05/06/2009 3:33 PM ET
Andy LaRoche: Mom loves baseball, too
Pirates third baseman thanks his mother for all her help
Baseball has been a huge part of my mom's life, too. She's been around it so much, having married my dad, who played in the big leagues and is now coaching, and by raising three sons who all play the game.
In fact, my mom, Patty, knows more about the game than most guys I know. She's been around the game her whole adult life, and she's been a huge influence on my career on and off the field.
When I was younger, she was always the one taking us to practice. My dad was always playing and then coaching, so she would provide the transportation and help us take care of all the important details.
She was also my coach for one year. It was the summer I was in middle school. She knew more about baseball than our other coach. It was funny. All the guys on the team would go to her for advice, including the other coach's own son.
Most guys might not like having their mom as their coach, but I liked it. For me, it was like having my dad as my coach. She took the job seriously.
The year my dad retired from the Yankees was the year I was born. I would hear stories from her about how he would get sent up and sent down a lot, including one year he went up and down 10 times. He also got traded a lot -- my dad played on five different teams -- and that was tough.
But by all accounts, she handled it well, and they have been happily married for a long time.
It's also always been great having her support and having her watch as many games as she can. Baseball's been a roller coaster for my whole family, but I think she's loved every minute of it.
Right now, she's a key part of a national speakers bureau. She travels across the country speaking about her life experiences at women's Christian conventions. Baseball is a big part of those speeches because, after all, her husband played the game, and her three boys are still playing this game.
Andy LaRoche plays third base for the Pirates. His brother, Adam, plays first base for Pittsburgh. Andy's dad, Dave, played from 1970-83, won 65 games and saved 126 games. He is currently the pitching coach with Triple-A Las Vegas.