Celebrating Mom: Players share their stories

May 9th, 2021

From bringing the Little League snacks to shuttling the kids all around the state or even the country for travel ball, mothers have done so much to help make possible the realization of the Major League dream for players around baseball today. And that's not to mention all of the love and sacrifices those mothers have made for their children outside of baseball. So, naturally, Mother's Day is very special to MLB players, and with the help of all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a special Mother's Day story from each club:

American League East

Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki on his mother, Jackie

When Blue Jays reliever Ryan Borucki was growing up, he remembers that his mother, Jackie, was all about good grades and keeping him accountable in school while his father, Ray, a former Minor League infielder with the Phillies and Tigers, was all about the sports. Jackie was just as involved when it came to Borucki’s athletic career, though, especially as his father worked nights.

“She was definitely the backbone,” Borucki said. “She really was the person who did all of the dirty work for everyone in my family and she didn’t get as much credit as she deserved, but me, my brother and my sister are always really so thankful for her.”

When Borucki made his Major League debut back in 2018, his parents and members of his family were in the stands in Houston. They made plenty of trips over the rest of that season and will again, but if Borucki ever finds himself working through a tight inning working around runners in scoring position, he’ll often get a call or text from his mother. He can’t keep doing that, she’ll say, because his father is getting too nervous watching. 

“She’s the calming influence, because my dad gets so nervous,” Borucki said with a laugh. “After every game, she always texts me, ‘Good job’ or ‘I love you’, and that means a lot. I have such supportive parents.” -- Keegan Matheson

Orioles: Shawn Armstrong on his mother, Teresa

For Orioles reliever Shawn Armstrong, Mother’s Day came to Oriole Park this year. Armstrong’s mother, Teresa, has been in the stands to watch her son pitch in person throughout the Orioles’ weekend series against the Red Sox. Fitting given how much Armstrong credits her for helping shaping his career.

“Where do you start?” Armstrong said. “Without my mom, I don't think I’d be in sports the way I am today. She gave up everything when I was a kid to get me to practices, to get me from basketball to Tee-ball to soccer to football, playing four sports all the way up to high school. She was my taxi driver. She actually took me everywhere. She was my support system. She was the ultimate multi-sport mom, not just a soccer mom.”

These days, Teresa and Shawn speak by phone in the mornings after games, rehashing outings both good and bad and to talk about life. Armstrong called her “a reality check and a counselor at the same time,” someone who “brings me back down to earth on my highs and also picks me back up from my lows.” Teresa sometimes worked two jobs while Shawn was growing up, in part so her son could follow his baseball dreams. Now that they’ve become reality for Armstrong, the prevailing emotion is gratitude.

“She loves the game of baseball and everything that it has brought me in my life,” Armstrong said. “Without her, I definitely wouldn't be the man I am today.” -- Joe Trezza

Rays: Tyler Glasnow on his mother, Donna

After each of his starts, Tyler Glasnow will get a text from his mother, Donna. She always checks in after his good outings, he said, and even if he struggles, her messages are encouraging. And Donna added some motherly advice after Glasnow dominated the A’s on April 28 at Tropicana Field, not about his pitching but regarding his reaction to a Kevin Kiermaier defensive gem in center field: “You’ve got to stop cussing on TV. Like, cover your mouth or something.”

“I don’t think I’ll be able to remember my mom’s advice while I’m pitching, but we’ll see,” Glasnow said recently, laughing. “Maybe I will.”

Unsurprisingly, Donna has been a central figure in her son’s athletic career. She’s quite the athlete herself -- a gymnast at Cal State Fullerton who then coached Cal State Northridge to a Division II national championship in 1982. Glasnow credited her and his father, Greg, for setting an excellent example for him and his brother, Ted.

“My mom has always been a really hard worker. She still goes to the gym like a crazy person,” Glasnow said. “I saw that growing up and just followed in her footsteps and my father’s.”

Donna encouraged both of her sons to play sports growing up and supported both of their athletic endeavors. While working a full-time job, she would still find time to shuttle Tyler and Ted to their tournaments and fly around the country so they could play.

“She and my father did crazy amounts of stuff, but she especially was very supportive and all of her free time was basically dedicated to us,” Glasnow said.

His parents are still as supportive as ever. The Rays ace said Donna watches not just all of his starts, but all of Tampa Bay’s games. She even made a guest appearance on The Chris Rose Rotation podcast, which Glasnow co-hosts with the former MLB Network personality. And, of course, he knows he’ll hear from her every time he walks off the mound.

“She’ll always send me a text, good or bad -- just something. Good ones, it’s like a nice message. Even if it’s bad, it’s usually something positive,” Glasnow said. “She’s always there, following along.” -- Adam Berry

Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora on his mother, Iris Amaro

Alex Cora doesn’t have to ask his mother Iris what she will be doing on Mother’s Day. He already knows. Iris spends just about every day of baseball season watching the Red Sox and Pirates play on television from her home in Puerto Rico. Alex's brother Joey is the third-base coach for the Pirates.

