By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — While Sunday is Father’s Day for most, for Cincinnati Reds first base coach Delino DeShields the next three days is Father’s Weekend.
The Reds are playing the Texas Ranger and on the Rangers roster is outfielder Delino DeShields, Jr.
Even though it is on opposite teams, on opposite sides of the field, father-and-son will be facing each other in a major league game for the first time.
“It is always good to see my son and this is definitely going to be special, being that it’s Father’s Day,” said DeShields. “l don’t know how many of you guys (media) have kids playing ball, but this is nerve-wracking.
“I played in front of thousands, packed houses, and did it all, but there is nothing like watching your kids play ball,” he added.
When Junior comes to bat this weekend, Dad says he might go up the tunnel so he doesn’t have to watch. When Junior was playing non-professionally, Dad would stay away from the fans and stand by himself away from the crowd beyond the center field fence.
“I’d be the father standing out in center field, away from it all,” he said. “I never liked to be around other parents, that whole scene and it worked for me. I would have been like Roger Clemens. I would have been escorted out of the building. I really don’t like to watch him play, to tell the truth, him or my daughter.”
Delino’s daughter, Diamond DeShields, is a guard for the Chicago Sky of the Women’s National Basketball Association and was Rookie of the Year her first season. She plans to be in Great American Ball Park Sunday.
Early this season, Junior struggled and the Rangers sent him down to Triple-A Nashville and told him to put his act back together.
Asked what he told his son, DeShields said, “Play better. This is the big leagues. It’s not much more than that. I just told him he has to play better.”
But he did it in a kind and gentle way.
“I have to be a father first,” he said. “I have to show kindness when I’m talking to my kids about their games. If I can slide something in there about their game, I try to do it. But it is always about their well-being and how they are holding up. That’s first and foremost.”
Asked if he plans to root for Junior to get big hits and make big plays while the Reds win, DeShields said, “I always want my kids to do well, that’s just the father. But I want to win and will pull for our guys, but I want him to do well.”
So what happens if Junior drills a double? Will Dad cheer under his breath or go to the dugout bathroom and let our a roar?
“I was thinking about going up the tunnel when he is at bat,” said DeShields, manager of the Dayton Dragons in 2011-12. “I don’t know. I’ll figure it out. I do know we (the Reds) want to whup their butts.”
DeShields realizes the depth of what will transpire this week, how special and different it is for father and son to be on the same major league field.
“I am aware of that,” he said. “I won’t say I dreamt about it, but I saw this happening at some point. But to see it come to fruition is a good feeling. This will be real memorable for both of us”
BASEBALL KEEPS UP constant chatter about speeding up the game while making rules to slow it down. And replay/review is one of the slow-down culprits.
Former Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky offers a couple of suggestions that make too much sense to implement.
How much fun and time-consuming is it for fans to watch umpires standing on the sidelines with headphones covering their ears, waiting for New York to render a decision that often takes too long and is often the wrong decision.
Why do managers get to hold up play while they await word from the video room as to whether they should challenge a call? Why do managers have no limit on how many challenges they can make.
“They should limit challenges to two a game,” said Krivsky. “If a manager wants to use one early in the game on a bang-bang play, let him. But then he has only one challenge left.
“They should eliminate the manager waiting for word from the video room,” Krivsky added. “It should be a test of the eyes. A manager should be required to make a challenge based on what he sees with his own eyes. And he should have three seconds to make up his mind.”
ANYBODY WHO BELIEVES the modern pitcher is pampered and protected can present solid evidence from what happened 45 years ago today.
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan threw 236 pitches in one 13-inning game and struck out 19. Starting pitchers these days don’t usually throw 236 pitches in three consecutive starts.