CINCINNATI -- While Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco is relatively new on the Major League scene as a rookie and top prospect, mother Laura Mesoraco has had the pleasure and perspective of watching her son's career come together from the earliest of stages.
Laura can still see Devin playing baseball as a kindergartner; coincidentally that youth team was called the Reds too. She remembers the high school years and the thrill that June day in 2007 when Cincinnati made him a first-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft just after his team had wrapped up a Pennsylvania state title.
Baseball has been part of several special moments for the family.
"It's provided us with so many different things like meeting great people and seeing great places," Laura Mesoraco said. "We couldn't be happier as a family about Devin's career. I remember when he was in high school and going up and down I-95. We put a lot of miles on the car because Punxsutawney is close to nowhere. We had to drive to get to games. Devin's life has always been baseball. Since kindergarten when his dad coached him, they were at the ball field, sometimes I'd yell at them for playing until late. But I look back at it with all smiles how he has grown up."
The good times have continued since the 23-year-old Mesoraco turned professional. His first big league callup from Triple-A Louisville came on Sept. 1. Two days later as a pinch-hitter against the Cardinals in St. Louis came the most special moment to date for both mother and son.
On the first pitch he saw from reliever Mitchell Boggs, Mesoraco lined a double off the left-field wall.
"She's been there throughout everything," Mesoraco said. "The best moment we've had together was my first big league hit in St. Louis. There have been many great, great moments but that one was kind of the culmination of everything I've been working for. For her to be able to be there was pretty special."
Mesoraco's father, Doug, and younger brother, Jordan were also on hand at Busch Stadium that day. It was a nice moment for the family when they met after the game.
"It was definitely special," Laura Mesoraco said.
Punxsutawney, Pa., is 90 miles from Pittsburgh and about a five-hour drive from Cincinnati. It's just close enough that Doug and Laura can pile into the car and make the drive when they know if their son is starting. They've made the drive several times already this season, and plan to be at Great American Ball Park on Mother's Day weekend.
Devin and Jordan have already given Laura her Mother's Day gift -- a new kayak, which was especially thoughtful because she took up the sport last summer and loves it.
"She was part of the side away from baseball, all the washing of the uniforms and teaching me to treat people the right way and teaching me how to act," Devin said. "My dad was more on the baseball side. My mom kind of made me a more well-rounded person."
Besides being prided for his hitting talent and catching ability, Mesoraco is viewed as a good character guy that fits well in the Reds clubhouse. He's often quiet and respectful to the veterans but also is always polite and accommodating to fans and media.
"It's hard to take credit for it," Laura said. "Hillary Clinton wrote that it takes a village to raise a child and some very important people in his life were both sets of his grandparents. They're able to enjoy this and they had a hand in how he is as a person as did his coaches and teachers.
"It's important to be a good player, but even more important that he's a good person. As a parent, that's all you want for your children. I've gotten to watch him mature into a great young man, but I'm biased since he is my son."