Marcus Semien sat at his locker in the White Sox clubhouse before Sunday's series finale against the Diamondbacks getting a new batch of bats ready.
It's a normal exercise for big leaguers, meticulously taping and getting a feel for a new set of sticks. But Sunday, things were a little different for Semien, as the bats he was breaking in were pink. Bright pink.
It's become an annual baseball tradition, players swinging pink bats on Mother's Day. Unfortunately, though, a tradition that's been around much longer in the game is the lifestyle, one that typically keeps mothers and sons separated on the holiday celebrating their relationship.
Thankfully for Semien, Mother's Day 2014 will be different. After Sunday's game, the Sox head to Oakland for a three-game set with the A's. It means Semien gets to go home to the Bay Area, and it means Sunday night he'll get to spend at least part of Mother's Day with his mom.
“It’s usually hard. Being a baseball player, you usually don’t see your mom on Mother’s Day unless she comes to see you," Semien said. "But it’s a blessing to be able to go home.”
Semien will be playing his first games in the Bay Area as a big leaguer this week, something he's truly excited about.
“Just seeing a lot of friends and family and being able to play in front of them," he said. "It’s a dream come true to be in the big leagues, so it will be nice to share that with them.”
Semien's Bay Area baseball roots run deep. He grew up a Giants fan but attended plenty of games at the Coliseum, too — "closer to home and a little easier to go to, little cheaper tickets" — plus he played high school ball in Berkeley and spent his college career at the University of California-Berkeley.
It's the fusing of two aspects, college ball and the major leagues, that gave Semien one of his best memories.
“When I was in college, we went to the College World Series and got honored at an A’s game," he said. "Our manager threw out the first pitch, but we were all out on the field during that at the Coliseum. So that was a pretty cool moment.
“It’s where you want to be, it’s the stage you want to be on," he said of standing on a major league field. "Just from that perspective, it was about three, four years ago, but I was thinking, ‘That’s where I want to be one day.’”
This week, he'll get to experience just that, and his family and friends will be on hand to experience it with him.