“She makes sure she gets her MLB package,” said Alex Cora. “And it’s not to watch all the games. She wants to watch the Pirates and the Red Sox. That's it. She could care less about anybody else. She’s just pulling for her kids and she wants us to do well and this is what we like to do and we have a passion about it and she backs us. She's always there for us.”

When Alex was 13, his father José Manuel Cora died of colon cancer. At that point, the influence of his mother and two sisters became bigger than ever and had a lasting impact on his life.

“It was actually the women of the house, my two sisters and my mom, just taking me everywhere until I took off for college,” said Alex. “She impacted all of us, my mother did. But for the three of them to take charge [of me], they had to do it. Somebody has to take me to the ballpark, somebody had to teach me what I needed to do to keep going and fulfill my dream, and obviously I had my brother, you know, watching from afar. But for them to be present and do what they did, it was amazing.” -- Ian Browne

Yankees: Aaron Boone on his mom, Sue

After almost every Yankees game -- especially the wins -- Aaron Boone retrieves a cell phone from his office desk and finds a text message from his mother, usually including a bitmoji cartoon with balloons, fireworks or an interlocking ‘NY.’

All these years later, Sue Boone is still her son’s biggest fan.

“She’s so invested,” Boone said. “She’s watching our games every night on the edge of her seat, living and dying on every pitch with us. I’m just fortunate to have a mom that is so involved in our lives and has so much love for her boys.”

While Boone’s father Bob was spending 19 summers as a big league backstop (watching games on TV, a young Aaron would frequently rearrange couches to look like dugouts), Sue Boone shuttled between assorted fields in Southern California, trying to catch as many innings of the games involving brothers Aaron, Bret and Matthew.

“With three boys, I remember when I was in high school, my mom would be doing a dozen games a week,” Boone said. “She’d be up at USC watching Bret, my games in high school, my little brother in junior high school. When Bret was in the big leagues, we bought a giant satellite dish to watch, then come see me play baseball, football or basketball.

“I was blessed with an awesome, supportive, amazing mom. In her eyes, I can’t do much wrong.” – Bryan Hoch

AL Central

Indians: Daisy Sandlin on her son, Nick, getting called up to the big leagues

This Mother’s Day will be unlike any other for Daisy Sandlin, who will be able to watch her son, Nick, competing against the Reds on television.

“I think every parent, their dream is to see their kids’ dreams come true,” Daisy said. “That was his dream and that was my dream to see his come true. So when that happens, it’s like OK everything is perfect in the universe.”

It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey for the Indians' No. 30 prospect Nick Sandlin. He went from middle infielder to pitcher in high school and in his junior year decided to take it one step further by becoming a sidearm hurler. He went on to pitch at Southern Miss (a lovely eight-hour drive from their home in Augusta, Ga.) where his mom and his dad never missed a game.

But there won’t be many moments that can top what the Sandlin family experienced last weekend. After an incredible first season in the Minors in 2018, surgery on his forearm in 2019 and no Minor League season in 2020, he finally made his debut on May 1 against the White Sox. With his parents in the stands, Sandlin tossed an inning with one strikeout, and he gave his mom four game balls and will be shipping her the lineup card that was signed by the team to remember the moment.

“I’m just so glad they got to make it [to Chicago] and see me throw,” Sandlin said. “As a reliever, you don’t know when the debut is really going to be compared to other position players and pitchers. So I’m just glad I got in there while they were in town.”

And now, Daisy will be able to spend her Mother’s Day with her son’s big league team on the television screen, as they play in the series finale against the Reds at Progressive Field.

“Every little boy’s dream is to play Major League Baseball, and he never gave up on it,” Daisy said. So, seeing it happen, it was amazing.” -- Mandy Bell

Royals: Nicky Lopez on his mom, Angela

To this day, Royals shortstop Nicky Lopez can’t think of a better favorite memory of his mom than when he was called up to the Major Leagues for the first time in 2019. Lopez was in Triple-A Omaha, where he played the infield almost every day. During Mother’s Day weekend that year, he had Saturday off, then played Sunday decked out with pink batting gloves, a sleeve and a pink bat. But come Monday, he was sitting again. That was strange for him.

“I was confused,” Lopez said. “Did I do something wrong? What was the issue? I went into [manager Brian] Poldberg’s office, and was like, ‘What’s going on?’ And he made up a story that it was because I used a pink bat and didn’t get a hit with a pink bat. He thought I was going through the motions, wasn’t focused on the game. Stuff like that. So I was like, ‘What?’ I’ve done this every single year since rookie ball. I was very confused. I sat that day, and he didn’t tell me until after the game, so I had to sit through nine innings wondering why I was in the doghouse.

“After the game, he called me over and told me to come to his office and bring my phone. And when I did, he said, ‘Call you mom.’ I was like, ‘OK?’

“When I did, he grabbed the phone and said, ‘Hey Mrs. Lopez, I told your son he wasn’t playing because he had a pink bat, but the real reason was because he’s going to Kansas City.’ And that’s when my mom started crying on the phone, and I was just like, ‘Wow.’ It’s a great story.”

