WACHA! WACHA!: Cheering Cardinal Star From Iowa
A Nevada couple has seen a lot of their grandson from their Story County home this month and so has the rest of America. Beginning Wednesday, they’ll see even more.
There’s no pride like a grandparent’s.
“He’s just a very loving, loving boy,” says MaryLynn Siefken of Nevada, “always has been.”
In Nevada, the home of the Cubs, there’s a beaming house of Cards.
Gary and MaryLynn Siefken are the grandparents of Michael Wacha, the hottest pitcher in baseball.
“He gives us the ‘Wow Factor’ in our life, right now,” Gary says, “and ‘Wow Factors’ don’t come that often for older people.”
This month, the opponents’ frustration has been the Siefken’s delight.
“Oh, well I was sitting right in front of the TV, screaming and yelling like he could hear me!” MaryLynn laughs.
“I say ‘Woman, you’re gonna have a heart attack sitting there yelling, just calm down just a little bit!’” Gary adds.
Three post-season wins, an NLCS MVP, a Thursday start in the World Series, all at 22.
“People say ‘I didn’t even know this kid, but I know you and it’s just so exciting,’” MaryLynn says of her neighbors.
The Siefken’s daughter, Karen, met Tom Wacha in Iowa City. Three years after Michael was born, Tom was transferred to Texarkana, Texas and the family now only makes it back here for holidays.
Does Michael qualify as a real Iowan?
“No,” MaryLynn admits, “I think he’s a Texan.”
While Texas and Iowa lay claim over Wacha, the Siefkens are being charmed by St. Louisans on their trips to Busch Stadium.
“They just think he’s wonderful,” MaryLynn smils, “I mean, any place you go and you say ‘I’m Michael’s grandparents”….well, they take pictures of you!”
Gary chimes in with his favorite story from Game Two of the NLCS in St. Louis.
“Yadier Molina the [Cardinals'] catcher was right behind [Michael[ and I said ‘Yadi, can I get you to sign my cap? Michael is my grandson.’ And he said ‘Sure’ so he signed it over here. And then he whispered to me ‘Your grandson is the real deal’ and I said ‘Really!’”
Really. And it could get even better. But remember, these are grandparents whose cups of pride were already overflowing.