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Father's Day - The Ramseys

June 20, 2004|By BOB PARASILITI

Mike Ramsey is in the development business.

He isn't an architect, or a construction boss, but in his business, Ramsey lays the foundation and is on the ground floor of many a hopeful professional baseball career.

Ramsey is the manager of the Hagerstown Suns, the Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Every year, he hopefully shepherds a herd of 25-40 young players nearer to major league status.

He considers it the second most important job he undertakes.

"The greatest responsibility for a man to have if he has kids is to raise them the right way," Ramsey said. "It's the greatest responsibility to be there for them."

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Even though Ramsey's profession takes, Fla., him away from his Orlando home to nurture the next Bondses and Schmidts for the Giants, deep down he cherishes his main job ... preparing the next Ramseys for the world.

Ramsey's main prospects are his two sons, Matthew, 15, and Jordan, 10. And in a profession that might be considered inconvenient to raise children, Ramsey stays on top of the "most important job of his life" with the help of lengthy off-seasons, a cell phone, frequent flyer mileage and a flexible family.

"There hasn't been much conflict until now," Ramsey said. "My older son is starting to do other things and is getting to the age where it interferes with some of his social life. But the fact that my family has been fairly flexible and has come to travel with me has helped. If I left in March and wouldn't be able to see them until September, I don't think I could do it."

The separation from his sons doesn't prevent Ramsey from doing his job. On the field, he's all business. It's the off-the-field time, alone on the road or in his Hagerstown apartment, which makes it difficult.

"When they leave after being around the apartment for a while, it takes some time to adjust," Ramsey said. "It's probably the same for them when I leave for spring training after being around every day in the off-season."

Those down times make Ramsey more diligent about taking advantage of the time he has to spend with them.

"The toughest thing for me is to miss some of the baseball games they are involved in," Ramsey said. "The times that I've been able to be there have been great. But the balance of the season I'm away, so I talk baseball with them in March, April and May. I try to get my boys involved in things without pushing them."

Ramsey's sons are broadening the sports horizons. Jordan has been involved in soccer, which has placed Ramsey on a different kind of coaching sideline as an assistant. "I get a heck of a kick being involved with it," Ramsey said.

Meanwhile, Matthew was a high school freshman who played some varsity and winter baseball, basketball and football. Both kids made their father proud.

"It was tremendous to see him play," he said. "I looked forward to going on Thursdays and Fridays to see him and watch the games. It was great."

Even though it's the very thing that keeps them apart, baseball and sports are a main component that bonds Ramsey and his sons together. The San Francisco organization allows Ramsey to bring his family to spring training for two weeks during spring break. They come to Hagerstown during the summer to reunite the family unit, keep Ramsey in his sons' life and maintain Dad's sanity.

But while the game is Ramsey's occupation, it helps him do his main job of being a father.

"We've made this all work, but my wife deserves credit for that for being so flexible," Ramsey said. "At the risk of sounding clich, they learn a lot from sports with the teamwork, the accountability for what you do and learning to work under pressure. All of that is important later in life. If they don't turn into baseball players, I don't care. I just want them to grow up and become good people."

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