For Lopez to share that moment with his mom was special. He’s close with his dad, too, and they talk about baseball all the time. But when Lopez needs some positivity, he goes to Angela, who’s always there with some perspective.

“Always looks at the big picture,” Lopez said. “She keeps my spirits up, even when this game brings the highs and the lows. I go to her for the positive jumps and stuff like that. She’s always there in my corner, holding my head high and someone I can go to who will always make me feel better.”

Lopez is hopeful he’ll be donning some pink attire at some point this weekend as the Royals finish their series against the White Sox. He’s been honoring his mom during Mother’s Day weekend that way since rookie ball -- in Double-A, he even hit a home run with a pink bat.

“That was cool,” Lopez said. “Pink is a good color.” -- Anne Rogers

Tigers: Alex Lange thankful for his adoptive mother, Renee

The bond between Tigers reliever Alex Lange and his adoptive mother, Renee, has been strengthened through tough times. Renee and her then-husband adopted Alex shortly after birth. His biological mother told her he had baseball talent in his genes, including an uncle who was a Minor League player, and to foster it if he showed an interest. After Renee and her husband divorced, she raised Alex as a single mother, driving him to youth games and travel tournaments while working as a teacher in their native Missouri and paying for camps.

“You don't really realize it as a kid. You just kinda think that's the way it is,” Alex said. “But being a young adult now, it's like, ‘Wow that's pretty incredible.’ As you grow up and you look back, you really feel very fortunate and you understand the sacrifice that she made. There's nothing really I can say to put it into words. I was just blessed and fortunate. She gave me every opportunity.”

Renee proudly watched her son not only become a standout pitcher at LSU, but an honors student, which helped him embrace advanced metrics and further his game. A Cubs first-round pick in the 2017 Draft, Alex found a lift to his career after joining the Tigers as part of the Nick Castellanos trade two years ago.

When the Tigers called up Lange from the taxi squad to join their bullpen last month while in Cleveland, Renee Lange caught a flight from Kansas City the next morning and was in the stands at Progressive Field to watch him pitch that evening.

“It was a pretty special moment being able to walk out to the bullpen and see her out there,” he said. “Being in the big leagues has been a dream for both of us.”

Since his story became well-known in Spring Training, Alex Lange said he has gotten messages of support from teammates, including one who’s an adoptive father.

“It's incredible, people who are able to do that,” he said. “Hopefully I'll be able to do that one day, to give back.” -- Jason Beck

Twins: Michael Pineda on his mom, Daisy

Like many teenagers signed to their first professional contracts out of the Dominican Republic, Pineda had to move to the capital of Santo Domingo to play for the first two years of his developmental career -- a two-hour drive from his hometown of Yaguate. Every time Pineda would pitch, his mom, Daisy, would make the drive to watch her oldest son in uniform.

But when Pineda made the transition to the United States, Daisy couldn’t follow -- she had a family to look after in the Dominican Republic, after all. Pineda wasn’t great at English, and as an 18-year-old far from home, he’d call his mom every day.

"We talked about everything," Pineda said. “We're talking about how difficult it was in my first couple of years in America when I didn't know how to speak English. And then the food and everything."

Oh yes, the food. It only takes a brief glance at Pineda -- all six feet, seven inches and 280 pounds of him -- for you to understand that the man really likes good food. He learned how to cook for himself as an 18-year-old on the phone with his mom, who would describe her recipes and techniques to him over the phone every night as he pursued his baseball career in the States.

It started with the classics -- rice, beans and chicken -- but he’s now a good, confident cook of his own accord, happily preparing American and Dominican plates for himself. And when he goes home for the offseasons, the food tradition continues as Pineda’s mom helps him grow vegetables, plantains and papaya on the ranch he owns and maintains -- before they go to the beach and cook and shop together, of course. -- Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: Lucas Giolito and his mom, Lindsay Frost

The White Sox ace has a mom who supports him through all his endeavors, even helping him with baseball drills at times when he was younger and his father, Rick, was working.

“She would put balls on tees and things like that,” Golito said.

But there is one slight difference in Giolito’s mom vs. the other devoted Little League mothers: She has her own IMDB page with 49 acting credits running from 1983-2014 and has since become an acclaimed artist. Some of her sports paintings have been featured in galleries at Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium and the Staples Center in California and can be viewed at lindsayfrost-art.com.

Frost’s portrait of José Abreu, gifted to the White Sox first baseman, was prominently displayed over Abreu’s right shoulder when he was announced as the 2020 AL MVP last November. It could be seen during much of Abreu’s emotional celebration on MLB Network.

“That pumped me up,” Giolito said. “That was really special.”

“It was so moving. And we just love him so much,” Frost said of the Abreu painting. “Rick stopped and he took a picture of the screen on the TV, and then somebody had tweeted it and it was so sweet. [Abreu] is such a lovely human being.”

