Stauffer preps for birth of second child
Right-hander recalls lessons learned from his own father to guide parenting
SAN DIEGO -- Many MLB players who aren't chosen for the All-Star Game use the corresponding break to take vacations. Others simply prefer peace and quiet at home.
Padres reliever Tim Stauffer will likely enjoy neither of those options, as his second son is due to be born at the end of June. So while other players might be relaxing on the beach, he'll be changing diapers and staying close to his baby monitor. It won't be glamorous, but that's fine with him.
"I'll enjoy being home, probably just taking it easy," Stauffer said. "It'll be a good time to have a couple sleepless days in a row at home."
Because even if his second child, who's due at the end of June, provides some long nights during a time when he's supposed to be getting some rest, Stauffer is proud that he'll soon be able to call himself a father of two sons.
His first, Noah, was born two years ago on June 2. It was Stauffer's 30th birthday.
"It was a good way for my 30th to fly under the radar and not have too many congratulatory 'making it to 30' type of things," Stauffer joked. "That's fine by me, I'm not a big birthday person so I'll continue to deflect attention as much as I can."
That attitude seems fitting for the longest-tenured Padre, who has been shuffled between the rotation and the bullpen as a long reliever several times since he first debuted as a 23-year-old starter in 2005. His current role is similarly undefined -- Stauffer has made three starts since May 23, yet made his most recent appearance out of the bullpen on June 8.
Many big leaguers would be driven crazy by such uncertainty -- but you'll never hear Stauffer complaining.
That workmanlike attitude was instilled into Stauffer by his father, who played college ball at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia. Since Stauffer grew up as the only boy in his family with two older sisters, he was always on the receiving end of lessons related to baseball and life.
"He worked a lot but he also put in a lot of free time to help me and a lot of my friends play the game the right way," said Stauffer, who learned the basics about pitching at a young age. "Just telling me to keep the ball down, move it in and out, change speeds -- things I try to do now at this level at my age."
Stauffer describes his own father, who still lives in upstate New York where the family was raised, as an outdoorsman who devoted his off-days to his kids.
"We spent a lot of time together and did a lot of fun things," Stauffer said. "Fishing, being out in the woods, golfing, playing catch -- a lot of stuff that I'll pass onto my sons. He definitely got his hands dirty and liked to pass that along."
Now, after going through that process himself, Stauffer realizes how much of a sacrifice it was for his father to spend hours upon hours coaching him and his Little League teams, in addition to all his duties as the patriarch of the family.
"Knowing what they did -- getting us through school and all the driving to different sporting events -- they didn't have a lot of free time," Stauffer said. "You do appreciate it the older you get and understanding that time is valuable."
Stauffer plans on getting his sons involved in baseball, too, once they're old enough. Even as a two-year-old, Noah already has a glove of his own and plays with his father's equipment when he visits the team's clubhouse.
"Just seeing him enjoy the game is pretty fun to watch," Stauffer said. "We think he's left-handed, so I'll have to work on my lefty mechanics with him."
Though it's tough for the whole family to get together across the country, Stauffer's parents are planning on making the West Coast trek in August to see their two grandsons. Maybe then, Stauffer's father can start passing on his knowledge to Noah, too.
Stauffer received some parenting tips from his father when Noah was born, but he says that nothing can prepare you for the unpredictable challenges -- and joys -- of the real thing.
"It's kind of a 'thrown into the fire' type of thing where you learn by experience," Stauffer said. "It's different for everybody and every kid, but I've enjoyed every minute."
Will Laws is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.