Jaime and Jorge Jarrin may have had their ultimate Father’s Day moment six months ago.
Jaime, the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame Spanish-language play-by-play man since the team moved to L.A., took his son, Jorge, currently working on the Dodgers’ post-game radio talk show, down to his native Ecuador last December to visit relatives that he hadn’t seen in years.
Also along for the ride were Jorge’s three grown sons – Andrew, 28; Phillip, 24; and Stefan, 22.
“My sons finally realized how far their grandfather had come from this quiet little village in the middle of the world on the equator,” Jorge said the other day from the Dodger Stadium Spanish-language broadcast booth. “They’ve had a front-row seat to seeing him get inducted in Cooperstown, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but this time, my father gave them something that goes beyond Father’s Day – a lifetime of memories and experiences that are so special.
“I know it sounds corny, but the best thing that we can give to each other is time. My dad’s been very generous with his time.”
Father’s Day doesn’t get old for the 77-year-old Jaime or the 57-year-old Jorge, even if they see each other much more often. Jorge has stopped working after 25 years as a helicopter traffic pilot for KABC-AM (790) and become part of the team’s broadcast department, doing Spanish-language TV games.
Today may be a little disjointed because Jaime is in Pittsburgh with the team today, while Jorge will be at the KLAC broadcast studios later to talk about it. But the family dynamic doesn’t change.
Q: Father’s Day must feel like an every-day event for you two by now, right?
Jorge: I think you can say that. In many ways, it is. Family therapists talk about how important it is for a family to have a day together, maybe a Sunday dinner. I have the opportunity to have dinner with my dad just about every day now. That’s not something I could do when I was a younger man growing up because he was often on the road during the summer. The off-season was different. But when he’d leave early to the park and get home late, sometimes I wouldn’t see him for three, four, five days even when he was home. So maybe we’re catching up on that now.
Q: What kind of kid was Jorge growing up?
Jaime: He was a very good kid.
Q: There’s no reason to lie even if he’s sitting right here.
Jaime: No, that’s the truth. The thing is I didn’t always get to spend much time with him, especially when he was going to college at Pepperdine. But I am blessed to see him following in my steps now and see him now almost every day. It’s really something very special now. He’s very close to me and my wife (Blanca).
Jorge: We only live five minutes apart from each other (Jaime is in San Marino and Jorge is in San Gabriel). It’s not uncommon for him to come over. In fact, there was this one time ….
(Jaime begins to laugh)
Jorge: I took my three sons to a Manny Mota Foundation charity dinner event once, and I gave each of them $100 to spend on whatever auction memorabilia they wanted, to splurge a little bit. My middle son (Phillip) got something, but my oldest (Andrew) talked my youngest (Stefan) into putting their money together to get something really good — a Barry Bonds signed bat. Well, when they came home, the bat ended up in my older son’s room. And my youngest son was complaining: “Wait, I gave my money for this.” And the older son said: “Well, sure, you can come and look at it any time you want.” That didn’t go over well. All of the sudden, at 10:30 at night after a game, there’s a knock at the front door, and it’s my dad. He brought a Raul Mondesi signed game-worn jersey for Stefan so he wouldn’t feel left out. I’m thinking: “Wait a minute, you didn’t do this when I was growing up.” But of course he has the blessing of grandchildren that he can spoil and then he can leave.
Q: Stefan, by the way, an infielder drafted by the Dodgers in 2011, but then traded to the Phillies in the package deal last September for Shane Victorino. How did that go over in the family?
Jaime: We thought it was good for him, a good opportunity. The Dodgers gave the Phillies a list of players and they picked him. He was excited that they wanted to give him a chance. But then, near the end of spring training (in 2013) he was released.
Jorge: He had a great spring. I don’t understand why it happened. Of course, I’m being dad here now. The Phillies made a big mistake but they’ll have to live with it. Someday they’ll understand their mistake. I was on the Pasadena Freeway at the time last September and my son called me and told me about the trade – he was the player to be named later. I had such a mixed flood of emotions. I was so happy for him that it validated him as a player that he went to another team. People could always say he was drafted (by the Dodgers out of Orange Coast College and Gabrielino High in San Gabriel) because he was Jaime Jarrin’s grandson. But, Stef was a very good player and the fact he got traded, went to spring, but it’s the life of a ballplayer and now he’s looking to hook up with another team, maybe in scouting or the front office.
Jaime: I hope he stays involved in baseball in the front office. He has a good eye for talent. He could be a good scout. He understands the game. He’s a good student.
Q: Jorge, what did you learn about being a dad from hanging around him?