Lucas laughs when talking about the artistic and the acting talent running strong throughout his family, and how he didn’t get any of it. But he certainly has a creative side, as witnessed by anyone who has interviewed him or talked with him previously and has deeply-rooted values instilled in him by his family.

“He's very committed not just to the game, not just to this team, but the business as a whole and his place in it,” Lindsay said. “And, you know, doing the right thing, supporting people, and being a good role model, all of those things. He's got a good heart, and he always has.”

“My mom was always, always, always so supportive,” Giolito said. “For her, like her main thing, she just wanted to see me be happy and be fulfilled and having fun.” -- Scott Merkin

AL West

Angels: Andrew Heaney on his mom, Chris

For Angels lefty Andrew Heaney to draw an interest in the game of baseball, he didn’t have to go far. His mother, Chris, grew up going to baseball games with her grandparents. So, naturally, she encouraged Andrew to have an interest in the game and play when he was young. 

With eight big league years under his belt, it might be safe to say that her encouragement for Andrew to enjoy the game she grew up watching has worked out. The Angels lefty said his mom supported him in pursuing the sport.

“For me, my mom was instrumental in me playing baseball,” he said. “She grew up actually going to games with her grandparents. She loves the game, loves the sport. She encouraged me to play baseball and was taking me to all my games and doing everything she could to give me that opportunity.” 

A season ago, Heaney celebrated Mother’s Day at home during the delayed season. This year when he’s at Angel Stadium for an Angels home game, he’ll celebrate mothers everywhere and, just like everyday, he’ll honor his mom as well.

“You know, I'm always very grateful for her and everything she's done for me,” he said. “However, it's a great day to celebrate her and celebrate all the moms.” -- Daniel Guerrero

Astros: Manager Dusty Baker on his mother Christine, who recently turned 90 years old

The lessons Christine Baker taught a young Johnnie B. Baker Jr. growing up in Riverside, Calif., still stick with the man now known as Dusty -- one of the most successful managers in Major League history. The Astros skipper hopes to be able wear pink arm bands on Mother’s Day as he has done in recent seasons as a tribute to the woman who helped mold him.

“In our household, my dad was mostly in charge of molding us to be a man, mostly through example,” Baker said. “My mom was in charge of the love and education department. My mom also taught me how to be a man because she made us cook, especially me being the oldest.”

Christine Baker recently turned 90 years old and lives in an assisted living community in northern California. In the offseason, Baker makes it a point to bring meals to his mother and makes sure he speaks to her a couple of times a week while the Astros season is underway.

In addition to cooking, Baker’s mom taught him to sew and made sure he learned Spanish, a skill that serves him well. She ran an etiquette school and made sure Dusty would hold open doors for her. He learned how to set a table. She made him take piano classes, as well as algebra and geometry. And she made sure Dusty would grow up to be self-sustaining.

“I remember one time in the third grade, my mother threatened me if I didn’t make up my bed,” he said. “She said she was going to come to school and get me out of class and embarrass me. I didn’t make my bed. I didn’t think my mom was going to do that. Then she shows up and all my buddies are laughing at me. To this day, I never leave without making up a bed.” -- Brian McTaggart

Athletics: Ramón Laureano on his mother, Nina

A’s center fielder Ramón Laureano’s intense focus can lead to him missing out on celebrating the big moments in his career. Whether it’s a walk-off hit or one of his many highlight-reel defensive plays in the outfield, Laureano will often brush those accomplishments off and quickly move on to the next play or game. Luckily, his mother, Nina, is always around to remind him to enjoy these things a little more.

Whether she’s in town on one of her many visits throughout the season to watch her son play at the Oakland Coliseum or back home in the Dominican Republic, Laureano remains in daily close contact with his mother through all hours of the day.

“I talk to her during the whole day,” Laureano said. “She shows me how to be appreciative of the little moments. Just be happy, because I try to stay in the moment and never reflect on the things that I do. Being grateful about the little things I do, which is still a work in progress. But that’s what she’s always taught me.”

Appreciating what he does on the field a little more might still take some time, but Laureano has no issues showing his appreciation for his mother. She and his father, Ramón Sr., allowed him to leave the Dominican Republic at the age of 15 for Long Island, N.Y., where he attended Upper Room Christian High School to play baseball on a scholarship through MLB’s RBI program. It wasn’t an easy decision for her -- especially given the fact that Laureano is an only child -- but she understood that baseball was her son’s passion and playing in the Majors was a goal he wanted to pursue.

Now, as Laureano emerges as a star in the league, he remains thankful every day for the role his mother played in helping him reach this level.

“She sacrificed,” Laureano said. “I was 15 years old and she let me be. She trusted me, while at the same time talking to me all the time from home. She allowed me to follow my dream.” -- Martín Gallegos

Mariners: Evan White on his mother, Erin

When White opens up about his family, it’s emotional, raw and from the heart. For Seattle’s fiercely loyal and humble first baseman, those closest to him come first, and that’s especially true for his mother, Erin, who has been there for just about every step of his path to the big leagues. The moment that sticks out most to White along the way was taking BP from Erin when he was eight years old -- and Erin was eight months pregnant with his younger sister.

