Mother’s Day 2015 was a beautiful day for baseball in the Bronx. The temperature was in the low-80s and the sun was shining as just under 40,000 fans filed into Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees had started the season off hot, but recent injuries to ace pitchers CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka left the team worried. Facing them were the reigning AL East champs, the Baltimore Orioles. As the Yankees looked to maintain their early-season success, they turned to the young Micheal Pineda.
Pineda would have the game of his career as he struck out 16 O’s in a dominant 6-2 win for the Yankees. Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann homered and the Yankees would improve to 20-12 to start the season. Meanwhile, Pineda became the face of optimism for the Yankees. He improved to 5-0 and looked like a young potential ace.
That season would eventually end with the Yankees missing the playoffs and Pineda would only last a few more uneventful years in New York. However, that sunny May day will always hold a special place in my heart.
May 10, 2015
Having grown up in South-Central PA, any trip to the Bronx was a big deal. However, instead of going to the Stadium, my family was a few miles away preparing to say goodbye to my grandmother.
While my family crowded around my grandmother we put the game on the small hospital television. That day, which I had dreaded for so long, turned into a memory that will stay with me forever.
As Pineda struck out batter after batter, my grandmother told stories from her childhood. As Beltran and McCann were hitting their homers, my grandmother was asking about my college courses and my girlfriend. And just like the fans at the Stadium, the day was filled with highlight after highlight.
May 10, 2015, Mother’s Day, would be the last time I saw my grandmother. A few days later she would be laid to rest at Gate of Heaven Cemetary; the same resting place of Babe Ruth and Billy Martin.
Baseball, Family and Mothers
My story is both unique to me and common to many others. Baseball has a way of bringing families together, through the good and the bad, on and off the field. Anytime a pitcher is on the verge of a perfect game, my dad and brother quickly get on the phone to watch the final outs. Anytime I’m home visiting my parents, my mom is always quick to ask who is pitching and scheduling the day’s activities around the game.
So often, it is our parents who get us into baseball. Growing up, my mom, like many moms, was responsible for getting equipment, shuttling me to and from games and playing catch in the backyard. My mom would throw me line drives and flyballs and reward me with a penny for each clean catch while any errors would result in a deduction.
After exciting games, my mom would ask for recaps while celebrating the wins. After tough losses or a bad day in the field, mom would try to cheer me up or offer tips to improve. And I know I’m not the only one that had these stories.
Watch any game today and you will see a flood of pink bats, pink batting gloves, pink cleats and more, as the stars of today honor their moms.
Mother’s Day 2021
Who knows what we will see later today. Maybe Domingo German will replicate Pineda’s gem or maybe we will be blessed to see a moonshot from Judge or Stanton. Whether you’re watching in the Stadium or your living room, enjoy the game, make wonderful memories and tell the moms in your life that you love them.