Three LA Times sports writers raised the kids of Major League Baseball

Sometimes it’s all about bloodlines. The top two picks in last week’s MLB draft – Jackson Holiday and Drew Jones – are the children of former Premier League stars Matt Holiday and Andrew Jones.

Sometimes that isn’t the case. Three major league players in the last 14 years are the children of a former Los Angeles Times sportswriter.

The sons of MLB players predisposed to smash or throw fastballs at 90 mph is no surprise.

The sons of sports writers adept at doing anything more sporting than dripping mustard on their shirts while devouring sausage and writing at the same time are truly a surprise.

Like father, like son.

Except for the cases of Dave Morgan and his son Ellie, in his second season as a Cleveland Guardians pitcher; Ross Newhan and his son David, who scored eight major league seasons with five teams; Fernando Dominguez and his son Matt, in the first round of Chatsworth High who have made 42 home runs in 362 major league games.

Dave Morgan He spent the first twenty years of his career as a writer and editor at The Times, then rose to the position of Deputy Sports Editor before leaving for executive positions at Yahoo Sports, USA Today Sports Media Group and Bally Sports.

Ross Newhan was a national baseball columnist who covered Angels and Dodgers for The Times from 1968 to 2004, and was Included in the book suite Inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 2001.

Fernando Dominguez was a decorated writer and copy editor for The Times’ sports section from 1990 until his retirement in 2020, a Cuban native whose passion for baseball made him a favorite editor of Deadline’s Dodgers and Angels stories.

Probably every sports writer dreamed of being a professional athlete long before they picked up the pen and notepad. Not many dared to dream that their son would play in the major leagues.

What is the equivalent? A food writer whose child becomes a Michelin-starred chef? A political writer whose son becomes a member of Congress? A music critic whose child becomes a Grammy-winning singer?

And all with the same publication? Rare, rare, rare.

Cleveland Guardians relief player Eli Morgan threw against the Baltimore Orioles on June 5.

Cleveland Guardians relief player Eli Morgan threw against the Baltimore Orioles on June 5.

(Terrence Williams/The Associated Press)

Dave and Eli Morgan They were at Dodger Stadium together on Father’s Day last month just as they have often been over the years. The difference was that Ellie was promoting.

Loyal to setup in his sophomore year with the Guardians, Eli threw 1 2/3 goalless innings against the Dodgers, cutting his ERA to 1.62. He entered with one on the seventh and hit Gavin Lux and Freddy Freeman. On the eighth he followed the walk to Will Smith with the retirement of three straight hitters. The Guardians lead in the ninth inning and Eli takes the win.

It was a surreal experience for father and son.

“He would take me to games growing up, games of angels, Dodgers, and Lakers,” Eli said. “It was always important to bond with my father.”

Dave and his wife Diana would often travel to watch Ellie jump Attend Gonzaga After graduating from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in 2014. He got a draft for the eighth round in 2017 and quickly climbed through the palace.

“They have a lot of miles under their belt,” Eli said. “They came to a lot of college games, a lot of high school games.”

Eli became aware of his father’s standing in sports journalism when Businessweek named him one of the pioneers of sports journalism 100 most influential people in sports in 2008.

“He’s been behind the scenes as editor and CEO, but it was great to see our family get that recognition,” said Eli. “He meant a lot to us and I’m sure he meant a lot to him too.”

The three journalists missed countless opportunities to watch their son’s games because they were writing or editing stories about other people’s sons.

David Newhan He made his debut in 1999 with the San Diego Padres, but bounced around several organizations and couldn’t get out of third until the Baltimore Orioles called him up on June 18, 2004.

Ross was working at Dodger Stadium that evening and after the Orioles’ game against the Colorado Rockies on his laptop. David Pinch hit in the ninth inning and hit home.

For one glorious moment in baseball’s Hall of Fame writer’s career, Ross Newhan allowed himself a shout of joy at the press box.

“I could just see the box score,” Ross said. “This is the field, the ball is in play and the next thing I see is HR. I let it go, exhilarating. [Times writer] Bill Chicken was sitting next to me and he never let me forget that.”

Matt Dominguez He was the Houston Astros’ third businessman during a series at Angel Stadium in August 2013. He earned nearly 100 tickets for family and friends, then went eight for 14 times with two home runs in the three games.

Fernando took time off to attend the games on Friday and Saturday. The series finale kicked off Sunday at 12:30 p.m., so he stayed on six rounds before leaving to get to Times Mirror Square in downtown Los Angeles to begin his editorial shift at 3 p.m.

“I remember turning on the radio in the car before he got close to home,” Fernando said.

