ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Baseball is a family game for Red Wings outfielder Josh Palacios.
His brother Richie is playing for the Cleveland Guardians and his uncle Rey played for three years with the Kansas City Royals. Josh’s dad James also played in the minor leagues.
But unlike many minor leaguers who play far away from friends and family, Rey lives in the Flower City and is able to cheer him on at Frontier Field.
“It’s the first time I’m in a spot where I have family right there,” said Josh. “It just makes things easier, say you have a tough day or you’ve got your head full of baseball stuff, I can always go there and hang out. Watch some shows, watch some TV and stuff with him. Just hang out and be regular for a little bit and get away sometimes.”
After Rey ended his baseball career with a brief stint with the Red Wings, one that lasted just a single at-bat and ended due to injury, he followed his other passion — firefighting.
Since his native Brooklyn had an age limit to become a firefighter, he started his career in Rochester and spent 25 years as a city firefighter before retiring last month.
Now with Josh on the Red Wings after getting picked up midseason, he gets to act as both a coach and a personal chef.
“He gets to eat some good home cooking,” said Rey. “It’s not road trip food all the time.”
But that comes with a catch.
“I better get hits or else I get fed hot dogs,” Josh said with a laugh. “He just comes to the games and is always watching, making sure I’m doing what I’ve got to do. When I have tough days, he’s good there.”
Rey has been able to attend a handful of games this year and the pair talk after almost every game. Rey gives him plenty of hitting tips, though fielding is a bit of a sore subject.
“He’s in the outfield, I was a catcher. So I always break his stones a little bit about that, he went out to the soft part of the field,” said Rey.
“He still tells me I’ll be in the league right now if I was a catcher,” said Josh with a smile, who used to be behind the plate. “My knees don’t like catching so much so I’m going to stick in the outfield, I’m doing fine out there.”
Palacios has hit .290 this season with the Red Wings with five home runs, 37 RBIs, and 33 runs in 53 games. His first game in Rochester was his finest, opening the game with a three-run homer, with three hits totals, the final being the walk-off winner. What made it even better was the fact that it was against the Bisons, his former team, and that his uncle was there in the stands to watch it all.
“It just brought back a lot of memories,” said Rey. “And to see him as a little boy to grow up to where he’s at today and all the work that he’s put into it and the work that we’ve put into helping him out, him and his brother, it’s really paid off.”
Josh’s brother Richie has played in 30 games with the Guardians this season while Josh made his MLB debut last year with the Blue Jays. They’re looking forward to the first time they can play against each other as they continue the Palacios family legacy.