Espada gets cherished family reunion on Opening Day

March 30th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Brian McTaggart’s Astros Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

HOUSTON -- Prior to the first pitch of Thursday’s Opening Day game against the Yankees, Astros manager Joe Espada glanced towards the stands and gave a wave to his parents, who had made the trip from their home in Dallas to Minute Maid Park. There was no way Espada’s mother, Miriam, and father, Loly, were going to miss the biggest day of their son’s career.

“That was a big moment,” Joe Espada said.

Espada, hired by the Astros on Nov. 13 to replace the legendary Dusty Baker, cherished his first Opening Day as a manager -- a day that began when he ate breakfast with his wife and took his daughters to school and ended when he had dinner with his parents after a 5-4 loss to the Yankees. The results aren’t what Espada had in mind, but this Opening Day was about more than that.

“It was more than any other Opening Day,” Espada said. “My family is in town, my parents are here, so I was able to catch up with them. … It’s an emotional roller coaster, but I’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time. At the end of the day, it’s about this game and getting these guys ready to play.”

Espada said Thursday’s game was the first time his parents have been to Houston to see him, though they attended a game in Arlington last year. They returned home before Friday’s game, but Espada plans to see them next weekend when the Astros are in Arlington to face the Rangers.

“As you guys well know, my dad is not in good health,” Espada said. “I’m excited he’s here -- when I took the field for the anthem and I got to see him, that’s special.”

Espada joked that his mother was going to second-guess every move he made in his managerial debut, and what good mother wouldn’t have some advice for his son well into adulthood? Not this time.

“She was mom,” Espada said. “She was not being the front office.”

Pamela Espada, who married Joe in 2009 while he was the infield coordinator for the Marlins, gave up her job as a pharmacist to be a stay-at-home mom while Joe grinded through his career. The couple has two children, 12-year-old Eliana and nine-year-old Viviana, who were at the game Thursday, too.

All in all, Espada said the day was everything he expected and anticipated while dreaming of being a manager, though his preparation was a bit different than his six years as bench coach in Houston. The only thing missing was a win.

“I have decisions I have to make now [that] I know will impact the team in the present and the future,” Espada said. “My conversations with the coaches are a little bit different now, but the people around me have made me feel like I’m ready for the season.”