Guest column: The ballpark life is for me — thank you, Dad

Longtime Isotopes general manager and vice president John Traub holds then-toddler son Joe Traub at Burns Stadium in Calgary, Alberta, thought to be in 1999. (Courtesy photo)

Editor’s note: Father’s Day often presents the Journal an opportunity to highlight a father, or a father/son relationship tied to the Albuquerque Isotopes, who typically have been the only major sports team playing in these parts on the third Sunday in June. Often, Isotopes general manager John Traub has helped us coordinate those stories. This year, we left him out of the loop, instead going to 23-year-old Joe Traub — John’s son — to tell about growing up the son of the man who runs the Isotopes organization. Joe serves this season as a Communications Associate after holding positions with other sports teams around the country. We also asked some of those who watched Joe Traub growing up with the team and the influence they saw his father have on him: CLICK HERE.

I wouldn’t be in this business if not for my dad.

Sure, I’d probably be a sports fan. Demographics and statistics show that most young adult males are interested in sports and recreation in some fashion. But to what extent, I can’t answer that. It’s impossible to think of, because my dad has been beyond influential in my upbringing around America’s Pastime.

Joe Traub

I don’t know where to even start. Going to the ballpark in Calgary, Alberta, on a freezing Easter Sunday afternoon as a 3-year-old. Attending the first ever game at brand new Isotopes Park after professional baseball was brought back to the Duke City in 2003. Coming into the office with my dad as a preteen, helping him and others with various tasks throughout the day, and of course staying for that night’s game and fireworks show. I grew up at the ballpark and am so thankful to have kept my passion for nearly two decades.

I sometimes quietly chuckle to myself when someone asks me about working with my dad at the ballpark, as life has taken me full circle and I am back with the Isotopes for the 2021 season. I laugh because HE is the captain in charge aboard ship.

My dad has had to navigate this entire organization through a global pandemic, an entire lost season, and numerous personal losses close to or directly involved in the organization. Even this year, his daily task is still quite large list in terms of making sure this operation can remain intact with a pandemic still active. While he is constantly thinking up new ways to enforce mask-wearing or easier ways to utilize a mobile concessions app for ordering food, I am looking up our team’s bullpen ERA past the sixth inning or how many home runs we’ve hit on the road. I have the fun job, while he deals with the day-to-day grind in circumstances never seen before in what is his 17th year as general manager of this franchise.

The lessons my father has taught me go far beyond the diamond. But there are two that will always stand out to me, and you should all take to heart personally and professionally.

Number one. You are judged in the face of adversity. It is easy to laugh and smile when everything is going well, right? But what about when times are tough, much like these last 15 months? My dad has always preached if you can deal with adverse times and learn to make the best of any given situation, it will set you up for much success in life.

Now, even more important than number one. Integrity. This is something we all (myself included) can use a reminder of from time to time. Integrity is the most important thing in life. There are only so many things a person can control, and maintaining a strong integrity goes a long way in personal life, family life, team building, organizational structure, and so much more. As general manager of a minor league baseball team, the most vital task for my dad is making sure he has the utmost trust in his employees.

I’d be lying if I say I know exactly what my future holds past the conclusion of this baseball season. I don’t. What I do know is I would like it to remain in sports as it has for over a decade, and wherever I end up, I will take these life lessons my dad has taught me. Beyond that, I hope to have my own family one day, and I would enjoy nothing more than teaching my own children these life principles in order to set them up for success and learning.

If you are reading this, chances are good that you have attended, or plan on coming to an Isotopes game at some point this season. I have a favor to ask you. When you get to Rio Grande Credit Field at Isotopes Park, please thank this man for all he has done to ensure the safe, healthy and happy return of professional sports in Albuquerque.

My dad has always said the Isotopes are right in the fabric of this community, and even though he might be busy pacing the concourse troubleshooting issues, I know that deep down he has a smile on his face when he hears the roar of the crowd following a home run or a great defensive play.

I could go on all day and night about how much my dad has influenced my personal life and career, but I have to let him rest at some point. After all, we are only a few days from starting a 12-game homestand that will likely have several first pitch temperatures in the triple-digits.

Dad, thank you for all you have done, all you continue to do, for me, the family, this organization, this community. Here’s to more memorable times at any ballpark we are at, wherever and however.

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