It's not too often that at the age of 33 a former baseball player can enjoy the many luxuries of retired life, but after nine big league seasons, former D-backs first baseman Travis Lee is living a pretty good life.
Lee, an original D-back who made his Major League debut in the club's first season in 1998, after he gained free agency from the Twins, who made him the No. 2 overall Draft pick in 1996, retired before the 2007 season and now does something a lot of people his age wish they could do.
"I'm just being a full-time dad," said Lee, who has a 3 1/2 year-old son, Dane, and an 11-month-old daughter, Scarlett, living in a northern suburb of San Diego, where he was born and went to college as a San Diego State Aztec.
"My time with the kids is the most important thing. I really can't complain. I love it. There are not many dads that get this opportunity to raise their kids and be around all the time with them. They keep me well-entertained all day."
Thanks to some of the financial stability that comes along with being a professional baseball player, Lee is lucky enough to be an active father in his children's early years without having to go to work every day, something most Major League fathers don't get the chance to do.
While Lee's life may no longer include the everyday glory and luxury of professional baseball, he's not complaining. He retired during Spring Training of 2007 as a member of the Nationals, citing his lack of desire to play the game anymore.
"When I came up, I was 22 years old, so everything was kind of a blur," Lee said. "You look back on it now and you just think you could have done some things different than you should have.
"I still love playing the game and going out and taking batting practice and taking grounders, it's just that I was done playing the game itself. I was just over it."
D-back fans certainly remember Lee as the player who got the first hit and home run in franchise history in 1998 in his rookie season, when he hit .269 with 22 homers and 72 RBIs. He stayed with the D-backs for another season and a half before he was involved in the trade that sent Curt Schilling to Arizona in July 2000.
Lee spent three seasons with the Phillies and three with Tampa Bay, as well as part of 2004 with the Yankees.
Now, about the only involvement Lee has with baseball is attending Dane's 25-minute T-ball games. He's not planning on doing any coaching, although he does the "dad work" by helping out on the field, standing behind second base and telling the youngsters to run and stop at the bases. Lee's son isn't exactly at the age where he is open to getting advice from his former big league father, something not a lot of others on the team can get.
"I wish I could," Lee said. "He doesn't really let me teach him at all. You just tell him how to hold the bat and swing as hard as you can. And if you hit it, you hit it, and if you don't, try again."
When Lee isn't on the T-ball field, he spends his time with his children and wife, Andrea, at some of San Diego's finest attractions.
"We're a pretty boring family, just living our life here in San Diego, doing Lego Land, the zoo, Sea World and the beach," Lee said. "That's why I moved back here. There are so many things you can do with kids here. We're lucky enough to be able to live here.
"It's a good feeling."
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.