Dunston helps son transition to pro ball

Dunston helps son transition to pro ball

Dunston helps son transition to pro ball
SAN FRANCISCO -- Shawon Dunston Jr., the Cubs' 11th round pick in the First-Year Player Draft, returned home Monday for a two-week break before going back to his new job as a professional baseball player in instructional league.

And his dad couldn't be more proud of his son.

Shawon Dunston Sr., the former Cubs shortstop and current coach on the Giants, said it was an interesting few days leading up to the Aug. 15 signing deadline. The Cubs selected Shawon Jr. in the 11th round. He was considering going to school at Vanderbilt and took summer school classes there, which gave him a chance to meet the coaches and some of the players on the baseball team.

"I said, 'They're offering you first-round money and you haven't done anything yet, and you've got to look at that and you're young,'" the elder Dunston said of the Cubs' offer of $1.275 million, which was over slot and included money for college. "I said, 'For you to get this money back in college, everything has to go right, and when I say everything, I mean everything.'"

His son, a high school outfielder, decided he wanted to play baseball. He went through an initiation at the Cubs' facility in Mesa, Ariz., and will return for the instructional league, which begins Sept. 15. His dad has prepared him with lots of hitting sessions.

"I go up and in on him, and I throw over his head," Dunston said. "He said, 'No dad does that.' I said, 'Listen, when I'm pitching to you, I'm not your father. Just focus and just play.' I said, 'Hit a line drive right back at my forehead.'"

Dunston, who was the Cubs' first-round pick in 1982, still has lots of fans in Chicago who now follow his son on Twitter. OK, who has the better arm?

"I have a better arm," Dad said.

Who's faster?

"That's a good question," Dunston said. "He's pretty fast. He has long strides. He's smarter and he's much more educated."

One thing he still needs to develop is a passion for the game.

"Daddy loves the game," Dunston said of himself. "He's not quite like me as far as the passion for the game. When he gets up there, playing against those guys, it'll kick in."