MIAMI -- Opening Day brought back so many memories for Patti Redmond.
The mother of Marlins manager Mike Redmond, Patti has been there every step of the way in her son's baseball career. From Little League through high school, college and the professional ranks, she has been Mike's biggest supporter.
So it was a given that she would travel from her home in Spokane, Wash., to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on April 1 to witness Mike's debut as a big league manager.
"That was a great day for us," Patti said. "It was pretty amazing, for sure. I was very proud of Mike. He's worked so hard, always has. It was almost overwhelming."
Also on hand were Mike's wife, Michele, and his sons, Michael and Ryan, along with other family members. For Patti, the day triggered a wave of emotions.
With great detail, she recalls Mike's first game at any level. It was when he was a small boy, and he was a teammate of his twin brother, Patrick.
"Their white pants, white shoes and their orange jackets," Patti said. "They were the Orioles."
Sitting in Nationals Park, she recalled all that Mike has gone through to achieve his latest big league dream.
"I was thinking of all those times, and what it has taken for Mike to get to where he is at," she said. "It was pretty, pretty wonderful."
For Mike, Mother's Day also is a time for reflection. The 41-year-old, who spent 13 seasons in the Major Leagues as a catcher, knows his mother continues to cheer him on from across the country.
"The way my career has been and all the things I've gone through, the successes and the tough times," Mike said. "Now to fulfill another dream and goal, to manage in the big leagues, she knows how much I love the game and how much time I've spent away from my family because of the dedication.
"It was never a question if she was going to be there on Opening Day. She's always been my biggest fan, no matter what."
Baseball has always been a constant in the Redmond family. Growing up, Mike and his brother were coached by their father, Pat Sr., who passed away in 2000 after battling cancer.
"Everyone who has followed my career knows losing my dad in 2000 was obviously a big blow to our whole family, especially my mom," Mike said. "She's been by herself for 13 years now, and it hasn't been easy. It's been tough for her. I know she misses him so much. Mother's Day is always satisfying for her, knowing she has two kids who are doing well."
Patti still lives down the street from her son. She is a volunteer at her grandchildren's school, and she attends their youth baseball games, all while watching the Marlins regularly on television.
"She gives me updates on how the kids are doing," Mike said. "Of course, the kids can do no wrong."
For decades, Patti has not been a stranger to ball fields. When Mike and his brother would practice with their father, Patti would often sit in the outfield. After the boys took rounds of batting, she'd help pick up the baseballs and flip them underhand to the infield.
"Mike's dad had a passion for baseball," Patti said. "He played and he coached the boys from the time they were little. Baseball was something the three of them did together. It was a special relationship, for sure. He coached their teams until they were in high school."
At around age 14, Mike became the regular catcher, and his brother either pitched or played shortstop or second base.
It remained that way for both of them all the way to college, where they again were teammates at Gonzaga. After Mike's junior season, when he left to play professionally, Patrick replaced his brother behind the plate.
Playing baseball was always a passion for Mike, but his mother wasn't aware of his desire to pursue it professionally until he was an upperclassman in high school.
"Mike was quiet about it, his passion for it, his love for it," Patti said. "I didn't realize it until in high school, and they had career day. They had to decide what they wanted to pursue. It was baseball, for Mike. He wanted to be a professional baseball player."
On the form, they asked what his second career choice was. For Mike, he repeated his first choice.
"They tried to get him to pick a second choice, because so few people make it to the Major Leagues," Patti said. "There was no second choice for Mike."