Parker Serrano, who like most 3-year-olds waddles as much as he runs, is frequently unleashed onto the field after UC Irvine baseball games at Anteater Ballpark. He teeters under the weight and volume of an adult batting helmet that he has taken to, much like his peers cling to their favorite blanket.
It's never long before his dad, third-year UCI Coach Dave Serrano, scoops him up like a slow-rolling grounder, and greets him with a kiss and a squeeze. Soon thereafter, the elder Serrano greets his wife Tracy, while son Kyle, 11, is often tidying up the dugout to complete his duties as team bat boy.
Middle son Zachary, 9, is sometimes part of the postgame welcoming party as well.
It is a display that doubles as an unintentional lesson to Serrano's players: that there are more important things than fretting over striking out three times, giving up a game-deciding home run; or even relishing the program's first berth in the College World Series.