Saint Louis – Yadier Molina he knew that the most emotional moment in his valedictorian speech at Busch Stadium before his final regular-season game was going to be the dedication to his mother, Gladys Matta.
After thanking the Cardinals organization, his teammates and the different coaches who instructed them throughout 19 seasons in the Majors, the Puerto Rican catcher searched in his heart for the ideal words for his mother, present at the ceremony in middle of the ground.
“I want a moment to tell my mother in Spanish… Thank you for all the sacrifice… that you and my dad (Benjamín Molina) made together with my uncles that I love. For teaching me this beautiful sport, for making me a man of good and faith. I love you old lady, and may God give you many more years of life, more joy for all of us. I love you,” Molina declared in the presence of 46,000 fans who came to say goodbye to the legend in the city.
The match ended with a 7-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Molina added to The new day that the dedication to his mother served as a call for young people to recognize the sacrifices that their parents make so that they can fulfill their dreams, as he did with his mother and father, who passed away in 2008.
“The importance of the message is so that the kids know the sacrifices they make for us since they were little. Being at this point and her being alive, it’s incredible. I’m here for her and to let her know that we love her. Thank you for everything she did for one”declared the Puerto Rican in the Cardinals’ locker room, who anticipated the emotions that would flourish during his turn to speak on the podium.
“I expected it to go that way (the speech). It was a great day, emotional. But we don’t win. If you take that away, it was a great day,” she added.
After the game, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol praised Molina’s words for his mother, as well as the message from slugger Albert Pujols to his loved ones.
“I don’t think many people understand. When you have that kind of career, long, playing for a couple of decades, the sacrifices they take, true. The weight that falls on the family. The things you miss. So when you look back to find what to say and who to thank, damn, it’s emotional because you think about all that it took to stand out in a certain way for so many years. A lot of respect for both”, reflected Marmol.
The loss mattered little for the NL Central champions. The image that the fans will take was the exit, in unison, of Molina, Pujols and starter Adam Wainwright in the fifth inning.
The three walked towards the dugout at the same time, the last time they do so in a local game of the regular phase, a postcard treasured by the fans.
Molina and Wainwright played 17 years together (2005-2022), breaking the Major League record for battery (pitcher and catcher) with 328 starts. Pujols, who played his first 10 seasons in St. Louis (2001-10), returned to the Cardinals in a big way after a decade in Los Angeles.
Pujols took advantage of his return to St. Louis to hit 700 home runs, the fourth player in history to do so. In this weekend’s series, he hit homers 701 on Friday and 702 on Sunday.
“It was a 50-50 feeling. On one hand, it was nice. On the other, you want to finish the post and come back. Not everything is perfect but the moment was good to be able to walk with them. It was a great moment for baseball.”Molina said.
Molina, 40, a two-time World Series champion (2006 and 2011) and a nine-time Gold Glove winner, will finish the regular season with three games in Pittsburgh and then start the postseason, the wild-card series, at home on Friday.