That path culminated with his debut in 2020. Unfortunately, due to health and safety protocols, the Whites were unable to be in Houston for that moment. But they shared an emotional tribute that day:

The Whites celebrated Mother’s Day earlier than anticipated this year, when they congregated during the final week of April to mourn the passing of White’s grandfather, who played in the Reds organization way back when. This year’s gathering was a celebration of life and a gratitude for being in each other’s company again. Last year, in addition to the pandemic limiting in-person gatherings, Erin was progressing through her third week of chemotherapy treatment for endometrial cancer. She’s now in remission.

That’s a significant reason why Mother’s Day in 2021 carried much more weight for the Whites than ever before.

“Without doubt,” White said. “Mother’s Day, it’s something we've always celebrated growing up, obviously. We’ve known from the very beginning that we've had such a great mom that loves us and supports us and everything that we do. When she got diagnosed with cancer a year or two ago now, the thought of actually losing her really, really hit us hard.

“You obviously feel bad for everyone who has to deal with cancer, but when you get that calling, you hear your mom crying and telling you, it definitely hits you pretty hard. So to kind of remember those things, remembering all the things that she had to go through tonight to get back to health, it definitely sticks with us. We're very thankful she was able to do that.” -- Daniel Kramer

Rangers: David Dahl on his wife, Jacquelyn

When talking to Rangers left fielder David Dahl, he makes a few things very clear: “I love my wife, I love my daughter and I love my dog.” 

Jacquelyn Dahl is the founder and CEO of 1UP Sports Marketing where she represents athletes like NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. She’s just as much at the center of the sports world just as much as David is. She’s also a new mom, giving birth to the couple’s daughter Parker in January. 

“I think it's awesome what she does like being the CEO,” Dahl said. “She has her own company. With how hard she works and what she does, she makes me want to work hard too. She's never slacking and so I never want to slack too. She’s good at what she does. She’s very proud.” 

Both Jacquelyn and David agree that coming to Texas, where David signed this past winter after being non-tendered by the Rockies, was the natural next step in their lives and relationship with Jacquelyn’s family living just down the highway in Houston.

Jacquelyn jokes that Parker has already been to her first business meetings, especially with the pandemic allowing her to work from home more often than she would typically. With David off on road trips most of the spring and summer, she has Parker with her for meetings and all of David’s games. She emphasized that she’s become a pretty good multitasker over the last few months. 

“[Parker is] amazing,” Jacquelyn said. “She sleeps through the night, so I think that's like all that I can ask for with my schedule. It's amazing. It's a game changer for sure, but it's the best game changer in the world.”

And she echoes David: “I love my husband, I love my daughter, I love my dog.” -- Kennedi Landry

National League East

Braves: Josh Tomlin on his mother, Elana

“My mom is one of, if not the main reason, I am in the position I am today. She has always supported my dreams and done whatever was necessary for me to live out my dream. She taught me accountability and showed me through actions what work ethic looks like and what love looks like. She has always been selfless and loved unconditionally.

“I love you momma and hope you have the best Mother’s Day yet.” -- Mark Bowman

Marlins: Richard Bleier on his mother, Kathleen

Both of Marlins reliever Richard Bleier's parents have been involved throughout his baseball career, though his mother Kathleen lays claim to teaching him how to play the game.

"Her parents lived in Pennsylvania, kind of like on a mountain, so every summer we would go up there for our summer vacation and spend time with my grandparents," Bleier said. "They had a big field -- just like a hay field or whatever that was mowed -- and we would always play out there. My mom would pitch to me, and so she always tries to take credit for teaching me how to play baseball."

It has been a while since Bleier has thrown with his mother. Kathleen was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, and she underwent a double mastectomy. There have been reoccurrences over the years, which have been treated with chemotherapy and radiation.

Bleier's parents had the opportunity to watch him play in person during the first four seasons of his MLB career as a member of the Yankees and Orioles. Then the COVID-19 pandemic altered the global landscape, with no one allowed in the stands in 2020. As fate would have it, the Marlins acquired the southpaw via trade. Bleier grew up in South Florida, so representing the hometown team means his family can be in attendance for games more often in ‘21 -- just like in his childhood.

"I think I played three years of Tee-ball because I started so young," Bleier said. "It was always just something that I really enjoyed doing, and my dad is a huge baseball fan. So it worked out for him, and my mom was always very supportive. They would bring me to everything or anything I wanted to do. I had very supportive parents through my baseball career -- my mom, especially." -- Christina De Nicola

Mets: James McCann on his mother, Carla

Mets catcher James McCann, who joined the organization on a four-year deal this past offseason, will always be grateful for his mother, Carla. Early in Carla’s pregnancy, doctors gave the fetus a 1-in-4 chance of surviving due to a medical complication. Both mother and newborn came through the ordeal just fine, and Carla quickly became the bedrock upon which James developed into a Major League Baseball player.

