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Mom's Team - Baseball Moms Cover All Bases

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Baseball moms cover all bases

As a mom of two young sons who are about to enter into the world of Little League baseball for the first time, I have become intrigued with baseball playing brothers.

Back in 2002, I remember watching Jason and Jeremy Giambi play together on the Oakland A's and thinking what a thrill it must have been for these brothers to be on the same team. I could only imagine how their mom must have felt to see both her boys on that field.

In fact, more than 350 sets of brothers have played in the major leagues.

Just last year in Orange County alone, more than 23,000 Little League players took to the fields, with a whopping 2.7 million players suiting up nationwide – that's a tremendous amount of bats, balls, gloves, cleats and uniforms. Who cleans those cleats, locates the missing gloves, and washes the uniforms?

In most cases, it's the baseball mom.

And who fills out the paperwork, keeps track of the schedules, drives those players to practice, brings the snacks, and cheers at their games? Yes, we are talking about the baseball mom. No disrespect to you dads, but let's be honest here, the whole system would unravel without the moms.

So when I had the opportunity to talk with Anne Muno, a baseball mom who has seen her two sons go from T-ball to college baseball, I jumped at the chance. Here we are, two moms with two sons each, the big difference being that we are on opposite ends of the baseball spectrum.

Anne's days of hauling her boys to practice are over, and now her sons are in college earning full-ride baseball scholarships with hopes of someday playing professionally. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to persuade my 4-year-old to wear a cup. OK, dads, I think I'll give that one to you.

After years of shagging balls and juggling schedules, Anne is enjoying the success of her two baseball playing sons. Kevin, her oldest son, is an outfielder for the University of San Diego and Danny, the youngest by 13 months, is playing shortstop for Fresno State.

You may remember that it was Fresno State that unexpectedly won the College World Series last season – a huge underdog story, to say the least. The Fresno State Bulldogs became the lowest seed in any sport to win an NCAA championship. They ended up beating the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Kind of a dog-eat-dog finale, a huge win and a chance to crack a lot of dog jokes. It's a story that movies are made of, and Anne's son Danny was a star player.

Earlier that same season it got a bit interesting for Anne, as she found herself cheering for both her sons' teams at the same time during the regional playoffs between USD and Fresno State at Blair Field in Long Beach. Each time Danny or Kevin was up to bat she would literally run to the appropriate side of the stands to root for her son.

Anne described herself as a nervous wreck and said she felt guilty when she would return to her fellow baseball moms on the opposing side after one of her sons got a hit or home run: “You don't know who to cheer for – it was just hard.”

Evidently, a baseball mom can be just as superstitious as the player, always making sure to sit in the same seat during each game – make that seats in Anne's case.

When I asked Anne why baseball, she replied: “They're boys and you need to keep them busy and out of trouble.”

But baseball wasn't the only sport the Muno brothers participated in while growing up. Soccer, basketball and hockey were among other sports they played. They found that basketball was the perfect complement to baseball.

“The hand- and footwork involved in basketball was good conditioning for baseball,” Anne explained. She said the change in sports also kept the boys from burning out.

They always wanted to play and Anne used going to practice as an incentive to get their homework done. “They couldn't go to practice until they finished their homework.”

She laughs as she talks about the irony of her son Danny playing baseball for the Bulldogs.

“Danny was always a bulldog when he was young,” she says.

So much so, she says, that he wouldn't take no for an answer when he was too young to join his older brother on the local Pee Wee basketball team in Thousand Oaks.

So the boys could play together, Anne resorted to telling the officials that her sons were twins. “Years later when Kevin was in the fourth grade and eligible to try out for the traveling team, the coach wanted to know why his twin brother wasn't trying out too,” she said. The cat was out of the bag and they all had to fess up.

When I asked Anne what advice she might have for us newbie baseball moms, “support the coach,” was the first thing she mentioned. “Volunteer, make it fun, and help out the coach. He's doing the best that he can.”

Anne said even if you don't agree with the coach there are positive ways of getting your message across. Like sharing a book that talks about good coaching techniques. Also, Anne found that if you're involved with the team, your kids will more likely want to play.

When I asked Anne what the future might hold for her boys, she was cautious with her answer. I suspect it may be her superstitious baseball mom coming out and not wanting to jinx her sons. “We'll see what happens,” she said as she talked about her sons finishing college and her hopes of seeing them realize their dreams of playing professionally.

After having the opportunity to pepper Anne with a lineup of questions and listening to what she has to say about being a baseball mom, I realize that it really isn't about raising baseball players, but more about raising good boys. A strong support system is essential, and success is simply the byproduct of hard work and putting your heart into whatever you do.

And now, as my boys are just learning to play baseball, I'm looking forward to following the careers of Anne's two sons and my two new favorite college baseball players, Fresno State's Danny Muno and USD's Kevin Muno.

I have a feeling they're going to The Show.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, April 07 2009 09:15 )