Fuentes' career started in back yard

Fuentes' career started in back yard

Brian Fuentes' father used to throw a baseball as high as he could in the middle of a Merced, Calif., street, seeing how many the younger Fuentes could catch.

Then Brian would do the same, throwing the ball as high as he could, hoping its flight was so high that his dad couldn't catch it.

Since those early days throwing with his father, David, Brian has become one of the top closers in baseball, even though he didn't start pitching until high school.

Brian credits his dad, a former high school baseball player and competitive softball player, with teaching him the fundamentals of baseball in his younger years.

"I learned from him by watching," Brian said. "[I learned from] him teaching me how to throw and hit and field."

Brian said he never asked his father where he learned the game, but that didn't matter.

"He was good enough to teach me," Brian said.

The two got started early. Brian said that he was playing catch with his dad "as soon as I could walk."

Now, dad follows his son, about 25 years after they got started.

David ordered the MLB Extra Innings TV package so he can catch Rockies games in California. The two get to see each other whenever the Rockies visit San Francisco, about 2 1/2 hours from Merced, and when Dave visits Colorado once a year.

"You don't realize how good of a father figure he is until I get older, and I look down and see what influence he had on my life," Brian said. "I'm grateful he molded me into the man I am today."

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