Frandsens unite on diamond

Frandsens unite on baseball diamond

SAN FRANCISCO -- Some fathers push their boys into Little League ... and keep pushing.

For second baseman Kevin Frandsen, currently riding the Giants' shuttle between San Francisco and Triple-A Fresno, all it took was a little nudge, and the kid took it from there.

Frandsen was on the smaller side as a youngster, and while he enjoyed playing basketball and football in high school, he instinctively knew that the high-hanging hoop was out of reach and he wasn't built for the battering by bulky boys on the gridiron.

But the love and athleticism and zest for baseball was always there.

"A lot of parents make the decision for the kids these days, but my parents let me do whatever sports I played to play," said the 23-year-old Frandsen. "I did all right with baseball."

Father Dave coached their Little League team in San Jose, Calif., and luckily for Kevin he had constructed a batting cage in their back yard. It became a haven for his son and the neighborhood baseball enthusiasts, and a welcome retreat for Frandsen, dealing with the fear and sadness of watching his older brother, D.J., suffer from kidney cancer.

"Every Friday before a Saturday game, the whole team would come to our house to hit, throw and do stuff in the front yard and backyard. Then we'd hit in the batting cage," said Frandsen.

"I didn't like to visit the hospital when I was younger, so I'd hit for hours in the cage," he said. "It was a release for me -- I could be angry at the ball. Then I'd go back in and do homework, then hit the rest of the night until the neighbors complained."

As fathers will do, Dave did yell at his budding baseball prodigy, but not to perform, hit .500 and never make an error.

"He definitely got on me if I had a bad attitude," said Frandsen. "He'd yell at me for complaining about the umpires."

Kevin absorbed every nuance of the game from his teacher-father -- running the bases properly, staying in lanes during rundowns, how to turn double plays, play hard, but not dirty, bunting techniques and defensive strategies.

"I knew I wasn't going to be a big old power hitter," said the 6-foot, 175-pound infielder.

As Father's Day approaches, Kevin says he remembers only with fondness and gratitude the hours, days and years his dad spent nurturing him in the game of baseball and the game of life.

"He challenged me to learn to play the right way, and we still talk about it," said Frandsen. "It's still a learning process."

Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.