Being a mom is a wonderful thing. There are times when your heart is so full and overflowing with love and happiness for your children you think it might burst. But, in between those moments of joy, there are countless hours filled with unglamorous chores. Vacuuming Goldfish crackers off the floor, driving kids to and from games, making meals and removing grass stains from white uniforms, these are not exciting tasks.
A friend once told me, being a mom, you are slowly getting fired from the most wonderful job on earth. The only job you ever wanted to do. Because, with motherhood, the entire goal is to raise independent, loving, kind and productive adults who can take care of themselves. To accomplish this goal, much of motherhood becomes countless hours doing menial tasks no one really notices.
I recently asked several major league players about the impact their moms had on their lives. Their responses were so heartfelt, we are going to let them tell their own stories word for word. As you read them though, notice one thing: No one mentioned the type of car their mom drove, the way she dressed or how big her house was. The most important thing was very simple; their moms were always there for them. Whatever and whenever they needed. Here, you will see how the seemingly smallest gestures of love and care from moms made the biggest impact in the lives of their children.
Mike Trout, Angels center fielder, about his mom Debbie Trout
My mom influenced me a lot, growing up as a kid, just teaching me and leading me in the right way. Obviously, both parents [helped] but it's special to play on Mother's Day, and to know she is there to support me and to support me throughout my career.
When I was a kid [we'd] play whiffle ball in the front yard or play catch. She's always there. It doesn't matter if you get four hits or if you go 0-for-4 and had a bad game, she's always there to support you, to keep your confidence up and to stay positive. It doesn't matter what you are going through, she's always the same person. She doesn't change and she loves me.
I just want to tell her that I love her, and thanks for what she's done. I wouldn't be in my position today without her.
Jake Arrieta, Cubs starting pitcher, about his mom Lynda Arrieta
I grew up in Plano, Texas, outside of Dallas. We were driving to Fort Worth or Houston or Corpus Christi or Oklahoma City or Tulsa every weekend for baseball. We'd pile in the van and the troops would head down for five games in three days and then back to school for the week, and then on the road again.
When I was younger, basically Mom was the brain of the entire family. I slowly transitioned to being organized and very collected and composed when it came to school, practice and homework. I learned it from her, her ability to get me to my games and practices.
She cooks. She makes chicken parmesan and a really good beef stroganoff. Everything is really, really hardy because she had to feed four extremely large men. So we needed a ton of food. What I love and what I miss about being at my parents' house is, I feel like she always had a pot of soup ready if somebody was hungry. She loved to feed people.
She was highly competitive. She wanted me to be the best and viewed me as the best on the field. She expected really good things from me. She was very vocal and loud, and animated. Anytime I did something positive, not just something like throwing a strike, but a big out or a home run, I could definitely pick her out of the crowd without looking. I could hear her and differentiate her voice from everyone else.
She was very influential in my ability to stay consistent with being at practice and being at games and falling in love with the game at an early age. She was one of the biggest components to my ability to stick with it. Obviously, the support she provided over the years is unmatched.
Brandon Phillips, Reds second baseman, about his mom Lue Phillips
I have two brothers and one sister. My mom, she let us all play sports because that kept us off the streets and out of trouble. It's the best thing that ever happened to me because the majority of people I grew up with, they have passed away or they are in jail. Just playing sports was key to our relationship and our family's success.
My mom, you hit her ground balls and she'll still catch them. She still practices with me during the offseason all the time. She plays first base when I'm at second base. She can do it all. She's very athletic. My whole family is athletic and I think we get it from my mom -- sorry, Dad.
If it wasn't for my mom, I wouldn’t be here. My mom, she's like my anchor. She's the one that holds me down. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be the man and the athlete I am today. To this day, she still gets on me. She watches all the games. If I pull off a ball or if I didn't catch a ball or something like that, she'll text me. She really still gets on me. She motivates me. I love that woman to death. I'm so happy that me and her are close. You hear stories about other people and their parents, me and my family we are real close. I'm just glad that me and my mom have one of the greatest relationships ever.
Michael Wacha, Cardinals starting pitcher, about his mom Karen Wacha
My mom, she played a huge part in where I am today. Countless hours she spent with me actually going to the baseball field and driving me to all these tournaments across the country. Just the devotion of her time that she put toward not only myself but my brothers and sister. I could never repay her.
She definitely always had my back. School was very important to her. She had me in all of my classes. I can't ever remember skipping school to play in a tournament. She was just so fiery and feisty in the stands. I remember her getting kicked out of a game. The umpire actually kicked her out of the stands! There was a bad call at first base where the ball went into the dugout. I was probably 10 years old, but as soon as the crowd got quiet my mom just yelled at the umpire, "You know you're wrong!" The umpire just took offense to it and threw her out of the game. I've never seen another mother get kicked out of the game. It's something.
