Wilson Ramos walked toward his locker this morning smiling wide and carrying a Tupperware bin. He showed the dish to Jesus Flores, his clubhouse neighbor and fellow Venezuelan, and peeled off the top to reveal stacks of warm arepas, a muffin made with corn and flour, stuffed with egg and ham. Ramos’s mother, Maria, had made them earlier in the morning.
Maria visited the United States for the first time this weekend with Ramos’s sister, Milanyela. Ramos’s family watched him play professional baseball in America, minors or majors, for the first time Friday night at Nationals Park. As she watched Ramos, Maria cried in the Nationals Park stands.
“When she saw me play,” Ramos said this morning, his voice a little shaky, “she said, ‘That was my dream.’ ”
Ramos’s mother comes from a baseball family. Her brother, Ramos’s uncle, played professionally and rose to Class AAA in the Cubs’ system. She supported Ramos as he rose through youth baseball leagues in Valencia, Venezuela.
“All my career, she stayed with me,” Ramos said. “She brings me to the games. She takes care of me every time. In my mom’s family, everybody loves baseball.”
Ramos, a rookie who turned 24 this month, came to the Nationals last year after playing in the Twins’ minor league system since he 2006, when he was 18. Maria and Milanyela are staying with Ramos in his apartment through the weekend, touring Washington with a family friend who lives here now. He always wanted his mother to watch him play. Six years after he came to America, she did.
“It was very, very awesome,” Ramos said. “The first day, when my mom came, she was crying. She was crying when she saw me play the other day. It’s awesome. For her to see me play here, it’s awesome. I feel happy, very happy.”