(In Photo: Dante & Mariana Bichette)
Dante is a grounded young man and it all stems from great parents, Dante Sr. and Mariana, so we decided to give you all a treat on this Mother's Day. We decided to interview Mariana Bichette to talk about her great family and life in baseball and the New York Yankees. Happy Mother's Day, enjoy this.
1. You’ve been surrounded by baseball for quite a while now with baseball great Dante Bichette being your husband. Can you explain to our readers what makes this game the greatest game in the world to you?
Mariana Bichette: You have to know that when I met Dante I did not know anything about baseball. So my appreciation for the game is probably a lot different than that of your readers, meaning that the beauty I find in the game is not always in the actual game, the actual things that happen inside the lines. What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about baseball is that there is hope all the way until that last out is actually executed, that any team can beat any team at any time, and that it forces a player to continuously adjust and to think. I have seen every type of player succeed and every type of player fail.
2. Who are some of the players you've met over the years that have really impressed you, personally and athletically and why?
Mariana Bichette: There are players I've met that left an impression with me. For instance, Ted Williams. The first time I spoke him was because I answered the hotel phone and someone asked me to let Dante know that Ted Williams has been following his career and just wanted to say congratulations for being named to the All Star team (1994). So, when I see Dante I say, " Some guy called to congratulate you..." Ridiculous. How can I not know Ted Williams. Anyway, when Dante was inducted in to Ted's Hall of Fame in 1995, Ted was brought to tears when he was given a medal for his military service (for which he gratefully and proudly missed four years of MLB service I'm pretty sure). So as I am learning about the game and its history, I meet arguably one of the best hitters ever and it meant at least as much to him to serve his country as it did to play baseball. That is thought provoking and super humbling.
I always was interested in talking to Derek Jeter, never have, but he impresses me with what I know from simple observation. Albert Pujols, same thing. I count Joe Girardi among the good guys for sure. We only played with Sean Casey a year but I don't know what he looks like NOT smiling. And one of the best outward transitions after baseball I have seen is Eddie Taubensee. He seems to be fulfilling his calling more so now than even when he played.
3. One of your sons, Dante Bichette Jr. now plays minor league ball for the New York Yankees. Explain your reaction when he was drafted.
Mariana Bichette: Ha ha, the video of the moment is on Youtube (HERE)- one of his friends caught it I couldn't believe! There's a lot of screaming coming from inside our house, that's kind of all I remember. I was breathing a little easier every time he was passed up and then I couldn't breathe the whole time right before the Yankee's pick. That was just PERFECT. D has always been a "big stage kind of kid" so what could be better than that, really?
4. As a parent you want what’s best for your children, but you also want them to work at it. Describe how you and Dante enforce a good work ethic for your children?
Mariana Bichette: This wasn't the easiest thing, because my kids grew up not only with money, but also with both parents basically as stay at home parents. Dante retired when D was 8 and Bo was 3 so how much they remember about their parents' focus, determination, struggles, who knows? I am not sure we did the greatest job until we saw some things we didn't love. Their work ethic definitely stems from learning to work until the day's goal was accomplished, baseball wise. Dante has thrown and I have shagged BP for ten years and we have at least another six to go. But, when you don't just drop a kid off at some lesson and instead get out there in the heat and work alongside them, it's rare the kid is going to let mom, out last him! It's a lead by example kind of thing. We've really never forced work- just told them, here is your dream right? We say "here's what it is going to take and here is what you need, and we are in there with you every step, unless you don't work."
5. We interviewed Dante Jr. here at Bleeding Yankee Blue and we came away really loving this young man. He has a great head on his shoulders. What do you love best about Dante as a man? As a ballplayer?
Mariana Bichette: I was just telling (big) Dante that I love that D can take criticism, and sometimes pretty harsh criticism. He just wants to learn. I think that is an amazing quality. He doesn't give up on anything and he understands that anything he can do is first because he is blessed in a million kazillion ways. He is just fun, too. So fun. He can just make any everyday thing... funny. He is proactive and always wants better, even when he's "good".
6. When Dante was little, did you and your husband know he would take an interest in baseball? Why?
Mariana Bichette: No. I didn't have him sit at every game with me- he did everything from acting to soccer to guitar to swimming... I could go on. My mom would say that she always knew; she says that anytime D found a stick he would run to show her and swing it like a bat. So who knows! We tried to push him toward tennis actually, but he chose baseball and here we are.
7. How have the Yankees treated Dante throughout his training? What are some positives about the organization?
Mariana Bichette: What I have experienced for D is exactly what I would have asked for in some really important aspects of his young career. Obviously we feel that D has been handled well. Treated isn't the word I would use, because you know, you can't really worry about how you are treated. But as an organization with plans for these players, the Yankees seem to have a plan for "raising" their future and I think they are wise about how they are doing it. I could not be happier with the thought process that guides D's development this first year that I have had experience with it.
8. What’s a perfect Mother’s Day for you?
9. Do you ever read Bleeding Yankee Blue? If so, what would you like to say to our readers?
Mariana Bichette: I have read it, and as you know I follow the Twitter feed. I love when people are into their teams. And I think your readership is unique in it's following of the minor leagues. That's great. BYB seems to be different than some blogs out there... Your organization does a tremendous job of encouraging these kids to success. You guys are a much bigger part of the same outcome for some of these boys than you probably think you are. I know they all thank you for your support and want to make all Yankee fans proud.
Mariana, Thanks so much for taking the time, Happy Mother's Day. And to all our readers, Happy Mother's Day to all of you.
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