Pitch Perfect Dad: Meet Atlanta Braves Mike Foltynewicz
Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, the father of two children younger than 2 years old, talked to Atlanta Parent about baseball, his busy schedule and what life is like in the “Folty” household.
What are your favorite baseball memories from when you were a kid?
MF: I remember vividly hitting my first home run when I was younger. I always remember hanging out with my parents and road tripping with them pretty much every weekend to play baseball.
Once my mom got a tip that Ken Griffey Jr. was going to be at a country club when we lived on the border of Wisconsin, and I was a big fan of his. She took me out of school and said we were going for a drive. I said “Are we going to the dentist?” She said we were going to a country club. Eventually Ken Griffey Jr. came in and had lunch. He was just as nice as he could be. I still have the picture of him and me to this day.
How did you meet your wife, Brittany?
MF: We went to the same high school and had mutual friends, but we just never hung out. When I got traded to the Braves, I met her in the off season going into 2015. We got married a couple years later. She has been through the grind of the Major League season years with me. She is the biggest sweetheart ever, and if she wasn’t with me, I don’t know where I would be now.
What are the ages and personalities of your kids?
MF: Jett turned 1 in February and Lola was born January. They are the biggest gifts and blessings that I could have received. When I come through the door, Jett lights up, and it almost brings a tear to my eye. Lola’s started smiling, letting us know she’s here, too. I’ve just had 14 months of having these two kids and it puts a hole in my heart when I have to leave.
What is life like in the Folty household with two young children?
MF: It’s actually pretty fun. Mom [Brittany] is MVP. She’s organized. She’s got a game plan down. We had both kids before spring training, so we could get them used to the season. We also have three dogs so it can get a little hectic. It’s unbelievable how kids grow up. Last season I’d come home, and every day it was like Jett was a new person.
When you have a break from baseball, what do you like to do with your family?
MF: I’m into car shows a lot, so Brittany and I take Jett in the stroller. At Christmas we drive around and look at the Christmas lights in our neighborhood. This past year was when Jett really started to notice things. We took him to the water park during spring training, and he had a blast there. On his birthday we took him to the Georgia Aquarium.
Any similarities between baseball and parenting?
MF: I’ve learned a lot of parenting that I’ve translated to baseball. Being patient, slowing things down, relaxing. In baseball if I get in a jam, I relax and think about Jett. I have a jet plane and Jett’s name tattooed on my finger. I look down and see his name and it takes that stress away. I think happy thoughts and know I’m going to see him after the game. He brings that confidence I need as a Major League pitcher.
What do you like to do with your family on Father’s Day?
MF: Every Father’s Day I’ve been playing baseball. I couldn’t imagine being any other place than the ball park, seeing my son watching his dad on a Major League field. I can’t wait until he gets a little older and realizes what all this is.
How would your wife answer the question “What makes Mike a great dad?”
MF: Patience with them, taking care of them at night, and spending as much time as I can with them makes me a great dad. I think she thinks I’m doing a pretty good job so far. I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp of it.
MF: When Jett walked. It was really cute. He’d been taking a few steps and we were trying to get him to walk, and the night before Brittany went to have a C-section with Lola he walked to her. Now we can’t keep him from walking and running.
Do you have any advice for new dads?
MF: Get those diaper changes out of the way early when they are younger because they don’t squirm as much. Now Jett’s kicking and he’ll grab the diaper if he gets a chance. Brittany can do it in five seconds, but it takes me two minutes. And be with them as much as you humanly can because it goes by quickly.
– Janeen Lewis
- Born in Sterling, Illinois, but grew up in Minooka, Illinois.
- Has three dogs: Rookie, Ken Griffey Jr. and Winnie
- Last name is pronounced FOL-TEN-EH-VICH
- Favorite food is sausage and pepperoni Chicago-style pizza, and he eats one before every game that is he the starting pitcher
- Had a plane and his son Jett’s name tattooed on his hand
Meet MVP Mom Brittany Foltynewicz
Although Brittany and Mike “Folty” Foltynewicz were classmates in high school, she never imagined she’d be married to him one day.
“I’m older than Mike, so my friend’s siblings were Mike’s friends,” Brittany, who is from Shorewood, Illinois, says. “He was so baseball oriented. He was always involved in that so I never hung out with him outside of school.”
Now that she has two young children, Brittany, who worked as a paralegal, nanny and bikini fitness model before she became a wife and mom, spends her days making sure the Folty household runs smoothly, something she says she’s always wanted to do.
“I’ve always loved children and anything related to home. I love socializing and going out, but I love making a home, too. It’s a good combo for me with baseball,” Brittany says.
Mike describes Brittany as an MVP mom, and Brittany admits, “I’ve kind of nailed it. I have this down pat for my daughter only being 3 months old.”
Her secret? She keeps positive when life is a whirlwind.
“It’s a lot of prepping and a lot of chaos,” Brittany says. “It all depends on how you handle the chaos. You can take a positive attitude toward the chaos and get through it, or you can dwell on it and keep having a bad day with it. We don’t get upset about the little things around here.”
When there is a break from baseball, Brittany says the family enjoys going to Chastain Park and going out to eat at their favorite pizza place, Rosati’s in Buckhead. She recommends the Battery at SunTrust Park as a great place to take kids. “There is something for everyone,” she says.
The family also enjoys spending time together at their home. “During our time off, we hibernate in our home,” Brittany says. “We’ve made it an oasis, so we love it.”
Brittany says that Mike is a great dad because he is so hands-on with his children.
“It’s like Christmas every day when he wakes up,” she says. “He has to go find them immediately. He just lights up. “He is so good at loving them and being there for them. His top priority is taking care of us.”
Having two children 11 months apart has made Mike and Brittany Foltynewicz appreciate baby products that make their lives easier. Here are a few that are grand slams in the Folty household: