, Paul Quantrill. The elder Quantrill enjoyed a 14-year career, including a brief stop in San Diego towards the end of his journey. “All of us here were playing catch with our dads at one point. I was lucky enough to play catch with a dad who kind knew what he was talking about,” Quantrill tells EVT. The emotions of the game in regards to his father are evident. “Father’s Day is always an exciting day for me. I don’t know if he will make the father’s day game but is a great time to shout him out for all the hard work he put in to get me where I am,” Quantrill said with a grin. He knows that his dad worked very hard to make sure Cal had every opportunity to succeed.
Padres’ rookie phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. also had a father who played in the major leagues. He was lucky enough to be around the game very early in his life. “He took me to the fields since I was very young,” Tatis said, smiling. The two spent endless hours on the field together when Tatis was very early in his baseball development. The two men are still very close. “We talk every day. He is always here for me,” Tatis said.
Spending endless hours with a child to develop their skill in the game takes hard work. It takes dedication, and it takes diligence. “My dad was awesome. I spent thousands of hours working with him. From the time I was five years old until I graduated high school, I worked with him. He has always been there,” Matt Wisler said. The Padres right-handed pitcher beamed when he spoke about his dad. “He was very supportive and pushed me to be the best I can be at anything I do. He held my siblings and me to a higher standard. He was my coach during travel ball, and those were great memories for me,” Wisler said. His father pushed him very hard, and he is thankful for that. Without that support and encouragement, he would have struggled to get to where he is now in the game of baseball.
Canadian’ slugger Josh Naylor smiled from ear to ear when speaking about his dad. Perhaps it was because his major league debut was fresh in his mind, and his father was there to witness the event in Toronto. “Being in Toronto for my major league debut was special. All our family members were around him. It was cool and a very interesting story. He was in heaven watching the game.” Naylor recalled with a grin. “He was my coach forever. Since I was a little kid, he took me and my brother to countless practices. I am very thankful for him and all that he has sacrificed for the both of us. He is very important to both of us, and we try to give back to him any way that we can,” Naylor said.
Adam Warren‘s dad was a punter at NC State. He knew a little bit about the game of baseball but was not a huge fanatic of the sport. When his son showed interest in baseball and becoming a pitcher, the elder Warren bought himself some catchers gear. ” My biggest memory is that he would always catch my bullpens. Even this past offseason, he caught me. He is always willing to strap on the gear and get behind the plate. He has had his share of bumps and bruises and is still willing to get back there,” Warren said. Adam’s dad did more for the pitcher than just catch him. “He was the one who always pushed me to follow my dream and work hard for it. He pushed me to want to practice and get better. He was always willing to drive me to practice. Drive me to games. He made the sacrifices and played such a huge role. He played a huge role in getting me to where I am,” Warren tells EVT.
Emotions ran high when Austin Allen spoke about his dad. “I don’t even know where to start,” Allen said with a big sigh. “He has been there since day one. He has always pushed me to follow and chase my dreams. Even outside of baseball, he pushed me to follow what I want,” Allen explained. The bond he has with his father is evident. ” He is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen in my entire life. He is the best dad that I could ever ask for. I can’t even describe the emotions it gives me to think about him. Going back to little league days, he took me to the cages. He would throw to me until his arm would fall off. Never complained one bit either,” Allen said with a huge smile. There is just something about a father, a son, and the game of baseball.
In gathering information, Eric Lauer and I spoke for quite a while. “Every baseball memory has to do with my dad. He was my coach ever since I can remember. He is the one who taught me the most about baseball,” Lauer recalls fondly. Baseball was not the only thing that Lauer learned from his father. “He taught me the most about being a man off and on the field. He was always big on celebrations. It is cooler to seem like you have already done it than to get hyped over nothing. That developed into me not showing emotion on the field. You have to stay even-keeled. He taught me a lot about the mental side of the game. How to carry myself on the field as well as how to play the game,” Lauer said. His father coached him all the way through high school. Once he got to Kent State, the coaching staff there was his source of guidance.
Lauer told me a fantastic story about his dad and himself. Something that the two of them still laugh about today. “I remember I was at my grandparent’s house, and I got my first tee ball bat. I was so excited. We went outside immediately, and we were swinging and playing catch. I was six and standing in front of a window. He sailed the throw over my head, and to this day, he says I should have caught it. It broke my grandma’s window, and he was in the dog house for a long time,” Lauer said, laughing. “He will tell you I should have caught it because it was close enough over my head to grab it. I was like six years old, and he was throwing baseballs at me hard enough to break a window,” Lauer said with a smile. The two of us laughed about this situation. He tells me his dad still insists the six-year-old Lauer should have made the catch. Moments like this are what makes a father and a son’s bond so exceptional. It goes far beyond the success these men achieve on the field.