REPORTER: Scoreless here at SunTrust Park, and I am joined by Raffy Lopez’s dad, Rafael, here on this Father’s Day. How fun is it to be here on Father’s Day, watching your son catch a game?
– Oh, it’s just surreal. I mean, I will see him on this field on this stage, and makes you flashback to the journey to get here. And wiffle ball in the backyard, and Little League, and college ball, and all the trips he’s made on the way here, the perseverance, the resiliency, it’s, I’m super proud of him, super happy for him.
REPORTER: He told me a story that, at one point, when he was about 12, he thought he was going to quit baseball, and take up hockey. He said you weren’t too happy about that. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
RAFAEL: Yeah, I thought he was kidding with me. It’s his 12-year-old year, and as every baseball parent knows, that’s the year you can go to the Little League World Series.
So just before his 12-year-old year, he comes to me and said, Dad, want to play hockey. I was like, OK, stop joking with me. But he was serious, and, you know, actually it was a great thing for him.
We missed out the opportunity to play Little League, but he’s actually is an excellent goaltender. And he would flip the defense, had a hell of a shot, a slap shot from the point.
He did that for a year, and he’s like, OK Dad, I want to play ball again. So OK, all right. You know, let it go with the flow, and stay out of his way.
REPORTER: And look how things turned out now, right?
RAFAEL: Exactly, yes ma’am.
REPORTER: Now, he said you don’t get to see him a lot. And his mom, your wife, passed away a few years ago. Does that make this even more special?
RAFAEL: It does, you know, I look at it as me being her eyes right now. You know, she’s here all the time with us. His first home run was in Tampa. I was lucky enough to be there, and as he’s rounding second base, there’s a lightning strike. It’s a closed stadium. I’m sure that was her applauding her approval. So, yeah, it was, it is special, without a doubt.
REPORTER: Really incredible. We appreciate you sharing that with us. And have you been able to spend some time with him? I think you guys were able to go to dinner last night, and take in some sights and sounds here in Atlanta?
RAFAEL: Not as much as we’d like. I mean, you know, there’s a lot of preparation involved in his position. We did get to eat dinner last night. It was awesome. One of his college teammates joined us. We had a great time. It was incredible.
REPORTER: Fantastic. We appreciate you Rafael, thank you so much for speaking with us and enjoy this Father’s Day. Enjoy the game with your son.
– Thank you, thank you, and happy Father’s Day to everybody out there. And we appreciate the San Diego Padres organization and the city for the opportunity he’s been given.
REPORTER: Very nice guys. Back to you.
Source: Fox Sports