Jaime: Let me tell you one thing first — He’s is a much, much better dad than I was, really. I admire him for that. I didn’t have enough time to take care of them, I was on the road so much. But he is very special with his kids.
Jorge: But it’s a whole different set of circumstances. As my kids were growing up, I came to the organization in 2004. He’s been here more than 50 years. While he was establishing his career as we were growing up, I had to transition into doing play by play for Dodger television and DodgerTalk as my children have already grown up. The great thing about my dad is he had a wonderful partner in his life, my mom Blanca. Between the two of them, there wasn’t anything we did not want for. We had love and appreciation from both of them.
Jaime: I was traveling all the time with baseball and boxing and news events. I was away a lot and my wife took care of everything. She was the one who deserves all the recognition.
Jorge: But what did I learn from him? Being even handed, patient, a good listener. My dad really likes the process of learning. To do that, you have to have to be open minded. That’s one great thing he’s passed onto me. If I can pass that on to my kids, that transcends everything in how you conduct yourself, how you live your life. It’s not always easy. But I’ve been fortunate to get passed on some good genes. All boys in the family. All my sons are doing what they enjoy doing, well on their paths to their own personal successes, and I’m happy for them. We’re very blessed and that’s why I keep a positive outlook on everything.
Jaime: The best advice I could ever give him was to do your homework. That’s the advice Vin (Scully) always gave me. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done 5,000 or 10,000 games, you have to always be prepared. I taught him to spend two, three, four hours a day preparing. Years ago, that was much more difficult without the Internet so you had to read every paper and magazine to be on top of everything. Now it’s easier, but you still have to do a lot of homework because you never know what’s going to happen.
Q: Did you ever get called into the principal’s office because Jorge didn’t do his homework?
Jaime: No. Maybe I was called because of my other son (Jorge’s younger brother, Mauricio).
Jorge: I think we have been the ying and yang of his life.
Q: The best Father’s Day present you’ve ever received?
Jaime: I remember the time (1998) when I was at Cooperstown giving my (acceptance) speech, receiving the plaque from Ralph Kiner, and in the middle of the speech – there’s 15,000 to 20,000 people there – all of the sudden I hear a voice: “That’s my dad!” Everyone turned around. It was my youngest son, Mauricio, who was 16 at the time. What a high point.
Q: Jorge, you didn’t think to yell that out?
Jorge: I was busy trying to control my three sons at the time, all under the age of 12.
Q: The other night when you received your bobblehead, Jaime, you had to be serenaded by Jorge singing the national anthem. Jorge, how nerve-wracking was that with your dad watching?
Jorge: Well, the thing is, they had no idea. I didn’t tell anyone, including my wife (Maggie).
Jaime: I knew he could sing. In high school, he had the main role in “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Jorge: That was so long ago. But nothing like this. Someone from the team asked me, “Who would your father like to sing the national anthem?” And after I thought about it, I said, “I’ll do it.” But I wouldn’t tell anyone. My wife said afterward: “After 31 years, you can still hold a secret like that? I’m going to keep an eye on you.”
Jaime: It was very special.
Jorge: And seeing him on a bobblehead, it’s the first time I get to see him nod his head up and down as opposed to side to side, when he’s saying ‘no.’ Growing up, it’s ‘no,’ ‘no.’ Now it’s ‘yes,’ ‘yes.’
Jaime: The reaction has been amazing. Someone told me, you’ve now hit the Triple Crown – Hall of Fame, star on Hollywood, and your own bobblehead.
Q: The Latino family is such an important unit in Los Angeles. The team says now Latinos make up about 48 percent of the teams’ fanbase. Do you feel as you’re an important link as a family with the Dodgers in the community, people tell you how important you are to them?
Jaime: It’s funny, so many people I meet, 90 percent, Mr. Jarrin, my father used to hear you, my grandfather and grandmother used to hear you. So I tell them, “OK, we grew up together.”
We’ve really preached the baseball gospel very well and created more Dodger fans and baseball fans because, let’s face it, lots from South American, Central American even Mexico didn’t care. They were soccer and boxing. But since Fernando (Valenzuela) and the Dodgers giving them the baseball on a daily basis, they follow it and we’ve created new fans like nobody else.
Jorge: My dad has been part of someone’s up bringing the last three generations.
Jaime: The Latino families are very close knit. I am a family man. I’ve been lucky and blessed to have a great family and they look at me and I am able to communicate with them.
Jorge: For me, it’s something fun to hear when someone sees me here, and ask: Are you Jaime’s son? Yes I am. You know I grew up listening to your father. He was always in the background with my grandfather, my father, my aunt. I always listened to your father. You know what, that gives us something in common. So did I.