She'd play catch with me, she'd play hoops with me, she'd throw me pass routes. She was always outside playing with us.
Tony Cingrani, Reds pitcher, about his mom Deborah Cingrani
She was my No. 1 fan. My dad took me to all the games, but she was there for all of them. I lived with my mom through high school so she supported me through all of that. She was more of a worrier more than anything. She holds her breath when I'm pitching. She's a good person and loves watching me play.
Jason Heyward, Cubs right fielder, about his mom Laura Heyward
Mom just did everything, from being there to support me at games to taking me to some games when my dad was doing something, working or whatever. Homework, clothes, food, Mom did everything. She still does everything, making sure I was set up along the way. Whether it was minor leagues or college stuff, she was all around doing everything for me.
Both parents would help me with homework. My dad was an engineer so he'd do the math, but she would do everything else. She gave me a peace of mind; she was right there with me.
Both of my parents, they look after their sons. It's tough to put it into a picture or words, but she was there for school, helping with homework, food, practices, games, projects. Whatever it was I needed done, she made sure it was done, or she would help me get it done. It's not simple, trust me. [She put in] a lot of sleepless hours, but my mom would rather be doing nothing else.
Randal Grichuk, Cardinals outfielder, about his mom Beverly Grichuk
I think I got the love of the game from my dad, but my mom was definitely a big help in the sense that my dad worked every day. So my mom was taking me to practice, taking me to and from baseball activities. She was a big supporter. They both were able to throw money into the financial aspect to do what I needed to do to get to this level.
She cooks. Everything she cooks is great. Her lasagna is the best.
Jay Bruce, Reds right fielder, about his mom Martha Bruce
Where do I start? She was obviously always there for me as far as being the rock that held the family steady. She got me where I needed to be. When I was younger, when all the tournament rankings came out -- and I was from a smaller town, Beaumount, Texas isn't as big as a place like Houston -- there wasn't too much notoriety. She was always the one to tell me, "Don't listen to it. Just keep playing." Obviously, moms are biased but she always told me I was going to get where I needed to be regardless of what was said in the papers.
She was always there to just back me. She's very proud. She's very complimentary. She's always very positive. Maybe that's something I take for granted because she's always been that way.
She's very competitive. The one thing she did, she never got in the way. Sometimes it seems like parents can get in the way of their kids. They can get involved in the dealings of sports and the pecking order, but she made a point of never, ever doing that. She let me fight my own battles and to figure out stuff on my own.
I could not have asked for more support growing up. I have two sisters. One sister is special needs, she's five years older than I am and then I have another older sister. I always kind of got the preferential treatment. I played soccer growing up too. So soccer and baseball really dominated our lives.
The sacrifices she made, along with everyone else in my family, is something you don't see all the time. It really dominated our lives. Obviously, I'm able to give back because they made a lot of sacrifices. We weren't a well-to-do family, so they did what they had to do to make ends meet. If it wasn't for her support, along with the community of where I'm from, I probably wouldn't be here today. She's a special woman.
Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals right fielder, about his mom Gretchen Piscotty
She did a lot for me. I have two younger brothers and we were all playing sports at the time. Not just baseball, but we played other sports, too. She did an amazing job getting us around.
Over the course of my baseball career, whether it's pro ball or high school, there are always ups and downs. She's always been there for the down times, to get me through. That meant a lot to have someone in my corner when that stuff was going on.
Jason Kipnis, Indians second baseman, about his mom Kay Kipnis
I'm the youngest of four. I'm the baby so she had to deal with that. My three older siblings, my two older brothers and my sister are all athletes, too. When my dad was at work, she was the one to get all four of us to all of our different practices on time, getting us to the right place. She's the one who got us to the field to allow us to play. There were out-of-town tournaments, there were sleepover tournaments, she helped us get to all of them.
She's not the biggest baseball fan in the world, but she's the biggest Jason fan in the world. She comes to games more for me than for the love of the game.
She was very supportive of me. I actually went to two colleges. I went to the University of Kentucky and got kicked off the team twice and had to transfer. I ended up transferring to Arizona State University and had a chance to take off from there. When it all happened, she was the one who I turned to. She was the one who I looked to for guidance. She was the one who mapped out everything for me, all my options. She's the one who in my lowest moments was the helping hand and would follow me along until I was back on my feet.
I can't thank her enough. She knows how much I love her. I know I need to call more. We talk a lot; she just always wants me to call more. So she'll laugh at this: I'll start calling you more, Mom.
To all the moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day. The little things you do make a big impact. Thank you.