“She was the taxi to and from practice and to and from school,” McCann said. “She was the one that if I wanted to go to the batting cages, she drove me to the batting cages. She knew what my dream was and she did everything in her power to help me accomplish my dream.” -- Anthony DiComo

Nationals: Max Scherzer on his wife, Erica

When Max Scherzer was named the Nationals’ Opening Day starter this season, his wife, Erica, went into planning mode. She was pregnant with their third child, and needing to schedule a C-section for the following month. Erica urged Max to connect with manager Dave Martinez to look ahead at the Nats’ schedule to see when he would be pitching in early May. If they made the appointment for the day of a start, they could maximize the following days off for him to spend with the family.

They decided on 5:30 p.m. ET on May 2 -- four-and-a-half hours after Max would take the mound for first pitch against the Marlins. Max went into the afternoon knowing he had somewhere important to be that evening, and he made sure he left Nats Park with plenty of time. The right-hander dominated with a one-run complete game in a mere two hours and 37 minutes.

“It was pretty crazy,” Max said. “I kind of like it that way. Erica did, too. She likes it like that. She didn’t mind going to the hospital while everything was going on. It was even better to come back with a win.”

Erica gave birth to Derek Alexander Scherzer, the couple's first son, at 5:38 p.m.

“She’s the rock of the household,” Max said of Erica. “She keeps everything together. She knows everything that’s going on, really knows the game. Obviously, she’s been my better half. She’s been with me through the thick and the thin going through my whole career.

“She’s been a trouper with all the things that we’ve had to deal with and all the sacrifices that I have to make to be able to do this job. She makes them every single time, there’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. That’s why I’m lucky to have her for what she’s able to do, and Sunday’s just another example of that.” -- Jessica Camerato

Phillies: Andrew Knapp on his mom, Julie

Andrew’s father Mike caught 11 years in the Minor Leagues. A couple general managers told him that if he hit left-handed he would have made the big leagues. Tired of hearing it, Andrew’s mother told young Andrew that he should try to hit left-handed. He did. He ultimately became a switch hitter.

“She pretty much planted that seed,” Andrew said. “I was still pretty little. We just had a tee for Tee-ball. She said, hey, try going this way. Because I was naturally right-handed. But she pretty much drove me to every sporting event ever. Growing up, I did baseball, football, soccer, with swim practice in the summer. She was basically a shuttle service for me and my brother. Besides the support and stuff, that switch-hitting thing was kind of big. I don’t think I would have had the success I’ve had without being a switch-hitter, for sure.

“I’m super appreciative of her. It’s one of those things where you don’t really understand how much effort it takes when you’re a kid. But then looking back, going to tournaments all over, weekends, driving all over the place, you can’t thank her enough for it. -- Todd Zolecki

NL Central

Brewers: Freddy Peralta and his mom, Octavia Diaz

The family that cries together, thrives together.

Freddy Peralta has never been afraid to show emotion around his mom, Octavia Diaz, and there were plenty of tears of joy three years ago on Mother’s Day when the whole family got to see Peralta pitch professionally for the first time. They’d traveled from the Dominican Republic to Colorado Springs, then home of the Brewers’ Triple-A team, only to be in the right place at the right time for an emergency call-up to the Major Leagues to start against the Rockies just up Interstate 25 in Denver.

Wearing pink accents as part of MLB’s Mother’s Day celebration, Peralta turned in one of the most memorable debuts ever, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and setting a Brewers rookie record with 13 strikeouts in a 7-3 win. First baseman Jesús Aguilar, who knew Peralta’s mom was in the stands, was so emotional he said he felt like crying right there on the mound when Peralta departed the game with his trademark smile on his face.

Afterward, the family was let down onto the field and Peralta gave his mother the game ball.

“I was thinking about that the other day and I said, 'Oh my god, this is the third [Mother's Day since then],'” Peralta said. “I feel like that was last year. That is a day that I'm never going to forget about. It's great. You know what? I would like to pitch on Mother's Day again and see what happens.”

Do they still talk about that day?

“Always,’ Peralta said. “She's so proud. Still, like, if we talk about that moment, you can tell that she’s probably going to cry or something. That's my mom.

“My mommy is like, she tried to always make me and my brothers respect other people, and don't make people feel bad. … That's what I try to teach other persons, too, because she taught me that when I was growing up. Respect means a ton to me, man. That is the one best thing that I can say is something that I have in mind just for her.”

He came this close to his dream of another Mother’s Day start, but is lined up to pitch on Tuesday against the Cardinals instead. -- Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright on his wife, Jenny

No fiber in Adam Wainwright’s being needed a reminder how strong a woman his wife, Jenny, is. She’s been central in allowing the 39-year-old to live out his childhood dream, now 16 years and five kids after his debut in 2005.

Wainwright needed no reminder. But he got one anyway.

Absent from the team last weekend and the week prior, Wainwright had to head home to tend to his family -- the entirety of which came down with COVID-19. Staying away from the team and isolating in a hotel, Wainwright soon received a text from Jenny that she needed his help at home. Vaccinated, Wainwright headed home with zero doubt that’s where he needed to be.

