Memories of Father’s Day: Female sports journalists for the fathers who formed their fandom

When I started working as a full-time reporter for MLB.com in 2010, my father, Lewis, was so proud that he put my business card in the clear plastic sleeve of his wallet, the one where your driver’s license should be. to be able to reveal it to random strangers. Two years earlier, when I was interning for the Tampa Bay Rays, he printed out every article I wrote in eight months and made it into a lexicon.

In sports, we often hear about the father-son relationship, about how professional athletes have started playing catch in the yard or watching matches with their father until they go to bed. I got into sports because of my father. We will listen to WFAN without interruption in the car. We will watch the Yankees every night. (In 2008, he also watched Tampa Bay talk to me every night about my articles. In 2010, when I got the Orioles job, he added a third team from the American League East to the night mix.)

I would pick horses to win the Kentucky Derby, play indoor soccer with my sister when I played for Manchester United, and play street hockey for the New York Rangers’ preliminary game. When my father died of lung cancer in 2015, he was only 59. I felt cheated by time, by all the things in sports and life that he would not be here for.

Father’s Day can be difficult for many people for many reasons. For me, the best way to cope is to keep remembering, to keep talking about the things that made my father so great.

This year, I turned to five other women in different roles in sports media to do the same. The answers are slightly edited for brevity and clarity.


Emily Jones, Texas Rangers reporter

My sister and I were raised by our father Don. So much of our family growth revolved around sports, whether supporting the Plainview Bulldogs in a small West Texas town or curling up on the couch over the weekend to watch games. But it wasn’t until I spent more than a decade of my sports career that our relationship ended.

Mike Hargrove and my father were best friends at Periton High School, Texas. My parents asked him to be my godfather, and he made a commitment. Mike and my father separated over the years, but they always managed to keep in touch.

When I started working for the Rangers, Mike ran the Seattle Mariners. My father – always a joker – begs me to go visit the visitors’ club and tell Mike that his godmother needs help. I can only imagine what the Delay in Human Rain (Hargrove’s nickname) must have been when his public relations director called him to the tunnel in front of the Sailors’ Club, where I was waiting.

Dad had never told Mike I worked for Rangers. And we hadn’t seen each other since I was little, so he obviously had no idea what was going on. I quickly joked, we laughed well, and he sighed a huge sigh of relief. After all, he already has four daughters.

Mike was one of the first calls I received after my father died in 2016. This conversation brought me so much comfort and made me eternally grateful for baseball, the game that brought so much joy to my father and me.


(Courtesy of Jessica Kleinschmidt)

Jessica Kleinschmidt, host / reporter for Auckland A

My father, John, had heard of $ 1 Wednesday at the Auckland Games while we lived in Reno, Nev. When we got there, the man at the ticket store said they had sold the $ 1 tickets, but we could still pay that amount for box seats.

The moment I sat down, number 3 made a home run. I found a program on the ground, deleted the peanut shells from it, and opened the list page. There I saw the name of Eric Chavez, followed by a birthday that reflected mine (except for the year). I also saw that central player Mark Kotsai lived in Reno. “Yeah. What a coincidence,” I thought.

I remember driving back so well. I was only 11 or 12, so I can only compare it to a really good outing when I played Little League and Dad took us to McDonald’s. It was high for me. We went home and I immediately asked on TV when they would play A the next day. We sat there the next night, with Dad in his huge chair, which creaked when he sat in it, and watched the match. I pointed to Mark Ellis. I really liked the way he played and the way he and Bobby Crosby played together.

“I’ll cover this team one day, Dad,” I told him.

He immediately said, “Okay, let’s do it.”

Chavez became my favorite player. My father, as my coach in the Little League, saw that I had a hand and transferred me to third base.

“Just like Chavez,” he told me.

When I returned to training, I told all the boys on the team about Chavez, Ellis and Crosby – and “Did you know that Kotsai lives in Reno ?!” I started writing and researching and asking questions about A. I made my father read everything I wrote. Unfortunately, this $ 1 game on Wednesday would be the first and last Auckland A game he and I attended together. My father died in 2008.

The baseball community in the Northern Valleys appeared at his funeral. My father was the president of the Little League, a guard, my coach, a mentor to so many children who signed up to play ball to stay out of the streets.

I made my first official “reporter debut” in 2019 with NBC Sports Bay Area. The Angels hosted A for their beginnings. During this series, the players of the former A threw away the ceremonial first field.

Including Eric Chavez. I like to think my father did that.

Melanie Newman, Orioles / MLB Network Operator

My father, Mike, is the reason I do what I do. He always told me that there was a sports broadcast when he went to school, that’s exactly what he would do. Dad was into radio stuff in high school and college, but I never got to sit down with him and find out more. I always thought there would be more time for that.

