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Baseball strengthened bond in Ottavino family

Reliever had constant support from his mother, a die-hard fan

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DENVER -- Reliever Adam Ottavino and his mother, Eve, bonded over baseball. There was no way a contentious World Series could come between them.

When the Yankees and Mets met in the World Series in 2000, Ottavino was nearly 15 years old and a Yankees fan for almost as long. His mother loved the Mets. But the Series came and went without trash talk.

"Honestly, she didn't hate the Yankees, and me and my dad grew up Yankees fans, so it was just a little different," Ottavino said.

With Mother's Day upon us, Ottavino stopped to think about the happy relationship he and his mom -- and don't forget his father, John -- have over the game.

Ottavino recalls that the constant trips to various fields and sitting through games, often in the cold in the Northeast, were not chores for his mother. And being such fans of the sport, they had many deep and helpful conversations. To this day, mom is an important voice in Ottavino's life.

"My mom loves baseball," Ottavino said. "She was there for all the games and really watched the games. She knows a lot about it. It's cool.

"Both of them have always been there for me when it comes to baseball. It's good to talk to my mom, because I can talk to her about aspects of the game and she'll understand what I'm saying and can give me motherly advice that might be a little different from what my father would say. It helps me see things from a different perspective."

Ottavino's mother is a fourth-grade teacher, but it turns out she's a sports psychologist as well.

"If I have a bad game, maybe my dad will talk about the strategy of what I did, while my mom will talk about how my mind is doing," Ottavino said. "'How's your psyche? Remember that you're good. Remember all the work you put in.' All those things remind me to stay positive and not get too complicated with things.

"Both of them are always letting me know that I have people behind me that love me."

The dream of making it in the Majors is unreachable for all but a few. Those who are good enough to have a chance must deal with tests along the way. Ottavino, who was a Cardinals first-round Draft pick in 2006 but didn't find his footing in the Majors until last season, with the Rockies, said his family understood in ways others might not have.

"My father is an actor, mainly a theater actor, but he's been in a lot of everything," Ottavino said. "He's definitely not a star, but he's been working steadily for the last 30 years.

"That played a role in them supporting me in baseball. He chased after his passion, so they let me do the same."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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