“When my wife says that, she's a tough lady -- she's a really tough, really tough girl,” Wainwright said recently, “and so when she said that, I knew I had to go home.”

With Jenny recovering -- she came down with a bad case of the virus while all five kids “barely felt the thing” -- Wainwright put baseball on pause and set aside the time to take care of the family. It was when he was folding that seventh load of laundry at night, when the kids would then walk into the room and tell their dad they were hungry, that Wainwright received the reminder he knew he didn’t need.

“She's just an incredible woman, she's an incredible person, incredible wife, incredible mom,” Wainwright said. “You don't really realize how much they do until you got to fill that void. Gosh, what a blessing she is to me.” -- Zach Silver

Cubs: Beth Mowins, Marquee Sports Network announcer, on her late mom, Kate

Beth Mowins will step into the television booth at Wrigley Field this weekend, becoming the first woman in the team’s long, storied history to serve as the play-by-play voice for a regular-season game. 

“I'm positive there will be goosebumps sitting down in that chair at Wrigley Field,” Mowins said. “And knowing a lot of the folks that have sat there before me. It's going to be pretty wild.”

Mowins will also have her late mom, Kate, on her mind.

“I'm sure she'll be there with me this weekend,” Mowins said. “And hopefully she'll bring a little sunshine with her.”

At a young age in Syracuse, N.Y., Mowins had a dream of being a broadcaster. She grew up with three brothers in a sports-filled home. They would wear out the grass in the yard playing kickball, play Wiffle ball in the street and have “knock down, drag out” basketball games in the driveway. Mowins’ dad was a high school coach and teacher, and her mom grew up on Montreal sports.

Mowins said she would often call play-by-play while playing sports with her brothers and friends. But those broadcasting dreams became a little more real when she saw Phyllis George working as a sportscaster for The NFL Today show in the mid-1970s.

“That kind of lit the spark,” Mowins said. “I just turned to my mom one day and said, 'Hey, can I do that?' And of course, my mom, in all of her greatness, said, 'Yes, you can.' … I give her a lot of credit for allowing me to be bold and ambitious, and just being super supportive and encouraging me in all my endeavors.” -- Jordan Bastian

Pirates: Kevin Newman, on his wife, Shayne, and his mother, Elizabeth

Kevin Newman’s wife, Shayne, became a first-time mother this January, when she gave birth to their daughter, Addison. It’s been a rollercoaster start to being a mother. Spring Training started less than a month after Addison’s birth, and Kevin appreciates all the care Shayne has given their daughter when he’s had to be away.

“It’s crazy in this lifestyle, just being a mom, especially for the first time,” Kevin said. “You’ve got to be a supermom. Because we’re on the road and especially right now in COVID, where they can’t even travel and stay with us and all this stuff, it’s pretty insane. It’s an appreciation level I can’t even put into words.”

Shayne and Addison live in Pittsburgh, so they’ve been able to share some mother-daughter visits to PNC Park for home games. And though Kevin has had to miss some of Addison’s firsts growing up, he said when he’s on the road, Shayne has been able to keep him involved with their newborn through Facetime.

“I get to see them through that all the time,” Kevin said. “Just hearing the things that Shayne will tell me Addie’s doing is awesome. It’s a bummer to miss, and I wish I was there, but obviously, you can’t be.”

While he was on the road this past week, Kevin got to visit his mom, Elizabeth, and celebrate Mother’s Day early in his home town of San Diego. Now that he’s going through fatherhood for the first time, he said he understands even more what she went through to raise him right.

“It’s pretty surreal now, having your own daughter and appreciating it at a different level -- being a mom,” Kevin said. “So I’m forever grateful and love her so much.” -- Jake Crouse

Reds: Catcher Tyler Stephenson on his mother, Rhonda

The Reds’ rookie catcher, Tyler Stephenson, grew up in Kennesaw, Ga., not far from Atlanta. Stephenson always appreciated the effort his mother made to make sure he could play baseball and for the unwavering support she gave him.

“Obviously my childhood was filled with baseball. I can’t thank her enough for the sacrifices she made for me to be in the position I am in today,” Stephenson said. “She took me to tournaments and traveled all over. One thing that’s always stuck with me, and she told it to me at an early age, she said ‘I don’t care what you do with your life, be the best at it. I don’t care if you work at McDonald’s. If you work there, you have to be the best burger flipper there ever was.’ I challenged myself every day to be the best version of myself.” -- Mark Sheldon

NL West

D-Backs: Tim Locastro hopes to give his mom another gift

When he set the Major League record for most successful stolen bases to open a career on April 10, D-backs outfielder Tim Locastro presented his mom, Colleen, with the base while his spikes went to the Hall of Fame.

A New York native, Locastro is excited to have his mom coming to Citi Field to see the D-backs-Mets matchup this weekend and he would like to be able to give her another gift -- the pink bat he plans on swinging for Mother’s Day.

Of course, he has to do some work first.

