WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - At FIU, there are two baseball players who are determined to create their own identity despite what their fathers once did when they were in the big leagues.

On FIU’s baseball team, there are are two players who have grown up around the game since they were kids. Their dads have had successful major league careers.

“When you’re here, you’re just another one of these players in the locker room,” Dante Girardi said. “I don’t ever think about my last name.”

Dante Girardi’s father is Joe Girardi, who was a former all-star, three times World Series champion as a player and the national league manager of the year with the Marlins in 2006.

“My dad’s a really down to earth guy, humble guy, that’s my dad,” Dante said. “I don’t think about what he’s done in his past. When he’s home, he’s dad.”

Dante’s teammate is Orlando Hernandez.

Orlando’s father is the pitcher still known to this day as “El Duque.” He won four World Series titles.

“He always tells me that I’m my own person,” Orlando said. “He’s done what he did, but I got to continue it. I’ve heard that he was a dog, that he was an animal. That everytime he would go out there, he would pitch with his heart out, and he wouldn’t think about anything else expect getting the job done.”

Both Orlando and Dante are here to help FIU’s baseball team get the job done this season under first-year head coach Rich Witten.

“Very early on, I learned that those young men, Orli and Dante, coming from the parents and the childhood that they had, they want to make their own path,” Witten said. “You know, they want to be their own player, and what they’ve been allowed to do is come from a great baseball background.”

Both players have heard it from rowdy fans at times that they can’t play like their dads.

They are not looking to do that.

Orlando, on the other hand, can imitate his uncle, Livan Hernandez, who said this after the Marlins won game seven of the World Series in 1997.

“I love you, Miami,” Livan said.

“Everyone knows it. It’s one my favorite quotes ever by him,” Orlando said. “‘I love you, Miami.’ Like that. He’s got that nice little thick Cuban accent to say it with, and it was just perfect.”

Orlando will likely start in the bullpen this season, and Dante will be FIU’s starting second baseman.

The Panthers start the season at home Feb. 17 with a weekend series against George Mason University.

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