Putz has coach and friend in dad
Mariners closer had great mentor at very early age
SEATTLE -- There's something about the game of baseball that brings fathers and sons together. In J.J. Putz' case, it was a special bond that was formed when he was still learning how to throw a baseball, and continues to this day.
"He was always at the baseball field with me," said Putz of his father, Joe. "He was one of my first coaches. I remember in college, my senior year, he didn't miss a single game, home or away."
The elder Putz, who was a football player in high school, owned a construction company for 30 years. He also dabbled in softball and often J.J. would attend his games and watch proudly as his dad would mash the ball a "country mile."
Despite Joe's athletic background, there was never any pressure on J.J., or his younger brother, to be involved in organized sports.
"I don't remember him ever pushing my brother or me to do anything," explained Putz. "My brother and I both played a bunch of different sports and my parents never really pushed us to do one -- they let us do our own thing. He was always very, very supportive -- my mom, too."
The relationship wasn't limited to the playing field. In J.J.'s youth, Joe would take him and his brother to the Eastern Market in downtown Detroit where they'd shop for fresh fish and flowers. Later, when J.J. was in college, Joe would make the 40-minute drive to the University of Michigan to take his son out to dinner for no particular reason.
"We still have a good relationship," said Putz. "We talk a couple of times per day."
This Father's Day, J.J. has two more reasons to celebrate. Their names are Lauren and Kaelyn, his twin daughters who were born seven months ago.
"It's definitely going to be a special day," said the proud new father as a smile crossed his face. "I hope that I have the same kind of relationship with my two girls that I have with my dad."
CJ Bowles is a contibutor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.