Cincinnati Reds' Mat Latos Brings To Mind The Importance Of Father's Day

By Illya Harrell
mat latos winning until reds bullpen blows another one
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Mat Latos pitched well enough to win for the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night, however, they did not. The Reds’ bullpen spoiled Latos’ 2014 debut against the Milwaukee Brewers. The New York Yankees lost as well. Oakland Athletics pitcher Scott Kazmir is again proving last season was no fluke. He pitched six strong innings and shut the Yankees down. But why does this bring Father’s Day to mind?

I have been fortunate enough to have three incredible dads.

I thank (or blame) them for a brain full of useless knowledge. Example, Mario Mendoza retired in 1982 with a career .215 batting average. So, it is quite unfair every time a broadcaster says, so-and-so batter with a sub-.200 batting average is hitting below the, “Mendoza line.” The Mendoza line is not a sub-.200 average. It needs to be upped to .215, in fairness to Mr. Mendoza

Facts of that nature have never helped me land a job or score a hot date.

My first dad, my biological father, was a die-hard Yankees fan.

At age seven, knowing I was developing quite a baseball habit, he allowed me to stay home from school and watch Game 163 of the 1978 AL regular season — the Yanks playing the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. “The Curse of the Bambino” struck Boston in the top of the seventh when light-hitting shortstop Bucky Dent smacked a three-run job over the Green Monster.

My next dad came when my mom remarried a man who lived in Reds country.

As a young teenager, we played snail mail fantasy baseball together. Like me, he collected baseball cards. I am certain his life’s biggest disappointment is, and always will be, the day the Reds traded Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Milt Pappas.

My newest dad, a father-in-law, is also a Reds fan. I had watched a few games with him before and got a strong sense that he was not one of those casual fly-by-night fans.

A Bob Evans breakfast was scheduled; it was no secret that I planned on asking permission to marry his daughter. It happened to be the morning that the news of Dusty Baker‘s firing hit the wires. Neither of us were Baker fans, but it allowed for idle chit-chat before I popped the big question at the restaurant.

Through every red light and seemingly endless stop sign, I filled the air with anti-Dusty sentiment.

I’m a baseball dork. I know it, and my three dads know it. I am not the least bit ashamed and neither are they!

So, to every dad who has played catch with their kid, has taken them to a ball game, or has simply talked baseball with them, you are appreciated and loved more than you will ever realize.

Happy Father’s Day!

Illya Harrell is a Cincinnati Reds writer for Follow him on Twitter @Illya_Harrell, like him on Facebook and add him Google+ network.

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