Happy Mother’s Day!
In recent years, sports journalism has done an excellent job finding great stories about mothers of athletes. Mom is the backbone of our formative years as an athlete; taking us to practice and games; cheering from the stands; feeding our hearts, our hopes and our dreams.
I woke up today thinking of my mom (more on that later). As I considered all the possible emotions and feelings that come on a such a special day — joy, sorrow, laughter, tears — I thought of Stephen Piscotty. One week ago today Piscotty’s mother, Gretchen, died from Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is currently on the team’s bereavement list.
MOTHER’S DAY STORIES
Kolten Wong: When baseball fans hear Wong’s name, the mind flashes back to Game 4 of the 2013 World Series. Pinch-running in the ninth inning with the Cards down two runs, Wong gets picked off. Unfortunately, athletes get their identity through their performance (see Bill Buckner, Joe Carter or Don Larsen).
On Mother’s Day 2018 Wong takes us beyond the baseball field to share his mom’s life story. That story is centered on Wong’s mother, Keala, who lost her battle with cancer after the 2013 season.
Wong says his mothers death has “rocked him.”
“She told me to continue to play my game — ‘Don’t worry about the pickoff. Go out and have fun. She was basically telling me what I need to do for the rest of my life, in a few words. Going through that, and losing her at that time, it rocked me … If there is anybody out there in similar situations, know things get easier. They don’t get better. They get easier. Eventually, you find a purpose.” — Kolten Wong
Aaron Boone: One of the more intriguing stories this Mother’s Day is Sue Boone’s story. She is a true baseball mom. Mrs. Boone married a baseball player and later had three sons, two who became major league ballplayers (Aaron and Bret), and she is all-in as a baseball mom. She has been to thousands of games, from T-Ball to Little League and the World Series. Aaron Boone, now the New York Yankees manager, said:
“She’s been everything. She’s been our biggest cheerleader. She watched all our games on satellite TV, following my little brother in the minor leagues online. She’s just been the ultimate baseball mom. She’s seen it all. One day last week . . . mind you, this is the wife of a longtime player, manager, mother of players, she said, ‘I’ve never hung on every pitch like I have in your games right now.’ I think it’s been pretty neat for her to follow it so intensely. The fact that we’re winning I’m sure makes it fun for her right now. She’s been super-mom to us.” — Aaron Boone
Yasiel Puig: We’ve heard the inspiring, emotional Mother’s Day story, the uplifting Mother’s Day story and then there’s this: Yasiel Puig’s mom said all she wants for Mother’s Day is — are you ready? — and elephant. OK.
“I think I am going to buy an elephant for my house. The real elephant. … I have never asked her why. I am going to ask her now, why she likes elephants so much.” — Maritza Valdes (Yasiel Puig’s mother)