BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Monday marks WJZ Sports Director Mark Viviano’s 25th season covering the Baltimore Orioles’ home opener.
As Viviano pointed out, there’s no shortage of ways to mark that passage of time. One such way is how players’ children are raised around the game.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Tornado Watch Canceled For State, Severe Thunderstorm Warning Over
Years ago, for instance, Cal Ripken Jr. would bring his son, Ryan, to the team’s games. Nowadays, Ryan is a professional baseball player himself.
While this year’s team is young, there are a few members of the Orioles franchise who are navigating the game and fatherhood at the same time.
Last season was outfielder Austin Hays’ first as a dad. That mythical “dad strength” might explain his 22 home runs last year, the most in his young career.
This season, Hays and his wife Samantha welcomed baby Hayden to their family. Hayden joins his older brother, Levi.
Hays told WJZ that becoming a father is the best thing that has ever happened to him.
“As baseball players, at times we struggle to leave what happens at the field at the field and, you know, we let those things kind of carry into our everyday lives,” Hayes said.
But being a father, Hays said, he doesn’t feel the same kind of pressure when it comes to playing the game he loves.READ MORE: Video Shows Squeegee Worker Assaulting A Driver At Busy Baltimore Intersection
“No matter what, I know I’m going to go home and he’s going to have a smile on his face,” the outfielder said.
Like Hays, Orioles pitcher John Means knows a thing or two about juggling his baseball career with fatherhood.
“It’s the coolest thing in the world. I mean, watching him developing, watching him grow,” Means said. “That comes first, baseball comes second, for sure.”
Means said he cannot wait to see his son watching him from the stands and coming up to greet him after his games.
But even though Means is a professional baseball player and his wife, Caroline, played soccer, the pitcher isn’t going to pressure his son to follow in his footsteps.
“I’m not going to press him too hard,” Means said. “He can do what he wants, you know, whatever he’s good at.”
The pitcher shared a piece of advice he has for his son, no matter what he ultimately decides to do with his life.MORE NEWS: Hogan Vetoes 18 Bills, Including Ballot Signature Measure
“Just try really hard at something,” he said. “That’s all that matters. Try to get better, try to be a good person.”