Former RoughRiders pitcher Jake Brigham was promoted Triple-A Round Rock on May 1, 2013. This story ran in the "7th Inning Stretch" segment of the Playball! program at Dr Pepper Ballpark from May 13-20 and May 28 - June 2.
RoughRiders reliever Jake Brigham gets a call from his dad every day. In 21st century fashion, it's not on a landline or even cell phone but rather with Apple's FaceTime software. Every day, Jake gets a call from his father, Earl Brigham-on an iPad. Earl Brigham is not a young or even a particularly hip parent. He loves technology, sure, but Earl doesn't call his son on the iPad every day to be cool. He calls Jake on his iPad because it's the only way he can.
Since he was two years old, Jake's father has been deaf. What was originally believed by doctors to be short-term problem has in fact been a life-long impairment. At 68-years-old, Earl doesn't expect that to change, but he also doesn't let it control his life.
Earl runs his own business, the Earl Brigham Barber Shop, in downtown Winter Garden, Florida. Situated on a cobblestone road just off Main Street, the shop has been a staple of the community for the last 45 years. Earl works hard and gives his time to the people that matter in his life, which includes not just his family but also the entire community.
Unlike many, ever since Jake can remember, his trips to church every Sunday didn't feature an unfamiliar pastor he has met only a few times. Standing at the pulpit, instead, was his father, who served as a pastor for the deaf ministry at the First Baptist Church of Central Florida while Jake was growing up. Despite the challenges he faces, he is a great communicator and still preaches today. "He understands people extremely well," said Jake, "and he's so flamboyant and animated that you always know what he is trying to say."
Jake says his dad is a tireless worker, but that he almost never missed one of his games growing up; he was always in the crowd cheering him on. The same could be said by any of Jake's six brothers and sisters. Even now, Jake knows his dad is watching each RoughRiders game four states away on MiLB.tv-just another technological innovation that keeps them close.
The family oriented Christian values instilled by his family are incredibly apparent when talking to Jake. Jake said his favorite meal is one cooked by his mom and his dream date would be with his wife, Taylor. His role model? His father, of course. He has taken his father's lead and given back to the deaf community as well. Working for his sister's company "Just for Deaf" the past few offseasons, Jake once spent a few months at an elementary school translating for hearing-impaired and hard-of-hearing children. In recounting those experiences, Jake's smile brimmed from ear-to-ear, glowing in a way only matched when talking about his father and what he has taught him. "The way he treats people and loves people-there is never a minute he thinks of himself" said Jake.
Jake was reunited with his family for the first time since Spring Training in late April when they came out to Dr Pepper Ballpark for the first time this season. With Taylor, Jake got the opportunity to celebrate their new blessing-a baby girl, due in October. Now an expecting father himself, Jake knows exactly who to learn from about being a father. "I know that if I can be just half of the dad mine is to me, this little girl will turn out perfect."