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MelissaG915

Cotto's keepers - worst kept secret on motownsports

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I was bound by the Whitecaps to keep mum on my relationship with the team, but since they freakin' won it all, I can finally say that Dave and I were blessed to be Pedro Cotto's host parents this year; and for a time, Mike Hernandez as well.

I've cried at least 7 times today out of sheer joy for the season and sadness that Pedro is leaving tomorrow. (I drove by the airport sign on the way to skating practice and spontaneously burst into tears.) We just went on our last shopping trip together and both shed a few tears talking about our relationship and the year.

As a player, I've heard all the analytical "not a prospect", blah, blah, blah about Pedro. But as an ambassador of his sport, he was a magnificent Whitecap - he went to as many player appearances as he could, signed as many autographs, shook as many hands, and interacted with as many fans as humanly possible.

As a houseguest, well, he's family. We've celebrated holidays, birthdays and everydays together. My parents call him their grandson, his mom calls me Pedro's "American Mom." He embraced Italian cooking as we learned to enjoy Puerto Rican dishes. His friends became ours and vice versa. He gave Dave a special nickname and me a special handshake. What can I say? We love him.

I am still at a loss to correctly put into words what being his host mom has meant to me, and, as an extension, host "aunt" to the rest of the Latin connection. I would laugh coming home from work, not knowing which of the boys would be there -- Perdomo on the computer, Roa playing Playstation, Vesquez asleep on the couch, Garcia giving haircuts in the family room, Mendez talking to Tara on the deck.

And Mikey... he helped me remember what FUN it is to be 21. Playing hard then PLAYING hard. Always a gentleman, always a treat to hear his lazy Brooklyn accent kick in talking about his game. Michael, you were with us too briefly.

This championship, for me, is so much sweeter since I know the boys who won on a level more than as just a player. They were real, loving, generous and fun, taking me and Dave on a fantastic ride to the championship.

Grandma G warned me about the tears and the heartbreak at the end of the season, and that's where I'm at right now, but the joy I've experienced this year has been worth it.

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I know how hard this is on me as a mere fan who has gotten to know these guys a little bit, so I can't even imagine how hard this is on you--an adopted mom. I know I will long remember on one of my many hugs with some of those dear Latin American boys one telling me in his broken English that he loved me. Give them another hug for me will you? I am going to miss this team terribly (my housemates remind me I say that every year).

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Excellent post Melissa. The thrill of this year was the close bond we had with each other in the stands and with the players on the field. It made the championship all the more sweeter.

It was unique to share time with the players in a home setting away from their job. Cotto is a great guy and an excellent ambassador for the team.

Melissa, don't cry because he's leaving but be happy for the memories you'll always cherish.

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As the mother of a Whitecap, your post tugged at my heartstrings. It is a comfort to know that the people who open up their homes to our boys also open up their hearts. Everyone associated with WM seemed to be first class individuals. I know that every one of the young men on the team are dreaming about the big leagues, but I also know that they will never forget their time in WM, their teammates, their manager and coaches, their host families, the stadium staff, and all the fans.

MOST OF ALL, THANKS TO THE HOST FAMILIES THAT MADE WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN A LONELY TIME INTO A MEMORY OF A LIFETIME.

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But, Melissa, you have found a new friend & his family for the rest of your life....and more to come in the years that you host....yes, we do get a little protective of our summer sons....darn right! (So when we get some negative feedback from the posters, we really react!) Now you know what I mean... We see the everyday struggles, etc they go thru for the 140 game season....we have a little part in helping them reach for their dream! They will always remember WM, and the fans but they also will have their host families in their hearts too....we still get together in Lakeland @ spring training with our 2nd player & his family, and he is no longer in baseball..we have attended ones wedding and are eagerly waiting for Rabelo to make his trip to the bigs at the end of the Mudhens season...very special memories for us...so glad you & Dave joined the host family group....like you said, makes baseball just a little sweeter....

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Thanks Melissa. Pedro is special. He used to sit right behind us while rehabing and we really got to know him. Today I was going back thru '05 and IL photos for one of his friends that needs an album on him. I've already given him Wendy's and Emily's sites. He has had a great year for a change. I believe a good family has aided in that effort.

