Tampa Bay Rays
Rays' moms always there for emotional support
ST. PETERSBURG -
“That's my boy!”
That would be Lindsey Cobb yelling from the bleachers.
On the field, a young Alex Cobb would go about his business hoping no one heard his mother, even though he knew everyone had.
“She would try to embarrass me,” Cobb said. “That was kind of her humor.”
Today is Mother's Day.
Where would these guys be without their moms, their grandmothers?
Dads taught them how to throw a curveball, and the importance of using two hands to catch the ball.
Moms? They were the chauffeurs, ferrying the boys to and from practices and games, making a detour on the way home for McDonald's.
Dads want to know what happened during those three hitless at-bats when they went 1-for-4.
Moms? Hey, you got a hit!
“Or you ground out three times and they say, 'Hey, you got three hits,'” Brandon Gomes said.
Moms are the emotional side of the support team. The smiling face in the bleachers when you're down 13-2 in the second.
“You see that with all baseball players, you see the same dynamic,” Gomes said. “Dad is pushing you, and your mom is there for support, because you're going to have bad games at some point and my mom would always be like, 'It's OK. I'll make you a nice Italian dinner.'”
Lynette Gomes made all of Brandon's games, even if it meant adjusting her schedule.
She worked as a waitress and as a housekeeper.
“She did a little bit of everything,” Gomes said. “I grew up blue collar, my mom and dad (Paul) spent every dollar they could to send me to baseball camps.
“That was a huge deal for them.”
And a huge deal for Gomes, since it seems to have paid off.
“That's priceless,” Gomes said. “You can't say thanks enough for that.”
Cobb's memories of his mom are bittersweet since she died from a stroke during his senior year in high school.
He smiles when he thinks of the McDonald's runs on the way home from his high school games. His dad didn't want Alex eating that junk. Lindsey was OK with the occasional six-piece Chicken McNuggets.
“Super-sized,” Cobb said.
Lindsey wasn't the most punctual, though. Cobb was sometimes late for practice.
“She was a big supporter,” he said. “She loved me playing, but there were more important things going on. I'd always get in trouble at practice because I was always late when she took me.
“It's a good memory now.”
Who was that lady standing in the middle of the street, keeping a close eye on the runner on first base?
Sam Fuld's mom, Amanda, that's who.
Fuld was working on his leads. Amanda was the pitcher. The diamond was the street in front of their house.
“I needed help,” he said.
If Amanda's first move was toward the imaginary plate, Fuld was running. If not, he'd hustle back to whatever served as first base.
“She has a pretty good step-off move,” Fuld said.
How many of us can say that about our moms?
“When I think of baseball and my mom, I think of watching Red Sox games with her and my grandmother, her mom,” Fuld said.
Amanda's favorite Red Sox player was third baseman Frank Malzone. Her favorite player ever, besides Super Sam Fuld, was Mickey Mantle.
They would sit in their usual spots in the living room and watch the BoSox. Of course, Fuld's dad, Ken, was there.
“It was a routine, something to look forward to every night,” Fuld said.
They were all there that night in 2004 when the Sox finally won the World Series.
But Fuld's best memory involving baseball and his mom, with the possible exception of the night she saw him wrap a ball around the Pesky Pole in his first big-league game at Fenway Park, was the Sunday afternoon in May in Des Moines, Iowa.
It was Mother's Day, and Fuld's parents made the trip to see him play for the Cubs' Triple-A team. Before the game, the moms of all the players were invited on to the field to play catch.
Amanda made sure to pack her baseball glove for the trip.
Mom and son played catch.
“That,” Fuld said, “was really cool.”