A-Gone grateful for father's sacrifices

A-Gone grateful for father's sacrifices

A-Gone grateful for father's sacrifices
CHICAGO -- For Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the fact Father's Day is always on Sunday could not be any more fitting.

"Sunday was always baseball. Growing up, pretty much the weekend was always at a baseball field. That's all we did," said Gonzalez. "One year my dad coached me. Even before that, he was always around. When he stopped playing, that was when he was able to coach me for a year, and watch more and more of our games."

The reason Gonzalez was always around a baseball field on Sunday was because that's where his father, David, was.

David Gonzalez never played in the Major Leagues, but he loved the game and was pretty good at it. He played for the Mexican National team, and suited up for amateur teams in either Mexico or the United States until he was close to 50 years old.

It seemed the amateur teams his father played for always had a game on Sunday.

"He played until he was 48 or something," Adrian said. "Sunday ball, adult leagues, 40-and-over, that type of stuff."

This Sunday, Adrian will be playing for the Red Sox at Wrigley Field under the lights against the Chicago Cubs.

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He might talk to his dad before or after the game, but the message from David will be support, not instruction.

"He always says, 'I never played at the level you're playing at,'" said Adrian. "He hears me and [my brother] Edgar talk about it. We talk about mechanics or we talk about a pitch and he's like, 'Man, I went up there and looked for a ball in the middle and would just drive it. We didn't know the pitchers, we didn't know anything.'

"My dad says, 'when you get to the big leagues, there's so much video involved, so much of the other stuff I can't really talk about with you. I can just tell you, look for a good pitch to hit."'

Though they've always had a joint love of baseball, Adrian's relationship with his father goes deeper than that.

How much does he think his dad helped shape who he is?

"I'd say a great deal," said Adrian. "He was a great father. He was a very giving man, very dedicated to his work. He gave us time when he could and worked hard to give us a good home and all that stuff. He's a person that I really look up to."

He's gained even more perspective on how fortunate he was to have such nurturing parents in recent months. Adrian's wife, Betsy, gave birth to the couple's first child -- daughter Brianna -- back in November.

"You're always appreciative and grateful of everything your parents did, but when you're living it and you see the sacrifices a parent has to make for their kid, whether it's waking up in the middle of the night or different things I see my wife do or I have to, you understand how selfless you have to be when you dedicate your life to your child," said Gonzalez.

This will be Adrian's first Father's Day as a father -- which means it will likely be his most fulfilling.

"It's just an incredible feeling," Gonzalez said. "It's one of those things, every day is just an unbelievable day, waking up and seeing her smile or when I'm on the road, seeing pictures of her, seeing her on the computer and stuff. It just kind of makes your day every day."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.