For Curve's Farrell and Dubee, baseball is a family affair
For The Trentonian
TRENTON — For a change, Jeremy Farrell’s family members knew who to cheer for.
They sat in the stands yesterday and could openly root Farrell — who was born in New Jersey but went to high school in Ohio — as he went 2-for-3 in the Altoona Curve’s 7-3 loss to the Thunder.
Other times, the situation had been more complicated. Like the two spring training games when Farrell and the Pirates played the Red Sox.
In those games, to root for Farrell would mean rooting against the Boston pitching staff.
The only problem with that is Farrell’s father, John, was the Boston pitching coach at the time.
Farrell — whose father is now the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays — comprises one of a pair of Altoona players with fathers coaching in the majors. Relief pitcher Michael Dubee is the son of Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee.
The 25-year-old Dubee has posted a 2.93 ERA and recorded three saves this year for the Curve. The right-hander pitched a perfect eighth in Tuesday’s victory over the Thunder.
“I learned pretty much everything from (my father),” Dubee said. “Top to bottom. How to throw a ball, how to play the game, how to go about your business. But I think the biggest thing that has helped me out so far is just growing up around a clubhouse.”
The Pirates organization has given both players the opportunity to play against their fathers in the spring on two separate occasions.
Farrell didn’t seem troubled by his father’s pitching staff. He went 1-for-1 in his first game against the elder Farrell and hit a home run in his second try.
“That was pretty cool,” Jeremy Farrell said. “Even though it was spring training, seeing him across the field in the other dugout in a different uniform, it was a pretty cool experience.”
Dubee didn’t surrender a run in 1 2/3 innings in his two spring training appearances against the Phillies, although he allowed two inherited runners to score.
For Rich Dubee, the games provided a rare opportunity to see his son play. Since each play conflicting schedules, catching the other’s game can be difficult.
The irony that a father and son — or a pair of brothers — who both work in professional baseball have difficulty seeing each other encompasses one of several issues that such families must deal with.
“He doesn’t see very much of me,” Michael Dubee said. “I definitely get the better end of that deal because they’re on TV all the time. If they’re on I try to catch as much of it as I can, but some months are better than others.”
For the Dubees, the business side of baseball also proved harsh.
Michael originally signed with the Phillies in 2006 but only played one year in the same organization as his father. In 2007, the Phillies dealt Michael to the White Sox for Tadahito Iguchi.
Farrell, meanwhile, has spent his spent his entire career with the Pirates since he turned pro in 2008, and his allegiance lies with them first.
When asked which team would get his support were the Pirates to play the Blue Jays — which would only happen in the unlikely event that both teams make the World Series— he didn’t hesitate.
“I wear the Pirates’ uniform,” he said. “You gotta go with the Pirates there.”
Farrell had no trouble choosing which team to root for.
The rest of the family, though, may be slightly more conflicted than they were yesterday in Trenton.