For San Diego Padres first-round pick Ryan Weathers, the journey to the big leagues started when he was just three years old.Weathers, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, is also the son of former big league reliever David Weathers, and Ryan spent nearly every day of his
For San Diego Padres first-round pick Ryan Weathers, the journey to the big leagues started when he was just three years old.
Weathers, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, is also the son of former big league reliever David Weathers, and Ryan spent nearly every day of his childhood at the ballpark with his dad.
"Every day I was sitting there, I was watching [my dad] play and do his thing," Ryan said.
David Weathers' Major League career spanned nearly two decades with nine teams, with his most notable accomplishment being winning a World Series championship with the New York Yankees in 1996. He recalled first bringing Ryan to games during his last season with the Mets in 2004, but David believes his five years in the Reds organization near the end of his career as the time that impacted Ryan the most.
"His mother has a teaching certificate, so she would home school him until the season was over," David said. "He got to go as much as he wanted. I do believe that's helped develop his mannerisms. He would sit in the cages and watch Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips for hours.
"He'd sit right next to our hitting coach. He'd sit and watch the whole ballgame. I think all of those things just led to him seeing this is how you go about your business if you want be the type of player in the league."
The observations have seemed to pay off, as the 17-year-old left-hander signed with the Padres on Sunday afternoon. He was introduced at Petco Park on Monday, with dad sitting proudly in the front row.
"Most dads wouldn't take their kids to the ballpark every day," Ryan said. "He sacrificed that. He let me hit, and he hit me groudballs every day, even on days where his arm was hanging down."
Ryan and David's relationship blossomed because of baseball, but it is rooted on the mutual love and respect they have for each other. David said that despite his lengthy list of big league experiences, he never told Ryan what to do, no matter the size of the situation. The decision to sign with San Diego over attending Vanderbilt was Ryan's to make, just like the pitches he threw and the game-time choices he made as a player.
"I've never called pitches for him," David said. "I wanted him to learn himself. I never went to him, but once he got beat up good enough when he was younger, he would say, 'Dad, what am I doing wrong?' Then we would fix it."
"We both have that level of respect for each other," Ryan said. "He's told me since Day 1 that at 17 years old, he always thought I was a better pitcher than him. Coming from a 19-year big league veteran, that's a big deal for me. It's a big confidence booster when somebody tells you that."
Ryan posted a phenomenal senior year for Loretto High School in Tennessee -- the same high school David attended and now coaches for -- that notched him the honor of Gatorade's National High School Player of the Year. Ryan went 11-0 his senior season, allowing just one run over 76 innings and struck out 148 en route to leading his high school to the state title. He pitched nine shutout innings that game, but the storybook ending would fall just short, as Loretto would lose in 12 innings.
"That state championship, he's so much better at it than I am," David said with a laugh. "The other day in the car I said, 'Ryan, I think about that state championship every day.' He goes, 'Dad, let it go.'"
However, David made sure there was still a defining moment for the end of an era when he surprised his son at school with the Gatorade trophy.
"Since I've been 3 years old, I've wanted to do what my dad was doing," Ryan said. "To finally be able to start that and get going is a big deal for him and me. When he gave me that Gatorade trophy, that was a big deal for both of us, because finally all the fruits of us -- all the time we put in -- finally started to show out."
Now David and Ryan's story will turn to a new chapter, but David is ready for Ryan to shine on his own. For Ryan, it's bittersweet.
"It's been a lot of fun," he said. "It kind of sucks that our ride is over with him being my coach, but he's handing me over to some good coaches here in San Diego, and I look forward to getting started."
Ryan will report to San Diego's team complex in Peoria, Ariz., later in the week to start his own career in professional baseball. His biggest goal? To pitch in the World Series, just like his dad.
Katie Woo covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.