Father's Day is Sunday, and it always gives me a chance to reflect on all my father did in helping me reach the big leagues.My dad, Bill Jones, was a construction laborer for 32 years. Even though we lived in Kentucky, he worked in Ohio, meaning he had to drive
Father's Day is Sunday, and it always gives me a chance to reflect on all my father did in helping me reach the big leagues.
My dad, Bill Jones, was a construction laborer for 32 years. Even though we lived in Kentucky, he worked in Ohio, meaning he had to drive more than an hour to work. It made for a long, hard day.
:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::
When we came home, my two brothers, my sister and I always were going, "Hey Dad, let's go out and play." I know there must have been days when he was dead tired, but he would be out there for us, hitting grounders and fly balls, throwing us pitches. Looking back now, you realize all he and my mother did, and sacrificed for us, to have a better life.
My father was a pretty well-known local softball player, but he and my mother never pushed us in regards to sports. They never said, "Hey, you've got to go out there and practice." I'm grateful for that. That enabled me to develop my own relationship with baseball, develop that love of the game.
When I made the White Sox in 2012, the first person I called was my father. He was beyond excited. You never really know if the goal of reaching the big leagues is attainable. When I did, you realize all those days of him playing catch with me, spending the time with me, paid off. Even if I hadn't made the big leagues, the memories of those days still would have been just as special.
Father's Day now has another meaning ever since the birth of our children; Lilly is 4 and Archer is 2. Baseball is a big part of our lives, and we want them to be a part of it. My wife, Lacy, and I take them on two or three road trips a year. But we don't call them road trips. We say, "Hey, let's see what we can explore today." I remember taking them to the zoo in Detroit. It was neat to see their eyes when they were looking at the animals.
Archer got a glove for his birthday. He loves it so much he won't play catch unless you're wearing a glove, too. It's cool to see something you love, playing baseball, get transferred to your children.
The kids, though, aren't old enough to understand if I have a good night or a bad night. My oldest will say, "Hey Dad, I saw you on TV." She doesn't know the results.
It's a good reality check. My boy doesn't sit still to watch cartoons, but he'll watch me pitch on TV. My wife has taken video of him watching. That's pretty awesome.
Once we leave the stadium, we're not baseball players anymore. We're just regular people who want to go home and spend time with the family. The toughest thing is the road trips. To be gone for 10 days isn't easy. You do Facetime and stuff like that, but it's not the same. When you come home, they come running at you, arms wide open, and give you a big hug. For a dad, it doesn't get better than that.
Nate Jones is a relief pitcher for the White Sox.