The blast that went three times in the seventh inning was Matt’s fourth hit of his career and gave the Astros a lead they didn’t give up.

This wasn’t the first time Fernando had missed a win at home run by his son. Matt played for the US junior national team at the 2006 World Championships at the age of 16. The tournament was hosted by Cuba and was played in the same city, Morón, where Fernando grew up.

“It was such a weird feeling to go out there and drive through the streets where my dad was born and raised,” Matt said. “He told me Moron is known as big rooster statueAnd there it was! “

His cousins ​​he had never met before came to the semi-final match between the United States and Cuba. Fernando and his wife, Cindy, were following the events online when the connection fell early in the game.

The match was goalless until the seventh inning when Matt hit home three games. The United States won 4-0. Fernando had to wait until the next day to read the Cuban newspapers’ reports on the match in Spanish.

“This is how it went for most of his career,” Fernando said. “I’ll be at work, following his online game with one tab open and editing a story with another.”

Houston Astros captain Matt Dominguez threw a pole position against the Texas Rangers in September 2014.

Houston Astros captain Matt Dominguez threw a pole position against the Texas Rangers in September 2014.

(Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press)

Being a top level soccer player isn’t all glamor and glory. The sports writers are attuned to the grueling path from youth football to the big leagues, the failures inherent in the game and the recurring daily grind endured by even the best players.

Newhan, Dominguez, and Morgan lived through it all.

In a Father’s Day column in 2004 a few days after David’s home run against the Rockies, Ross wrote of “David’s baseball saga that taught him that there are no guarantees and little you can believe in besides yourself, even when it comes to your father’s career.”

Injuries cost David only two seasons as he became an established key player. He struggled again and became a useful player with the Orioles, Mets and Astros before retiring in 2011 at the age of 34.

Fernando wrote a column after Matt’s 2011 debut in the league and described the experience from a parent’s point of view: “That night, it was hard to fall asleep while images of Matt’s baseball trip raced through my mind: the countless hours he spent on the youth fields And in the batting cages, the miles we put on our cars driving to championships, and the games played in dust bowls with crazy early morning or late night start times.”

Ross and Fernando wrote about their sons reluctantly. They were not bragging and made sure that the stories conveyed the challenges their sons faced which only became clearer when they reached the major tournaments.

“Baseball is tough, it just wears it on you,” Matt said. “My dad understood baseball is every day. He wanted to say things to me when I was in a slump, but baseball can beat you more mentally than physically. He knew when to say things and when not to say things.”

Eli was independent early on. When he was a high school student, he declined an offer of scholarships from nearby Chapman University and negotiated a favorable deal with Gonzaga without interference from his parents.

“He doesn’t call me to find out things,” Dave said.

One of Dave’s most proud moments at dinner came after Eli pounded for six runs in 2 and 3 innings during his debut on May 28, 2021, on a rainy night in Cleveland.

“Although Eli was disappointed with the outcome, he put that aside and made sure to enjoy the moment with his family and friends,” said Dave.

Baltimore Orioles quarterback David Newhan stretches to hit the Texas Rangers in August 2006.

Baltimore Orioles quarterback David Newhan stretches to hit the Texas Rangers in August 2006.

(Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press)

David Newhan lives what his father did years ago. No, he’s not a sports writer for The Times, but he has a son who aspires to play baseball at the next level. Nico Newhan hit .530 and led the state with 61 strokes as a junior last season at the San Diego Maranatha Christian Academy. Ross and his wife, Connie, rarely miss a match.

David, 48, was a batting coach with the Detroit Tigers in the 2015-16 season, after which he was a batting coach with the Angels and Pirates. Nico bit flies while batting in Comerica Park and spent time in clubs like his father did as a teenager.

When Ross has covered the Angels for decades, David was welcome on the club and on the field during spring training. Jimmy Reese hit him with a fungus. Reggie Jackson gave him a bat.

“That’s when I decided, this is David said. “Everything has changed now. As a child writer, it just doesn’t happen anymore.”

When Fernando retired two years ago, he and his wife, Cindy, moved from Los Angeles to the Phoenix area and bought a house around the corner where Matt, 32, lives with his wife Brittany and two young children.

Eli, 26, is single and uniquely focused on helping The Guardians win. One of the baseball throws The most effective changes And he became a mainstay after making 18 starters last season as a rookie.

He never wanted to be a sports writer. Neither did Matt or David, who had put it very succinctly when he was still a player.

“Playing seemed more fun than writing,” David said. “My dad writes at home, and the only thing I’ve seen often is that he’s cursing the storm and yelling at the laptop. I understand what a sports writer is going through.”