Bonding with baseball: Three generations of McLennans having fun with Wildcats
Being a coach requires a lot of time away from family, but for Ray McLennan, coaching is an opportunity to spend time with family.
When the Fruita Monument High School baseball coach goes to practice or a game, he is spending time with his father, John, and son, Logan.
“It’s a great situation for me,” Ray said. “On the elder McLennan side, he’s a great resource for me. Obviously, I’ve learned a majority of the baseball knowledge I have from him growing up. Not only is he a phone call away, but he’s here at practice every night.
“I’ve obviously watched (Logan) grow up and play a lot of baseball in his life. It’s nice to be working with him still, him contributing on our team and being a part of that. It’s a unique situation and I enjoy it.”
It has apparently benefited the Wildcats (9-3, 3-0 Southwestern League), who are sitting in first place in the league with a league game at 6 tonight against Central (7-3, 0-1 SWL) at Suplizio Field.
The three have always shared in the game of baseball. When they’re not coaching or playing, they are going to games. The three attended a Colorado Rockies World Series game together in 2007.
John, who played for Bill Fanning at Grand Junction High School, coached Ray at Central High School.
When Ray took over as Fruita Monument head coach, he asked his dad to be one of his assistant coaches.
“The first year I was out here four years ago, we were working on a (runners at) first and third play and I couldn’t get it to work right,” Ray said. “He came over and made an adjustment and it worked like it should. It’s nice to have him out here and the wealth of knowledge he brings.”
A year ago, Logan was a freshman and made the varsity team when senior shortstop TJ Pollock was injured.
“We talked as a coaching staff about how we were going to adjust our positioning and our infield,” Ray said. “We went through seven or eight different lineups. Logan’s name popped up and we stuck him in at first. Our entire staff worked at it. We played him defensively and hit for him at that point. You always worry about if a freshman is ready to do that. I knew he was ready because I’ve seen him play enough.”
This year, Logan has either started at first base or catcher for the Wildcats as a sophomore and enjoys having his father and grandfather in the dugout.
“It’s great,” Logan said. “We get all sorts of advice coming from a lot of generations. You get a lot of takes on a lot of different things. We’re able to talk about it at the dinner table, so it’s real cool.
“Ever since I was in T-ball they’ve been my coaches. They’ve seen me grow up as a player and a kid, so it’s pretty cool.”
Logan is hitting .257 with a double and two RBI in 11 games this season. He has an on-base percentage of .341 and has two stolen bases.
“We’re asking him to basically start in two spots for us,” Ray said. “That’s a tall order for any kid to take, especially a sophomore. He’s going to give you everything he’s got all the time. That’s what you want as a coach.”
John has enjoyed being in the dugout watching Logan grow as a player and Ray grow as a coach.
“It’s been a good experience for me,” John said. “Logan has had several ‘Wow’ moments. One example was a kid fouled (a pitch) off and Logan did it fundamentally correct. He took off the mask and turned his back like you’re supposed to.
“We’re really proud of him, Grandma and I. We’re proud of Ray too. He’s very articulate. He’s a much better head coach than I was. I don’t know how to get the kids up as well as he does. He prepares well. We worked on bunting a guy over to third and scoring a guy from third and it happened last Saturday.”