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Pedro is a gem! He's always been a great guy and I've always been a fan of his. Thanks for sharing, Melissa.

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Thank you melissa. It's absolutely beautiful. Getting to know Pedro just a little bit has been a huge blessing for me. He's a wonderful guy to be aruond and a lot of fun. Thanks a lot for all the good times. It's a summer we will never let slip our memories!

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Heh, I know how hard it was for you to keep this secret sometimes. Heck, at times it was hard for me to not say anything about how I know Cotto personally, and how I've hung out with him on more than a few occasions.

You and Dave were awesome host parents, it is no doubt in my mind that the great home atmosphere he had was a big help to his performance this season. Just as you two have been great hosts to him, it's been the same with your friendship to me- you and your husband have been great friends, always eager to talk, and just all in all wonderful people to get to know.

I wish Pedro the best in all he does, and he'll never know how much his little gifts (batting glove, bat, the sight of Dave being nailed in the face by a fastball last night while in your backyard) mean to me!

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It's a shame not everyone here can appreciate just how great the minor leagues can be.

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Melissa, I appreciate that you and Dave helped bring me into the Whitecaps world. Knowing Pedro and Rafi has made an impact on my life. I don't think I can express how much they really have. When I left last night I was very sad and yet joyful. I'm very happy that I have so many new friends. I consider Pedro and Rafi my friends and look foward to seeing them in the future.

Thank you. :classic:

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Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

A few notes for next year:

1. Buy stock and futures in juice companies

2. Married players get MUCH better groupie prospects (but have enough character to keep their hands off)

3. ALWAYS have enough beer in the fridge, but have more water on hand.

4. Don't ever try to play ping pong with a professional athelete.

5. Nothing better than having 20 guys in your basement watching DeLaHoya pound on someone. It doesn't matter if it was in English or Spanish, when Oscar hits someone, the cheer is the same!

6. There is never any gas in the Hummer, but I don't mind filling it up

7. A quick stop for hairgel turns into ribs on the grill for guys before the night out after the game

8. I've never used so much propane in my life (Hank Hill would be proud)

9. I'm glad someone has actually used my PlayStation 2

10. There is crying in baseball

As Melissa summed it up, it was quite an experience. These guys are MUCH more than just dumb jocks playing a game for the summer. Cotto and Hernandez have touched our lives in many ways this past summer. I've learned much about a game I just kinda enjoyed from both a player and a fan perspective. Pedro and his family have just become an extension of our family.

Last night as he was packing his final things, I asked Pedro where his house key was. Hey threw it to me, and I threw it back (strike by the way); and said, "you might need this if we are not home and you need a place to stay or something to eat. You keep it." The look on his face was worth the juice bill and the empty gas tanks.

I'm sure now that the worst kept secret is out, there will be more stories to come. Thanks to ALL of the player families and friends who supported us as we supported your kids. Thank you to all of the other host families for their support and help during our rookie season. Thank you to all of the fans/friends we have made from the Caps' group. The last two games were a blast with all of us sitting together, watching the magic happen on the field. 5/3 would be a MUCH more quiet place if we were not there.

Gotta go put ice on my nose.........

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Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

7. A quick stop for hairgel turns into ribs on the grill for guys before the night out after the game

8. I've never used so much propane in my life (Hank Hill would be proud)

don't forget the Totino's party pizzas...

Little Ceasar's runs for $5 pies...

chicken and rice...

ranch dressing on everything...

ketchup on everything...

BBQ sauce on everything...

strawberries and garlic bread...

"this is pretty good"...

the disappearing smoked roasts...

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The parents of one of our sons-in-law host guys from the Class A Spokane Indians each summer. They live a few blocks from us and we don't see them much but last summer we got over there when they had their 2 players with parents visiting. One of the guys staying with them was John Mayberry, Jr. His dad was visiting and he was a super nice guy. Seemed like a super gentleman - I'll bet he was a great ambassador for his team back in the day.

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Dave, you have a copy of that fateful ball-to-face picture that we might be able to see?

When saying goodbye to Pedro yesterday, I made a little trade with him. After winning the championship on Friday, he gave my girlfriend and I his batting gloves, so last night I gave him my old batting gloves from high school, "To make it an even trade," as I told him.

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