MILWAUKEE -- When Vinnie Pasquantino looked ahead on the schedule and saw the Royals would be staying at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee this weekend, he called his mom.
Built in 1893, Pfister Hotel is one of the nicest hotels in the area, which is why clubs often choose to stay there during their trip to Milwaukee. But the ritzy hotel is also known as one of the most haunted lodgings in the country. It has become a hot topic among baseball players -- Mookie Betts opted to rent an AirBnB when the Dodgers were in town last week -- and the Royals, many of whom had never stayed there before this weekend, were intrigued by the possibility of ghost sightings.
Pasquantino wanted no part of that. It’s why he invited his mom, Jennifer, on the trip. No, not because Sunday is Mother’s Day. Well, at least not at first. Jennifer loves all things "spooky" -- true crime podcasts, paranormal activity and more. She says if she could decorate her house for Halloween year-round, she would.
So, she jumped at the chance to hang out with her son for a weekend in a haunted hotel.
“I get back to the room [Friday] night, and she’s got like paranormal shows on TV,” Vinnie said. “She’s welcoming the ghosts into the room. I wake up [Saturday] morning, and there’s some show called 'Terror in the Woods' on -- paranormal activity in the woods. Like, what are we doing? She wanted to go ghost hunting [Saturday] morning. We walked around the hotel a little bit.”
Jennifer said they only got to the second floor on a tour of the historic hotel.
“Then he said he’s going back to the room,” Jennifer said. “He was no fun. I was pointing out all the pictures, like maybe that person will come visit us tonight. He was like, ‘Oh my God, Mom.’
“We took him to Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens [in Virginia] when he was little. [He] screamed and cried. He’s so totally different than me.”
The bonus of the trip is that Sunday is Mother’s Day, and Vinnie will have his mom in the stands. Jennifer wasn’t able to make it to Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium because of work, so this is her first time seeing Vinnie play in person in 2023. She made the trip without her husband and Vinnie’s dad, Dennis, for the first time in a long time.
“She probably doesn’t know what to do, because typically her role is to calm down my father,” Vinnie said. “She’s able to take it all in now.”
Pasquantino describes his mom as “his rock,” someone he’s able to talk to about non-baseball things -- someone who is always in his corner, regardless of the result. He “wouldn’t be able to do anything” without his mom, Pasquantino said.
“More importantly, she saves me from ghosts,” Vinnie said. “No, but really, she’s always been the lighter side of baseball. Doesn’t matter how I play. I don’t have to talk to her about baseball. … She just wants to have a good time, just hang out. And that’s pretty cool. She’s always been my rock. If anything is ever going wrong, I have my mom. It’s really special that she’s here this weekend.”
Jennifer has been there for all of Vinnie’s baseball moments. In his first full season of pro ball, she drove up to Princeton, W. Va., to watch him play on her birthday. She was there with his whole family when he made his MLB debut last season. This trip to Milwaukee reminds her of all the mother-son trips they took for travel baseball when Vinnie was in high school.
Now he’s playing in the Majors. And he’s a major part of the Royals’ future.
“It’s just surreal, still, to watch this,” Jennifer said, eyes surveying American Family Field before Saturday’s game against the Brewers. “I’ll never stop going, ‘Wow.’ How lucky is he? Worked his butt off to get here, and he hasn’t stopped working since. He never will. But it’s surreal. It’s just awesome.”