Cubs-Giants becomes a reunion for Dunston family

Cubs-Giants becomes a reunion for Dunston family
March 25, 2013, 8:45 pm
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MESA, Ariz. - Shawon Dunston Jr. wore a white No. 90 jersey with nothing across the back, no famous last name.

He had no idea he'd be exchanging lineup cards when he was called over on Monday from minor-league camp. Cubs manager Dale Sveum and bench coach Jamie Quirk told him: You're going to see your dad.

Shawon - the San Francisco Giants coach, the Brooklyn kid the Cubs picked No. 1 overall in the 1982 draft - walked out to home plate and hugged his son twice. Shawon Jr.'s mother and sister were among the 13,374 fans inside HoHoKam Stadium watching the family reunion.

"Pretty fun, pretty surreal," Shawon Jr. said. "This was a dream when I was a little kid, trying to be in the big leagues. I got a taste of it today and hopefully I'm here pretty soon."

Shawon was seen wiping away tears after hugging his son again after the Giants beat the Cubs 9-3. He later struggled for words, telling the San Francisco writers "I'm very proud" before pausing a moment and running back onto the team bus. The pictures said everything.

Shawon Jr., 20, didn't get a scouting report from his dad before facing Sergio Romo in the ninth inning. He worked a full count against the World Series hero and singled through the hole at shortstop.

"I knew what he had, because I'm a big Giants fan," Shawon Jr. said. "I'm not going to sit here and be secret about it. I'm from the Bay Area, so I watch him all the time and I know the whole team. It was pretty nice facing him."

Shawon Jr. became part of the $12 million draft class that former general manager Jim Hendry signed in August 2011 after he already knew he was fired.

Hendry negotiated directly with Wayne Gretzky and signed The Great One's son Trevor to an above-slot deal - $375,000 for the seventh-round pick - one of several risks taken in the final draft before a new collective bargaining agreement would severely limit spending on amateur talent.

With a scholarship to Vanderbilt University, Shawon Jr. wasn't going to be easy to sign. He was still disappointed to fall to the 11th round and enrolled in summer school. Hendry closed the deal with a $1.275 million bonus for a centerfielder his staff had graded as a first-round talent.

"School's not going anywhere," Shawon Jr. said. "But like my parents said: If you want to start something, live a dream, play in the big leagues...go ahead and do it."

Shawon Jr. split last season between Class-A Boise and the rookie league team in Mesa and hears his father's voice all the time.

"Right now you're playing with men," Shawon Jr. said. "It's not a little boy's game anymore. You're playing for something now."