Mom’s 82nd birthday would have been day after tomorrow, but she died last March, and I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around that fact.

Day after tomorrow we “should” be heading out to Safeco Field together, eating a copious amount of garlic fries, and rooting for the Mariners like they actually had a chance at being the American League West champions. It was our tradition to attend games every Mother’s Day and her birthday, without fail.

But Mom was buried on the Mariners’ 2013 home Opening Day, and a completely unexpected side effect of Mom’s passing was my total loss of interest in watching any baseball games. I haven’t tuned into the Root Sports channel even once this year.

Baseball was one of the things that most connected us. We often talked on the phone during games, particularly Sunday afternoons. During night games we sent numerous emails, ranting and raving about how even WE could coach better than the current idiot manager.

“Lou would be out there kicking dirt,” wrote Mom, referring to the Mariners’ heyday with Lou Piniella. “We need somebody with some backbone to get out there challenge that umpire’s call.”

“Memo to Melvin,” she wrote another time, “when there’s already a guy on second base, you do NOT signal the runner on first to steal!”

“Memo to Melvin” became our inside joke, causing us to collapse in fits of laughter, for many years after Coach Bob Melvin moved on.

On Mom’s 75th birthday, there were three generations of female baseball fans sitting together at the game. Mom, me, my sister and my niece all spent the afternoon at the ballpark. As a special surprise, I paid for Mom’s name to in lights on the scoreboard at Safeco Field after the second inning.

The sentiment expressed then, still stands, and always will: “Happy Birthday, Gerri Bono, You are Loved!”