Columns & Blogs

Zuanich's mom makes the most of stay in Tri-Cities

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

It’s a simple and encouraging thought meant to help us seek — and hopefully embrace — the bright side when life’s challenging moments come along.

That said, meet Erin Zuanich, who recently made the best damn batch of lemonade this side of the Rocky Mountains during a recent Dust Devils homestand.

Erin is the mother of Michael Zuanich, who began the season as Tri-City’s starting first baseman. She has spent a lifetime supporting her son’s baseball career and was thrilled at the opportunity to root Michael on during a five-game homestand against Everett from July 9-13. The icing on the cake would be the chance to celebrate her son’s 23rd birthday with him in person on July 10th.

So Erin flew up from her home in Los Angeles and arrived in Pasco the morning of July 9. Erin and Michael had lunch at Kimo’s that afternoon before she dropped him off at Gesa Stadium at 3 p.m. for the Dust Devils’ game later that evening.

What the two of them did not anticipate was an early birthday present from the Colorado Rockies.

“A half hour later, I got a text message from him saying, ‘Sorry to ruin your trip, but I’m getting promoted to Asheville (N.C.) and flying out tomorrow morning,” she said.

“I texted him back, ‘Are you happy?’

“He wrote, ‘Yeah.’ ”

Early the next morning, the proud mother took her son to Pasco Airport for what was in fact a very happy day. Michael — who, by the way, still leads the Northwest League with seven home runs — was getting a much-deserved promotion and Erin got to send him off with a big birthday hug.

One problem remained, however. WIth a non-transferable, non-refundable ticket, Erin still had four days left in Tri-Cities. Meanwhile, her son was long gone.

“I was so glad to be able to share his promotion,” she said. “His roommate, Shane (Lowe) was one of his teammates at Casper last year. He said he felt really bad for me.

“I figured I’ll just stay here and root for his buddies.”

The Dust Devils family treated her well during her stay. Sitting in the upper box section during a 2-1 loss to the AquaSox on Monday night, she was furnished with all the Dust Devils gear she could handle. The team even presented her with her son’s nameplate from the #30 jersey he wore in his time with Tri-City.

“I have a rental car with GPS,” Erin said. “I went to the Veteran’s Memorial and visited some wineries in Prosser and Benton City.”

The Dust Devils were certainly lucky to have had Michael Zuanich on the roster for the short time they did. He provided some memorable moments and gave fans plenty of excitement through the first three weeks of the NWL season.

But Tri-City was also lucky to have Erin Zuanich, who could have headed home when her son moved on to Asheville. Instead, she chose to support the Dust Devils, a team that helped revive her son’s promising career.

You’re always welcome back, Erin.

This time, the lemonade is on us.