For the first time since the Mets made Dominic Smith a first-round Draft pick in 2013, his family will be gathered together in one place this Christmas. Smith's mother and nephew, who relocated to Florida to live with him after he was drafted, recently moved back to Southern California, where
For the first time since the Mets made Dominic Smith a first-round Draft pick in 2013, his family will be gathered together in one place this Christmas. Smith's mother and nephew, who relocated to Florida to live with him after he was drafted, recently moved back to Southern California, where Smith grew up and now also lives during the offseason.
Family time is everything to the Mets' young first baseman, who sat down with MLB.com to discuss his holiday traditions:
MLB.com: What was a typical Christmas like for you growing up?
Smith: When I was growing up, it would be me writing out a Christmas list and mailing it off to Santa Claus, then coming back from school and my mom telling me, "Make sure you get good grades, or else Santa Claus isn't going to come. Make sure you're doing good in school, or else Santa Claus isn't going to come." I would get a bad grade or have a bad test and she would say, "Santa Claus is not bringing you gifts." And I would wonder, like, "Dang. How does Santa Claus know this? How does he know everything?"
MLB.com: How about when you did make the Nice List?
Smith: Every Christmas, I would go to sleep at, like, 8 o'clock. My mom would let me open one present, but my brother would stay up all night. Then I'd come down and it was like, "Oh, my God, Santa Claus came!" You see the half-eaten cookies and the milk. Christmas was definitely my favorite holiday growing up, for sure.
MLB.com: What was the best gift you ever received?
Smith: The best gift I ever got probably was a glove and a bat. I love baseball. And it's expensive. You need the glove. You need the bat. You need cleats. So one Christmas, my sister saved up and bought me a glove and a bat. I was so happy. I was around 13, and that was the first time I got brand-new stuff. I normally just used old stuff that people were about to get rid of, hand-me-downs from guys like Aaron Hicks and Anthony Gose. That's how I grew up. That's how I played. But this was new.
MLB.com: And living in Los Angeles, you could go outside and play catch that day?
Smith: Oh, yeah, that's the best part about L.A. I played baseball 365 days a year until I got drafted.
MLB.com: What is Christmas like for you these days?
Smith: Christmas is a way different holiday now. My nephew is 11, and I do the same thing to him that my mom did to me, telling him to make sure he does well in school if he wants to get presents. My mom always says she doesn't want anything for herself. She's like, "It's been Christmas since 2013" (the year I got drafted). My brother and sister, they don't want anything.
It's funny, somebody just asked me, "What do you want for Christmas?" I haven't thought about that for four years, and I used to think about that every year. It's something you planned for. People plan all year to save up for these holidays, for Christmas, to get their kids and themselves what they really, really wanted. It's just funny that somebody asked me what I want for Christmas, and I really haven't thought about it. We're grateful for what we have. All we want is family time and seeing each other together.
This year is the first year I had Thanksgiving together with my mom and dad since I got drafted. To be with them and be with my family and my nephew, stuff like that, it's really great.
MLB.com: What Christmas tradition do you look forward to the most?
Smith: Home-cooked meals are always the best. Last year, we had a prime rib that my mom marinated for, like, four days. She made turkey and ham too, but after Thanksgiving, you don't want to eat turkey every day. So this was the first time she did the prime rib, and it was delicious. Then you've got your mac and cheese and your greens, your string beans and your stuffing, your rolls. But just having a home-cooked meal is great. We're gone so much during the season that, yeah you'll get a home-cooked meal every now and again. But I don't know how often you'll get your parents' cooking. It's always better when it comes from Mama and Papa.
Since I've been drafted, it's always been tough with the holidays, trying to work out and go to see people in different places. So this should be a fun one, getting us all together.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.