One proud grandma
Gail Brockman remembers so well the times when she played with her grandson, Jacob Ramos, when he was just a toddler, how she played catch with him with a little terry cloth ball and how the little boy giggled with delight at the game.
Fast-forward 12 years. Several days ago, Brockman sat in a Pennsylvania sports stadium and watched as 13-year-old Jacob played in the Little League Baseball World Series.
“To sit at these games and look at him out there, it’s just, oh my gosh, it’s just surreal,” said Brockman, a Port Aransas resident. “I’m 4-foot-10 and 75 pounds, and I feel like I’m 10 feet tall, and hey, my head won’t fit through the doors, I’m so proud of him.”
Jacob played right field for San Antonio’s Southwest team, which won four games in the world series before falling, 12-2, to the Chula Vista Blue Bombers of California in the U.S. Championship game on Saturday, Aug. 29, in South Williamsport, Pa.
The following day, the Blue Bombers beat a team from Taoyuan, Taiwan, 6-3, for the world championship. Jacob’s team lost that day to Mexico, which meant that his team came in fourth in international play.
Fourth place on the planet. Not bad – especially considering the fact that San Antonio Southwest actually beat the Blue Bombers, the eventual world champions, 6-3, in an early round in the world series.
Brockman, who works in a variety of roles at Seafood and Spaghetti Works in Port Aransas, traveled to South Williamsport and watched her grandson play in all seven of his world series games. Restaurant owners Jay and Stephanie Kenigsberg gave her the time off to do it. Co-workers pulled double shifts to give Brockman the opportunity.
Brockman said she was deeply grateful.
“I’m just overwhelmed by their support,” she said. “This has been a lifetime experience for me, it really has.”
Jacob had other Port Aransas relatives pulling for him too: His great aunt, Marilyn “Mimi” Hayden; and his second cousin, Ginny Hayden Moss.
“He’s such a great kid, just a great personality,” Moss said. “Baseball is a passion for him, and more than just a sport. That team worked really hard to get where they did, and he’s a vital part of the team. I’m just really proud of him.”
The Little League Baseball World Series began Aug. 21, with 16 teams from all over the world competing. The U.S. Championship game was televised live on ABC.
In addition to Brockman, some of Jacob’s other relatives traveled to South Williamsport to watch the world series, including the boy’s parents, Jay and Amy Duval.
Jacob, a big home-run hitter whose nickname is “Rocket” because he runs so fast, smashed a two-run homer to help lift his team to a 10-1 victory over a team from Peabody, Mass., in the first game of the series.
After that game, Brockman phoned her co-workers at Seafood and Spaghetti Works.
“I said, ‘I just want you to know, this is the grandmother of Jacob Ramos, who just hit a home run in the World Series!’ ” Brockman recalled.
Brockman said she was delighted to see her grandson attaining a certain amount of star status.
“Having people in the mall recognize him and come up and ask for an autograph!” Brockman said. “I was thinking: Oh, my gosh, that’s my grandson!”
Jacob had one of the better performances on his team in the championship game, scoring an RBI double.
Even though the San Antonio team didn’t make it to the world championship game, Brockman and her family were proud of Jacob and his teammates.
“Those boys are champions, absolutely, win or lose,” Brockman said.