However, he had the most beautiful voice. There were so many nights that I remember reading great bedtime stories. Growing up, we would get free tickets to school to achieve reading goals, we went to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and football in Auburn every Saturday. We drove for two hours to go to the matches. I remember coming back to seventh grade, my dad said, “Hey, I know the dance is Saturday, but I have tickets to Auburn and Alabama if you prefer to go for it.” It was pointless to me.

He tests at an ingenious level of intelligence and I have no doubt that he would be an amazing television operator. When I got the job with Orioles (in 2020), he could tell me everything about the Orioles from the 1970s, all sorts of little things. He had football statistics for years and years that just lived in his head, he was such a mind. He loved baseball as he grew up. His family is based in Ozark. This was the last place they were stationed before his father was shot and killed. My father was a great Nolan Ryan. The 1994 strike excluded him (from baseball) for a while, but he returned to it for the Houston Astros World Series.

He had big plans to go out and see me debut with the Orioles, but then COVID didn’t let everyone in the stadium. Last year, when they started releasing fans, he couldn’t get free time. And then he really got sick. My father died in January and it still hurts every day, especially when the Orioles make military returns home, because that was what he was talking about, a moment he never got with his father. Now there are so many moments that I will not have with him. My father’s birthday was Tuesday, Flag Day, and I felt like I was thinking so much about our last conversation when he told me that he was especially happy to have his heart and his way of thinking.

He was the only person who never challenged what I had been doing all these years, doing without money, working in the small leagues. He just trusted me and knew I was doing what I loved. I wish he had seen me in the major leagues, but I know he’s still watching. And I will never stop trying to make him proud.


(Courtesy of Danny Vekselman)

Danny Vekselman, MLB Network radio host, Perfect Game reporter and SportsNet analyst New York

My father, Larry, served in Vietnam. He was attracted by the Mizzou Marines. When he spoke, everyone stopped listening. He was a high school orienteering counselor and women’s basketball coach at Valley Park (Minister).

When I was eight, my father took me to my first softball practice. I had only played small football before trying softball. He saw an ad in the newspaper, took me to Basler Elementary in St. Louis, and told my coach that I had never played before and that I would need help, but heck, if my father hadn’t talked to me before, it was my first workout. . I know that he asked my coach to give me a chance, because my father knew that I would make the most of him. And I did. I fell in love with the game and the time it gave us together. I ended up playing for that same coach and team over the next decade, and I eventually became a university freshman in high school. Yes, Dad was proud of that.

Even when my father was sick and battling cancer, he showed up to every training session and match he could, always with a smile on his face. It is impossible to forget those images of him that appear before me in his most difficult moments.

If I listen carefully enough, I can still hear him applauding me.

When I look back, I realize that softball gave me these precious moments with my father, the long conversations during our car trip together, the summer vacations at Omar Larry Stadium, the Silkys ice cream stops before dinner, the great pride I had (and still more) I’m Larry’s daughter.

My father died when I was 16 years old. Last year they celebrated 16 years without him and this cornerstone was nasty. I am what I am, in my career and in my life, thanks to him.

Elana Rubenstein, producer of ESPN NFL coverage

When I became interested in playing baseball as an elementary school boy, my father, Kenny, never hesitated. The next weekend we were on the aisle of the Sports Authority and – after my father confirmed that I didn’t want to play softball – we went out with all the equipment I needed to start Little League. I was one of a handful of girls who played in the boys’ league.

I’m not sure why, but softball has never piqued my interest as much as baseball. Growing up watching Yankees play with my father and admiring Derek Jeter, I wanted to be him. Connecting with my father during America’s fun was the pinnacle of my childhood. From watching the Yankees on TV, to playing the Bronx in person, or playing my best DJ, while my father took the time to teach me the basics of baseball in our front yard.

My father also loved his New York Football Giants (although he may classify it as a more love-hate relationship). In 2008 and again in 2012, after the team won the Super Bowl, my father was first in line at Bob’s Stores to receive the team’s official T-shirts celebrating the championship.

One of my fondest memories with my father was that I surprised him with tickets to a Giants match in November 2016. My father picked me up the same morning two or more hours by car to East Rutherford, expecting me to sit in some cold seats with nosebleeds. But I had secretly arranged for us to have press passes and access to the pitch for the match. My father was shocked. Walking on the field before the match and seeing my father’s face shine with happiness is one of the best memories I have of him.

After the match, when the stadium was cleared a long time ago, we spent some time on the field. My father was just amazed at my career and where it took me. We dreamed of the future. He died in October last year of congestive heart failure after 20 years of fighting. I miss him every day. Without my father’s constant love, affection and desire to be the best, I would not be where I am today, from a girl who decides between softball and baseball, to a job for the world leader in sports.

(Photo above by Kenny and Elana Rubenstein courtesy of the Rubenstein family)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.