TWIB to showcase father-son relationships
Uptons, Lincecum among players sharing on influence of dads
Perhaps more so than in any other walk of life, fathers have played an integral role in shaping some of today's biggest stars in the Major Leagues -- from coaching third base for their Little League teams, to buying them their first hot dog at a ballgame or simply playing catch in the backyard.
On the day before Father's Day, This Week In Baseball will give fans a glimpse into that idea.
During its 3:30 p.m. ET show on FOX this Saturday, TWIB will profile several prominent players on their father-son relationship -- starting with the baseball-rich Upton family, to the bond between Tim Lincecum and his dad, and ending with thoughts from several other stars regarding their fathers' impact.
It's a huge thrill for any father to see his son rise to the level of a professional athlete.
For Manny Upton, though, that feeling is twice as rewarding.
Manny has the pleasure of seeing both of his sons -- B.J. and Justin Upton -- flourish as outfielders. B.J., a center fielder, is coming off stealing 44 bases for a Rays team that made it all the way to the 2008 World Series. Justin, a right fielder for the Diamondbacks, went into Friday batting .314 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs.
In the interview, Manny talks about his two sons' differing styles of play -- he says B.J.'s game is smoother, and Justin is more of a "masher" -- and gets into the origins of the nicknames "Bossman" and "Bossman Junior."
"How incredible is it to have two kids in the league?" TWIB lead producer Matt Anderton said. "One was drafted second [B.J., in '02], one was drafted first [Justin, in '05], and the dad talks about how baseball is a bonding experience because they don't know baseball, so you have to teach it to them, and they were able to bond through baseball.
"We see why their father pushed them to get to this level. [B.J. and Justin] understand that it took the amount of work that they put into the game in order to get to where they are."
Followed by that is the story of Lincecum and his father, Chris.
Lincecum thanked his father upon accepting the Cy Young Award after his incredible season last year. And why not? He actually owes his deceptive delivery to his tutelage.
Chris used to put a dollar bill on the ground to teach Tim to follow through on his delivery when he grabbed it after firing a pitch. And during its feature, TWIB will show Little League footage of Chris actually pitching with pretty much the same windup.
"Tim uses all 174 pounds of his body," Chris told MLB.com in '07. "He uses everything from his toes to his fingertips -- feet, ankles, knees, hips, chest, shoulders, elbow and wrist on every pitch. That's why he's so great."
In the third block, TWIB will look around the league, as All-Stars like Derrek Lee, Lance Berkman and Jonathan Papelbon talk about their fathers' influence in their lives.
"Your dad is the Little League coach, generally, and out there every weekend with their kids and learning the game and playing catch in the backyard," Anderton said. "It's one of the most American things -- playing catch with your dad.
"We thought it was the perfect opportunity to kind of give a little tribute to all the dads -- especially in the Major Leagues -- who helped get these kids, who are now professional athletes, into the Majors."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.