Royals' Cain, Holland learning about fatherhood
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Lorenzo Cain is learning that he doesn't get a reprieve from diaper duty just to play in some silly baseball games. He's also learning that changing diapers is harder than it looks.
''Been peed on a few times,'' he said, breaking into a grin. ''Got me twice this morning.''
While the rest of the Kansas City Royals are focused on the World Series, which begins Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants, Cain and teammate Greg Holland are trying to figure out all the intricacies of fatherhood in their rare moments away from the ballpark.
Cain and his wife, Jenny, welcomed Cameron Loe Cain into the world on Oct. 7, a day off between the Royals' sweep of the Angels in the AL Division Series and the start of the AL Championship Series against Baltimore. The tiny tot showed up a week after Holland and his wife, Lacey, had Nash Gregory Holland on a day off between their wild-card win and the ALDS.
Now, Cain and Holland are swapping stories about those late-night diaper changes.
''Haven't mastered it yet, but I'm willing to learn,'' Cain said. ''It's tough. You have to hold the legs up, position him right. He's kicking and squirming all over the place. It's tough.''
About as tough as making one of those running catches at the outfield wall that already has made Cain a playoff star, earning him the MVP award in the ALCS. But probably not as tough as the hurdles both players encountered in making sure they were present for the births.
After the Royals rallied to beat Oakland in a 12-inning epic, Holland hopped a plane home to North Carolina. The plan was to induce the next day, and Nash arrived at 7 pounds, 10 ounces.
Holland didn't get to spend much time with his son. The next day, he was on a chartered flight to Southern California. After getting stuck in traffic, he arrived at the ballpark in the middle of Game 1 of the ALDS. A couple hours later, he was closing out a 3-2 victory in 11 innings.
''I kind of made a few security guards nervous running up to them with a pack over my shoulder with my ID in my hand saying, `I'm a player! I'm a player! Don't take me to the ground!''' Holland said this week, ''But they let me in.''
After the Royals had dispatched with the Angels in four games, it was Cain's turn. He drove to Oklahoma City after the decisive Game 4 in time to see all 6 pounds, 13 ounces of Cameron Loe enter the world. Soon, he was on a 6 a.m. flight to Baltimore to join his teammates for the ALCS.
After the Royals wrapped up their sweep of the Orioles at Kauffman Stadium, Cain held tightly to his son - wearing a little stocking cap that looked like a baseball. Father and son paraded around the ballpark while thousands of fans cheered.
''It's a special time,'' Cain said. ''I'm doing as much as I can while getting some rest. He's kind of all over the place with his sleep. It's hard to juggle it, but it's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing to have a kid and get a chance to go to the World Series.''
Once in a lifetime, perhaps. But not unheard of, either.
When the Royals were last in the playoffs, 29 years ago, star pitcher Bret Saberhagen's wife, Janeane, was pregnant with their first child. As the World Series rolled around, Saberhagen would rub his belly every time the television cameras were on him as a signal to his wife. Drew William wound up arriving at a Kansas City hospital the day before the Royals won the decisive Game 7.
Saberhagen was on the mound that night, tossing a five-hitter in an 11-0 victory. Along with his victory in Game 3, it would earn Saberhagen the World Series MVP award.
Call it coincidence, call it poetic symmetry, but Drew Saberhagen grew up to pitch in college for Western Carolina. Closing the games for him during his junior season? Holland.
''A small world,'' Holland said. ''Weird.''