Janish, father still the best of friends

Janish, father still the best of friends

CINCINNATI -- As with any player who's made it to the Major Leagues, much of Paul Janish's life has centered around baseball.

Janish is no stranger to the diamond. He began playing tee-ball at age 4; attended Rice University, where he helped the Owls win the 2003 College World Series; and made his Major League debut a month ago. And so there come times when he'd like to have a break from the sport and put his mind, even if just for a few minutes, elsewhere.

That's what makes Janish's relationship with his father, Thomas Janish, so special on Father's Day and every other day of the year.

"When he's around, I don't have to worry about having to entertain him or anything," Paul said. "He's just there to watch baseball and hang out. It's a good release from the game, too, because when we go out to eat afterward, we can talk about other stuff.

"We can do anything together, even if it's sitting around and not doing anything. I think there's a lot that can be said for being able to do that."

His father thinks the same way.

"So much of his life and our life has revolved around baseball," Thomas said. "Being in a relatively high-profile position, Paul gets asked by everybody how it's going and what it's like. I've always had the perception that I'll let him bring it up if he wants to, but it doesn't have to be what we talk about."

Thomas, a self-proclaimed "quiet guy," isn't your typical baseball dad. He never forced Paul to start playing, he was never the coach, and he was never the outspoken, rambunctious parent in the stands.

Sure, he went to all the games. He even caught most of Paul's college games, as Rice is in the family's hometown, Houston. Thomas would enjoy the game like any other fan, but once it was over, it wasn't about baseball -- their time together was about being father and son.

"We did the whole baseball deal growing up, but he wasn't a coach or anything like that," Paul said. "He was really laid-back and more of a waiting-in-the-wings kind of guy, which I really appreciated, because I'm a pretty laid-back guy, too."

Though the same can't be said for his mother, Debbie -- "She's a bit more emotional and wears stuff on her sleeve," Paul said -- Paul's joining the professional ranks wasn't as hard on father and son as it could have been.

While in college, the two developed a routine of having lunch together a couple times a week. They'd take family trips to Paul's grandmother's house in rural Texas. And even though Paul spent much of his time practicing, playing and going to school, home was always just a couple minutes away.

But the jump into pro ball meant that was coming to an end. But for father and his son, it wasn't that difficult.

"It's not that bad," Paul said. "I talk to him fairly consistently, but the good thing about it is that we have the type of relationship where we can not be around each other for a month or two at a time, then see each other and it's like we saw each other yesterday."

Paul's family wasn't in town for his Major League debut and 10th-inning, walk-off base hit on May 14, but they watched it on television. They made the trip for the following weekend series, against the Indians, in which Paul made the first start of his career.

And though he may have been able to hear his mother's cheering over the thousands of people in the stands, he didn't have to hear a sound from his dad to know exactly how he felt.

"My dad and I have a great relationship," Paul said. "I know he's proud of me."

Brandon Harris is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.