His daughter will turn 4 years old next month. His boy, the one who missed watching his dad play ball, is 6 years old. They are what drove Jason Repko back to baseball in May when he was 11 months into retirement.
"That's the big kind of kicker," Repko said inside the York Revolution clubhouse Tuesday afternoon. "My boy, even now I can tell, that's all they talk about is coming to the games. So that stuff kind of drives me to want to play."
And it's why Repko, having recently suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in his 15th year as a pro, still plans to be back out on a ball field somewhere next year.
"Well, my boy I played for a month, my boy came out with the family and only saw me play in five games," Repko said. "You know? So I feel like it's a little disappointing."
The veteran outfielder with 360 games of big league experience played in 24 games for the York Revolution in 2013 before retiring. He then came out of retirement when he returned to York in mid-May. Thirty games into the season, however, he slightly tore his left hamstring when sliding into third base back on July 12.
"You really have to pick up speed to slide. It popped," Repko recalled. "There I felt intense pain. Heard the pop. I knew."
Repko was faced with two options. The first was surgery, something he wished to avoid given the fact he already had surgery on the same spot seven years ago when he tore his left hamstring completely chasing down a fly ball in a big league spring training game with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007.
"I don't even know how that would work if you could have surgery on the same spot twice with something like that," Repko said. "I'm sure it's all fine to do but I'm just thankful I won't have to get it."
The second option, the one Repko has chosen, is to rest for a month, go through physical therapy for a couple months and aim to begin running at full speed again by November or December. Either way, he's out of action for the remainder of this season.
Still a lot left: Repko had said back in May he also returned to baseball to prove he was healthy, with the hopes a major league organization would take a chance on him one more time. But he battled nagging injuries the last two months before the latest ailment finally did him in.
Now 33, two years removed from last playing in the majors and facing a lengthy rehabilitation process, it would make sense if Repko decided to retire for good. Except he wants to show his children the player daddy used to be. The one who made highlight-reel catches in a big league uniform for seven seasons.
"I made that mistake last year calling retirement early," he said. "No, I still have a lot left to play. There's still a lot left in there. It's just waiting on the hamstring to get back to feeling good."
— Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.