"She's going to be in New York on Sunday, which is really cool," Locastro said. "So maybe I'll be able to give her a bat. This time, I've got to get some hits with the pink bat first and then I'll give it to her because I don't want to give her a bat with no hits in it. But I mean, I wouldn't be where I am without her at all. So I can't thank her enough. She put me in position to be where I am today and I'm really excited to see her this weekend in New York." -- Steve Gilbert

Dodgers: SportsNet LA reporter Kirsten Watson on her mom, Robin

When Kirsten Watson was hired to become the Dodgers’ new reporter for SportsNet LA earlier this year, one of the first calls she made was to her mother, Robin.

After all, her mother was who instilled the importance of education and the person that encouraged her to pick up a volleyball at an early age, despite her not wanting to at first. Watson is glad she listened to her mother, as she became a Division 1 volleyball player at Northwestern. Her mother is also responsible for giving invaluable unconditional support when Watson decided to pursue journalism in college.

“She’s the reason for a lot of the things I do today,” Watson said. “She was just so excited to see that I finally had achieved one of my goals that I had worked really, really hard for. She was like ‘I can’t wait to be a baseball mom’." -- Juan Toribio

Giants: Evan Longoria on his mom, Ellie

Longoria grew up in Downey, Calif., where his mom, Ellie, was in charge of shuttling him and his three siblings to their various extracurricular activities throughout their childhoods. His dad often coached him during practices, but Longoria credited his mom for playing "an equally large role" in his baseball development.

"Both my parents worked, but my mom was the one who got me to all of my practices," Longoria said. "My dad would be waiting there to coach later, but she was the one who drove me there. She was the one who, if I got home from school early, she would roll me ground balls out in the front yard. I played catch with my mom. She was a person who was running around like a chicken with her head cut off, trying to get all four of us to where we needed to be. I definitely wouldn't be here without her, without her support and love."

Longoria and his wife, Jaime, are expecting their third child this summer. As his own family has grown, Longoria has come to a greater understanding of the selflessness that goes into being a parent.

"Just the ability to sacrifice basically everything to make your kids happy," Longoria said. "It's a tough thing to do, knowing now as a parent how much sacrifice it takes. I definitely appreciate everything that she did." -- Maria Guardado

Padres: Joe Musgrove on his mom, Diane

When a young Joe Musgrove was playing youth baseball in San Diego, his mother, Diane, was always the first one awake in the Musgrove household -- making three large airpots of coffee, 20-30 breakfast sandwiches, packing a cooler full of snacks and drinks. Diane Musgrove ran a makeshift snack bar at Joe’s games and practices. The money she brought in would help pay for his travel teams and trips.

“She's been my biggest support since I was a little kid,” Joe Musgrove said. “There's not many moms like her that'll dive that deep into what their son's into. ... She was a constant support with the normal motherly love. But she also always made an effort to educate herself in the game so that she could relate to me a little better and understand how I was feeling. She was a big piece in keeping me humble and getting me where I am now.”

Watching Joe ascend to the big leagues was special enough. But the icing on the cake came in mid-January. In her bedroom at her house in a nearby suburb of El Cajon, Calif., Diane scrolled through Twitter and saw the news.

“It said: ‘Joe Musgrove traded to the Padres,’” Diane Musgrove recalled. “I screamed so loud.”

Indeed, her son was coming home. Musgrove has since authored the franchise’s first no-hitter and is off to an excellent start to his Padres tenure. Maybe, just maybe, Diane’s famous home-cooked meals have played a part. -- AJ Cassavell

Rockies: Rookie right-hander Jordan Sheffield on his mother, Misty

“Mainly, I got all of my athletic ability from my mother -- especially the fierceness and competitiveness. She played softball growing up and my dad [Travis] played a little bit of baseball in college at Alabama A&M, but they had me when they were young.

“We boys -- my brother [Mariners left-hander Justus Sheffield], my dad and me would play catch. She would be right there with us, trying to get us to throw harder and sharpen our talents. She was out there with a glove, firing it back at us just as hard. Sometimes, it didn’t end well. We’d get mad and go inside. But she was always outside pushing us, taking us to games, and helping us.

“There were plenty of times -- sleepless nights. Even to this day, if anything's happening on or off the field, she's usually the first person I go to or text, to try and work through a situation or figure something out.

“One of the biggest things I think I can remember was just last year, during COVID. My brother was out playing. I was at home by myself, trying to find a way to get work in and to throw. Every day, she would literally ask me about my day -- and I could tell that she wanted to see if I was getting my work in. She pushed me to go do more. She made me get off the couch and go do stuff.

“But she saw how much time and effort I put in during the COVID time. When I made my debut (a spotless inning against the Dodgers at Coors Field on April 2), she was there. She had a lot of emotion. When I saw her she had tears in her face, of joy, of relief and happiness. She knows that I've worked hard to get to where I'm at, especially the past couple years. She’s seen this game bring me down and also rebuild the guy that I am today. She was crying. She was happy. She was ecstatic.” -- Thomas Harding