Every day is Mother's Day for Wieters' mom
Memories of Matt's childhood greet her each morning at her vanity
BALTIMORE -- Mother's Day has a constant place in the Wieters' home.
Every morning that Pam Wieters, mother of Orioles catcher Matt, wakes up and gets ready at her vanity, all she has to do is look down to recapture the love and sincerity that comes with the annual holiday. Gone is the original covering from the table, replaced by plywood -- courtesy of husband Richard's handiwork -- that serves as a base for a collage of numerous Mother's Day cards and letters.
The collection of handwritten notes and young scrawls inside cards collected over the years from Matt and older sister Rebecca gets re-read nearly every day.
Some of Pam's favorite memories are here, bringing her back to the days when Matt's kindergarten class had Tea Day and she walked across the street from Stratford High School to College Park Elementary, where she was greeted and escorted by her young son, all dressed up.
Then there are the cards from the year Matt and Rebecca got her a pink tea rose bush, which is still outside, right by the front door, and "blooms beautifully all summer long" according to Pam.
The cards and notes range in years from kindergarten to elementary school, with some from the customary brunches they had over years at an old plantation turned golf course. It's standard celebration for a holiday that always falls during baseball season, erasing any idea of a mini-vacation.
That's perfectly fine with the Wieters family, who even now plan their schedules around trips to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
They've got it down to a science during baseball season, with Richard -- a certified public accountant -- getting Fridays off, after April 15 of course, and the two packing the car up and driving from Goose Creek, S.C. to Baltimore in time for Friday night's game.
The Wieters attend every home weekend series and do one road trip a year, with the goal to see every Major League ballpark. So far, they've done the American League East, plus a few more with Richard able to attend last year's All-Star Game in Kansas City.
"Sometimes, still, I want to pinch myself, this is every kid's dream," Pam said. "And I taught school for 35 years and every high school athlete I taught had this dream and I just always tried to make them realize how small the percentage of making it there was and how they had to have their education.
"And I was the same way with Matt. He was a very smart player and he achieved a great deal, but I never really dreamed he would ever, ever make it to this point. It's just so few do. I still sometimes when I'm sitting around this, I'm like, 'Wow'.
"But watching him play in Baltimore, in front of that gigantic crowd, I still have the same feelings watching him play that I did when he was little, playing in the playground. It's Matt playing ball and I've enjoyed every minute of it."
Ever since Wieters started playing baseball, Pam has had an accompanying scrapbook. They've gotten less grandiose over the years, morphing into more articles than designs and mementos, as Wieters went off to Georgia Tech and the media coverage became more extensive. But there are still photos, taken with Pam's old camera, to accompany the stories and help create a lasting memory.
"One day, I think he will look at them all, or Maverick will look at them with me," Pam said, referring to the son Matt and his wife, Maria, welcomed last fall.
A quiet leader in the Orioles' clubhouse, Wieters has never been the type to seek out the spotlight, despite the media glare that comes with being a college phenom and first-round Draft pick. Pam, who was in attendance at the Orioles' game in which he was introduced at as the club's top Draft selection, as well as his Major League debut, is similarly low-key when talking about some of her favorite moments watching her son play.
"They are not memories of home runs or anything that he did athletically," she said, although Pam's favorite play is watching Matt throwing out a baserunner at second. "It's just seeing him interact with his teammates, seeing that big grin come across his face when a teammate would do something that amused him. Every step of the way has had its special moments, and just seeing the way he loves the game and enjoyed every aspect of it.
"He's able to keep those emotions in check. I'm not saying he doesn't feel things less than other people. He's probably far more sensitive than other people would imagine. But he's able to keep a calm, collect demeanor and act as if nothing rattles him."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.