CINCINNATI -- For the first five seasons of his big-league career, Aaron Harang thought he had it made. "You got to sleep in, jump up and go whenever you wanted," the Reds ace said of his routine in past Major League seasons. "It's not like that now." Now, Harang has less free time and more responsibility. His isn't the only sleep schedule he has to worry about. His aren't the only meals that he has to plan for. Now, his isn't the only life he is responsible for, because in the offseason, Harang undertook a second full-time job: Dad.
Two days after the 2006 season ended for the Reds on Oct. 3, Harang's wife of four years, Jennifer, gave birth to the couple's first child, daughter Addison. Harang is one of four Reds, along with left fielder Adam Dunn, pitcher Kyle Lohse, and catcher David Ross, who became first-time dads in the offseason. Nowadays, Harang does his best to juggle his dual roles as baseball player and family man. "If you want to go anywhere, you've got to plan it out, and if it is spontaneous, it's still going to take you about an hour to get out, because you got to make sure that she's fed, she's got her bottle, she's got plenty of diapers or things to change into," Harang said with appropriate fatigue in his eyes. "It's a clearly different life now." Harang, 29, said that while parenthood may have stripped him of some of his free time, the joys of his new job far outweigh the sacrifice it demands. "No matter what happens when I go out there [on the mound], when I go home, she's still going to love me," Harang said. Dunn, whose wife, Rachel, gave birth to son Brady on Nov. 9, said that parenthood has forced him to learn to schedule his days so that he can maximize his time as a baseball player and still have time to be a good dad. "I've got more of a routine than I've had in the past," said Dunn, who shares a Nov. 9 birthday with his son. "In the past, I tried to hang around [Great American Ball Park] a little longer, but after the game [now], I try to get out of here and spend as much time with Brady as I can before he has to go to bed.
"It hasn't changed anything on the field, but it's changed everything off it."While he said that he's shared stories with his fellow new dads on the team, Dunn, 27, is not afraid to offer his teammates a few friendly brags concerning his child's disposition. "I'm sure the pitchers have talked about [parenthood] more, because they have a lot more time to sit around and talk about it than us [position players]," the left fielder said with a smirk. "I listen to their problems, because my wife and I don't have any. My kid doesn't cry." Friendly prodding aside, Harang said that fatherhood has changed the way he views his own parents. "You really realize what they went through to raise you, and how hard it is, especially with a career," Harang said. "I think about times that my parents came home from work, and the first thing they did is take me up to the field for practices. They had no time for themselves. They took me wherever I needed to go play, to practice, to baseball camps, the whole deal." Even if he may now be a father, Dunn said his view of Father's Day will remain the same. "It doesn't change [from having a child]," Dunn said. "I'm still going to celebrate Father's Day for my father and my grandfathers. To me, Father's Day is for them." Both Harang and Dunn said that above all else, fatherhood has brought perspective to their careers and their lives. "Baseball is important, as a career, but your family is the No. 1 thing," Harang said. "I know that I can go home and get smiles from her. When you see your kid's face every day, there's no words to explain it."
Patrick Allegri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.