Pardonable pride prevails as players' parents watch Baseball: Mothers and fathers who ferried boys to Little League enjoy their rewards as grown-up sons perform in the ALCS.

October 10, 1997|By Dan Rodricks | Dan Rodricks,SUN COLUMNIST

She had two good reasons to come to Baltimore for the American League Championship Series -- one named Sandy, the other Robbie -- but Maria Alomar decided to stay home in Puerto Rico and watch on television.

She wasn't feeling very good, she had a doctor's appointment and, besides, her boys play for opposing teams and what's a mother to do?

"I am in middle," she laughs over the phone from the Alomar brothers' boyhood home in Salinas, where it was raining last evening.

"That's my boys. I wish they both could win."

But Mama Alomar will not stay home alone for the entire postseason. She's planning to fly today to Cleveland, where the ALCS continues this weekend.

Her husband, Sandy Alomar Sr., has been in Arizona but plans to be in Cleveland for Games 3 and 4.

"Last year, oh, my God," Maria Alomar says of the 1996 playoff series in which dramatic hitting by her younger son, Roberto, led to an Oriole victory over the Indians, for whom Sandy Jr. plays catcher.

"When Robbie hit that home run, I was watching. I thought I was gonna die."

This year, it was her other boy, Sandy, 31, who hit a big home run in Cleveland to lead the Indians over the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.

That was last Sunday night. Mama was watching.

"For Sandy I was so happy, so happy," she says. "He has worked so hard. Both Sandy and Robbie were natural baseball players.

"But Sandy, he wanted to do everything -- ride a motorcycle, a bicycle, do tae kwan do. Robbie, he just wanted to play baseball.

"When he was little, Sandy would play baseball with the older boys, and Robbie would cry because he wanted to play, too.

"Sandy protected Robbie. He was with him all the time. They had the same bedroom, the same baseball things, when they were little.

"I watch now and I say, 'That's my boys.' "

On hand for playoffs

Several other Orioles' parents have attended the playoff games here -- Lenny Webster's mom, B. J. Surhoff's.

Brady Anderson's father, Jerry, hasn't missed much of anything in his son's life. It figures he'd have a regular seat behind home plate for the playoffs.

Jerry Anderson was a single dad when Brady was just 3 years old. He passed up a promotion in a pharmaceutical sales company in favor of a job that kept him closer to home in California.

"From the time he was 3 'til Brady's junior year of college, I didn't miss one of his baseball games," a trim and handsome Jerry Anderson says.

"I coached him in Little League. I coached him as a freshman and in the junior varsity.

"In high school, I'd coach Brady's teams in summer and winter ball. When he went to college [University of California, Irvine], I saw every game 'til Brady's junior year when they played San Jose State.

"I never missed his school plays, either, anything he was involved in.

"People say to me, 'You made quite a sacrifice.' I say, 'I wouldn't have traded it for anything. It's what's important in life.' "

He never pushed his son to be a major leaguer. He didn't have to. Brady Anderson was a special kid. He loved sports.

"He played all-out in everything he did," his dad says. "He never gives in.

"I've been in business all these years, and I've never met anyone so focused and determined to do what he wants to do."

Jerry Anderson has been around for special moments.

When Brady Anderson made the starting lineup of the Boston Red Sox in 1988 and went three-for-five as the leadoff hitter on opening day -- that was special.

"I didn't see the first three innings of the game because of the tears," Jerry Anderson says.

Blasted out of the park

Nearly a decade later, he was sitting behind home plate in Oriole Park at Camden Yards when his son hit the first Cleveland pitch of the ALCS out of the park.

The Orioles won, of course, and after the game Wednesday night, Jerry Anderson found his way to the clubhouse, past the reporters and TV cameras. When he reached his son, he said, "You know what, Brady? You're a pretty good baseball player.

"And you know what Brady said? It's a little joke between us. He said, 'Yes I am!' Now he wants that World Series championship. To help this team get there -- that's his dream."

And if the dream comes true, dad will be there.

Watching by satellite

When their boy was drafted to play major league baseball in 1986, Tim and Carol Hoiles moved to a family farm on the outskirts of Wayne, Ohio. Just about everything around there is outskirts.

"There's really nothing near Wayne, just a lot of flat land and farms with soybean and corn, and woods," says Tim Hoiles. One of the first things he and his wife did after moving to the farm was put up a satellite dish.

"We were hoping to follow Chris' career as it developed. That's why we put up the dish," says Carol Hoiles, mother of the Orioles catcher.

"I guess we get about 50 percent of the Orioles games on it," says Tim Hoiles. "As long as the signal isn't scrambled, we can pick it up."

"Sometimes," says Carol Hoiles, "we'll be watching a game and, yes, sometimes I find it hard to believe that that's our little boy there."

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