Friday, June 15, 2007
Father's Day Special
Pat Slowey, Kevin's Dad
Welcome back for the fourth and final part of our Father's Day Special. So far, you were able to read the thoughts of Rick Tintor, Gene Neshek, and Steve Waldrop. This afternoon's entry comes from Pat Slowey, the father of Twins starting pitcher and top pitching prospect, Kevin Slowey. Here are his thoughts:.
STORIES OF GROWING UP
All three of our boys were into baseball as soon as they could hold a bat. I’m not sure why, exactly, given I was more of a football guy. In the early days in Texas and upstate New York, the older two (Dan and Kev) played on the street in front of the house every evening with neighbor kids…..and Pat joined in once he could take a cut.
When we moved back to Pittsburgh 17 years ago, we signed the guys up for baseball in the Bethel Church League where, over the years all 3 were members of the St. Louise Golden Rockets. It was a lot of fun to see them all in the same uniform, as they grew up. During one game, we needed and extra player due to vacations….and Pat, our youngest, ran out to center field. On the next play, he fielded a line drive and threw to Kev in the infield. Kev relayed the ball to Dan for an out. It was something to have all three on the LL field in the same game.
WAS THERE A "MAYBE" POINT?
Kev always had uncanny accuracy on the mound. He never threw as hard as his brother Dan, but his motion was so repeatable, he just threw strikes. In high school, it became obvious he could play at the next level….and he quickly became the ace of the team. But then again, he threw strikes in the low 80’s.
When he went to Winthrop University, we had modest expectations……no doubt he could get it done at that level. He really started to grow physically his freshman year, and put on a couple of inches and some serious muscle. So he really had a great sophomore year, too, as Winthrop’s number one pitcher….I think I started to see potential that he could play professional baseball after that year. His demeanor was so solid, too. He just didn’t get rattled, even against the big name teams in the ACC or SEC. His junior year was special and we knew he’d get drafted. It was just a matter of when.
I think his progress last year in high A, double A, and the AAA playoff game showed he had a shot to get a call up. This year has been really awesome so far…..a great start in Rochester and now to be with the Twins…..it’s crazy.
ROLE OF FATHER/PARENT
As the father of 5 (3 boys), I just wanted to involve the kids in sports to learn about winning and losing… just good life lessons. I actually got into the coaching role to manage the experience with crazy parents and obsessed coaches. And I saw it as a great way to spend time with the kids.
I coached Kev at every level until college. That was spring and fall and winter, indoors. It gave me time to really develop a relationship with him, where pretty much anything goes….we really talked about anything. It also gave me an excuse to behave like an adolescent myself. I’ve avoided behaving like an adult for 50 years!
PRIDE IN SON
I am very proud of Kev. If I could go back in time and grow up again… I would love to be just like him. He is a special kid.
Kev is the perfect under-dog story. He is a very hard worker and has developed his God-given ability. But more importantly, he is a humble guy who has not forgotten where he came from. I may be more proud of the man he’s become.
I was really proud of his academic achievement over the years, as well. In high school and college, he focused on his school work, first……the baseball success came as a surprise.
ROLE IN DECISION TO SIGN
That was simple… he was drafted in the second round where the bonus money made leaving college early a prudent decision. Plus, the Twins have a great reputation for developing young talent. It was a no-brainer.
THOUGHTS ON TWINS ORGANIZATION
Well, we were thrilled when the Twins picked Kev, given the respect that the organization has in baseball circles for developing their talent. And we had heard that they look for the best people in their draft. It was a surprise though, because he had heard more from the Pirates, Padres, A’s, etc. So when we heard his name during the draft, we were thrilled and had to scramble to get to know the details on the Twins website.
To say this has been a great experience so far is an understatement. Each of the minor league affiliates has been great….particularly, Fort Myers. We really enjoyed his time there. Great people, great facilities, great teammates.
And to be moved up to Rochester was storybook, having lived there for four years when he was little. The Cliburn brothers were awesome. And the talent the Twins have assembled is special.
The Twins have provide great coaching at each level and given Kev a shot to perform. Gary Lucas was a significant influence in Beloit and New Britain.
I started to see a number of articles, on-line suggesting that Kev could be next in line, to be called, if an opportunity came up. But we avoided the conversation around the house and just kind of waited for Kev to hear from the Cliburns. Kev called me after the Red Wings game last Tuesday night and asked if my company did business in Oakland, California, ‘cause he was headed out there to start against the A’s.
Our house went crazy with the news….and we started to get calls from all of our friends and neighbors when the news hit the radio and TV stations in Pittsburgh. It was just nuts….to be called up to the big leagues had been a dream for so long and it was going to happen….wow. I was a mess.
THE DEBUT IN OAKLAND
I have never been so nervous in my life…the whole family flew to Oakland the night before his start and we barely slept. We got to the Coliseum 2 hours before the gates opened and waited for the tickets to come up….we ended up buying a few general admission tickets to get in earlier and when the ushers in our section found out we were Kev’s family, they gave us seats right behind the A’s dugout.
When Kev came out to warm up, I was pretty overwhelmed. I know he was nervous, but not like I was. It was just amazing to see him in the Twins uniform.
ROLE OF PARENTS, EVEN NOW
Well, like I tried to say earlier, the great thing about sports for our kids, has been the ability to experience winning and losing, with class. It’s kind of practice for the real world. We never contemplated making a living at it….but the dream was there. Each of the kids grew up a lot, on the ball field….you can’t beat the experience. We just encouraged them and if they showed interest, we were willing to put the same time in to help them develop. I just look forward to supporting Kev as long as he’s in the game. It’s surreal.
Thank you Pat!
I hope you have enjoyed each of the four Father's Day postings from the last two days. I really want to thank each of the Dad's for participating! I will be watching Kevin pitch on Sunday afternoon from above the Twins dugout, so I am definitely looking forward to that. I will be back here on Monday. Thanks as always for reading and please feel free to contact me any time and be sure to leave Comments below.
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