Today is the first official day of baseball for the year, the day when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Some of the players, like Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams, Seung Hwan Oh, and others have reported early to Jupiter to get in more work. I waxed more poetic about pitchers and catchers report day in a blog post last year, and you can read it here. Today is also Valentine’s Day, and what a nice Valentine’s Day gift for the Cardinals to give their fans than to have spring training start on Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure there is a more appropriate day for spring training to begin for lovers of baseball than Valentine’s Day.
But the unbridled joy I would normally feel on pitchers and catchers report day is tempered by the loss I feel at the passing of my mother-in-law Patricia Schultz, who died yesterday (Feb. 13). Pat was an incredible woman – she raised seven children (of which my husband is the oldest), five boys and two girls, and also took care of her husband and her mother as well (she was an only child, like me). At one time, she had 4 boys under the age of 7. That would be enough to drive most folks crazy, but she soldiered on.
Two of her sons, a grandchild, and her husband preceded her in death, and those losses brought special sorrows. She loved flowers so we would give her a hanging plant every year for Mother’s Day. This year, we’ll be bringing them to her grave. 😦
But my most special memories with Mom was watching Cardinals baseball games with her. On Sunday afternoons, we would go to Mom’s house for Sunday dinner. We would watch the Sunday afternoon Cards games on her 52″ TV and discuss the players, the managers, and the game. Even during the offseason, we would discuss trades and how we thought the Cardinals would play next season. She liked to have a glass of water or Pepsi at hand to drink, and I noticed once that she would put a napkin on the top of the glass to keep the flies away. So that year for Christmas, we bought her a Cardinals Tervis tumbler with a lid, a handle and straws to keep her drinks cold and fly-free. She really liked that Tervis tumbler. Maybe it should go in her casket with her.
Baseball, in every aspect, is a family affair. The love of baseball is passed down from generation to generation, and I wrote about that in more detail here. Players work out together, play together, room together. They develop a camaraderie and become a family. Baseball fans grow attached to players and their teams by watching and rooting for them. That’s why it hurts so bad when players die in an untimely manner. It’s like losing a member of your family.
It won’t be the same watching Sunday afternoon Cardinals games without Mom, but eventually, it will get better. Mom’s in a better place now, where she doesn’t have any more pain and she is reunited with her loved ones. Time will soften and ease the pain we feel and someday, we will be happy when we think of Mom and not sad.
So Cardinals – please win a World Series for Mom this year. Thanks!
Thanks as always for reading. See you next time!