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Mom's example helped inspire Desmond

WASHINGTON -- Nothing was going to stop Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond from becoming a baseball player. His mother, Pattie Paradise, made sure of that. She was the one who told Desmond he could do anything he wanted as long as he didn't quit.

In fact, it was Paradise who told Desmond and his three siblings to never use the word, "can't," when it came to reaching their goals in life.

"I don't think I did anything different or anything better than anybody else as a parent," Paradise said via telephone. "I always told my kids not to tell people you can't do something ... because you can do it. ... I guess I always said it thinking that everybody thought that way.

"With sports and stuff, I always said, 'You started something, you finish it. If you started the season, you finish the season. Don't tell me you can't get along with Coach. Don't tell me you can't play, you don't want to finish or anything like that.'"

Paradise did more than encourage her son to become a baseball player. As a hairdresser, she worked at least 15 hours per day to make sure Desmond had the equipment to play baseball. He still has the first baseball glove she and her husband bought him while he was in elementary school.

And no matter how tired she was, Pattie always drove Desmond to his games in Florida.

"She always made it happen. She never told me, 'No.' As long as I didn't quit, she did everything she could to make it better," Desmond said. "She just taught me to appreciate the things I had. It doesn't matter how many things you have, as long as you appreciate the things that you do have."

Paradise's support and investment paid off. The Montreal Expos selected Desmond in the third round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Five years later, Desmond was a big leaguer and has been the Nationals' everyday shortstop since September 2009.

One can imagine Paradise's reaction when she saw her son fulfill his dream. However, she is most proud of how Desmond has handled himself off the field. He is a great role model to his younger brother, Christopher, 18, according to Paradise.

"If you ever watched Ian with kids or how he handles himself in interviews," she said. "I love the way he is off the field. I love the way he is on the field. He was real young when he got drafted. He really conducted himself like a man, which I was really proud of. He was never cocky."

Without question, Desmond plays every game as if it is his last. He credits Paradise for instilling that work ethic in him.

"The harder she worked, the more she could do for us," he said. "That is the lesson I learned. My whole life, I have been a grinder. I've always been a hard worker. I definitely got that from my mom. She carried a couple of jobs, at times. She did everything she could."

Desmond is 26 years old and, even though he is married with a young son, Paradise is the first person he calls when things are going wrong on or off the field.

"She is just awesome. She is an unbelievable mother. There's not one thing I can say that I wish she did better," Desmond said. "She was there for me through and through."

Washington Nationals, Ian Desmond