First-time father Kelly excited for Christmas

First-time father Kelly excited for Christmas

BOSTON -- Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly couldn't have imagined the adventure that was ahead of him in his first offseason as a father.

As his season was coming to an end, Kelly and his wife, Ashley, learned that their home in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., had endured severe flooding.

"I wouldn't have expected a house in California to flood and have six inches of standing water in my bottom floor for a week because nobody was home," said Kelly. "Our pool guy saw it when he came over to clean the pool and he told us we should call someone ASAP.

"The fire department came over and tried to suck up all the water and restoration came and started gutting the house basically. It's basically a whole new home remodel."

Without a home to return to, the Kellys stayed an extra month in Boston with their son, Knox, who was born in February.

For the last couple of months, they've been living back in Rancho Cucamonga in their neighbor's pool house.

Just in time for Christmas, they should at last be back in their home.

"With a 10-month-old and trying to get stuff down with the house and the holidays coming up and family and friends coming to visit in our little pool house studio, it's been more hectic than I'd imagine coming home for my first offseason with a baby," said Kelly. "But we're getting excited for the holidays."

Anticipating the holiday season through Knox's wide eyes has been something to behold for Joe and Ashley Kelly.

Kelly recently talked with MLB.com about the joy of fatherhood and some of his own holiday remembrances.

MLB.com: What has it been like to experience the holidays with Knox?

Kelly: It's been amazing. Two streets down from where we live, we have probably the best Christmas lights in California. We've already taken the little guy down there to see them and he doesn't know how to comprehend them yet but he likes looking at the lights and he's excited for them.

MLB.com: Has Knox met Santa yet?

Kelly: Yes, he did. We did the whole first Santa experience at this place called Tom's Farms in Southern California, kind of near where my parents live. They do a cool little Santa thing, they've got a nice train ride moving around and a lot of fun stuff for kids. They have a real legit Santa there who is one of the best Santas I've ever seen.

There was no line, so we took him up there and wanted to get the professional photos done. At first, he was just looking at us and we got a smiling photo. But the photos I really wanted were him being angry and crying at Santa. So then he turned up and looked up at Santa and realized it wasn't one of us holding him and all hell broke loose, so we have some great photos of him looking like he hates Santa, so that's what I was really wanting to pay for.

MLB.com: How much has being a father changed you?

Kelly: It was a wild year, but I feel like it taught me a little more patience in life. I was very impatient and very 'do stuff now' and maybe a little bit selfish. People say having a child changes you and it really does. It teaches you more patience. For all this time, it has been just me and my wife.

Now you have someone who is depending on you who really can't do anything by himself besides go to the bathroom all day long. It's definitely been a different experience. But I enjoy spending as much time with him as I can. Having him has made a big influence on our life. I think it's been a fun year and hopefully we'll start having a couple more.

MLB.com: What do you get a 10-month-old for Christmas?

Kelly: We really don't have to get him all that much because we know he's going to be getting stuff left and right from our family. My wife is one of four kids. I'm one of five. There's plenty of aunts and uncles and grandparents within a 20-mile radius. We'll probably wrap a couple of presents just so he can open them but nothing too crazy because we know he's going to get spoiled from everyone else.

MLB.com: What was Christmas like for you growing up in California?

Kelly: We had tons of family around because we were all living close together. My dad and mom both had a big family. At one point, we all lived on the same street so that was awesome. For us, Christmas was always a huge gathering with lots of eating and lots of family.

MLB.com: What is your favorite gift you ever received for Christmas?

Kelly: My favorite gift was the skateboard that me and my brother got. I always wanted to start skateboarding and then my dad got us skateboards. That was probably my number one passion at the time. I loved skateboarding. I was pretty good at it. I ended up getting hurt too much. It was probably about a five- or six-year span where it was a blast, but that was probably my favorite gift of all-time.

MLB.com: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?

Kelly: I can't limit it to one. There are a few. Christmas Story is right up there. Home Alone. Christmas Vacation is great, obviously. I pretty much watch all of them as much as I can.

MLB.com: How much does your mind shift to baseball once you get through the holidays?

Kelly: Once New Year's Eve is over and it becomes a new year, reality starts to set in a little bit. You start changing your mindset to your career and your profession and you're really looking forward to seeing the guys again and hanging out with them and getting ready during Spring Training.

It's something that I'm sure a lot of Red Sox fans are already looking forward to. I'm already looking forward to it obviously with the big trade for Chris Sale. I think it's going to be a big year for us. After the holidays, the traveling stops and you're around your house a little more. You ramp up the throwing program and your workouts and it will be here again before you know it.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.