Hearing that your son will be called up to a major league roster would be a thrill. Being the one to tell him? More than a thrill.
Reno Aces manager Chris Cron was put in that situation a little over a week ago when he was asked to tell his son, Kevin, that the Arizona Diamondbacks were bringing him up to the active roster.
“It was non-scripted, just the way it was supposed to be and its going to be a good story for the rest of our lives, for sure,” Chris Cron said on the Ain’t No Fang Podcast.
The manager said that he first tried some deception to trick his first baseman son, but then emotions took over.
“I sent him a text saying, ‘hey, we really need to find your sister some stuff to do when she’s in Reno with your wife,’” Cron said.
“He knew something was up.”
When he got to his son’s hotel room – the Aces were playing a road series against Albuquerque – emotions took over.
“I knock on the door, I say sort of the same thing. ‘Hey dude, this is it man, you’re packing up, you’re heading to the big leagues,’” Cron said.
“The best part of the whole story was you got a 26-year-old man, 6-foot-5 255 to 260 pounds, and your giving him a hug of joy and you hear him crying over your shoulder. That was the best part of the whole ordeal for me.”
Kevin spent seven games with the D-backs hitting for a .231 batting average with three doubles, two RBI and two runs scored.
Growing up with a father as involved in baseball may have helped Kevin and his brother C.J. develop some of that power.
C.J. Cron, a first baseman on the Twins, has 102 career homeruns over six seasons in the majors.
“They learned through osmosis of playing the game and sitting on the bench when I was a minor league manager their whole life,” Cron said.
But baseball players are a different breed. And when you have two Cron’s on the same team, you need something to help distinguish one from the other.
“Kevin doesn’t sound like a baseball nickname, so his nickname growing up was Smellbert O’Reilly,” Cron said.
“Basically when he did his No. 2, he really made it smell. In the car, it was one of the very unique smells. So that’s where Smellbert came from.”
Despite the smells, Cron said he is very proud of both of his children and just liked to play ball with them growing up.
“I have three great kids and I’m very, very blessed,” Cron said.