A’s Stephen Piscotty helps mom cope with ALS

January 29, 2018 - als

“She suspicion we could hear it,” a new Oakland A’s outfielder said. “Amazingly, that’s one of my favorite songs. I’ve always desired it.”

In May, Gretchen Piscotty was diagnosed with amyotrophic parallel sclerosis, a neuromuscular commotion also famous as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The illness is surpassing distant some-more fast than doctors expected, and Gretchen has mislaid many of her mobility. Speaking is apropos difficult.


So now it’s Stephen’s turn. He plays “Amazing Grace” for his mom on his guitar and it soothes both of them.

“Whenever we play for her during night, I’ll finish with that strain and it gives me chills, a good kind, when we play it, as good as a relaxing peace,” he said. “It’s only crazy a full-circle thoughts and emotions we get when we hear or play that song.”

Giants minor-leaguer Will LaMarche visited a Piscotty home in Pleasanton recently and he and Stephen played their guitars for Gretchen.

“Probably a final 10 mins was a many pleasing thing I’ve ever seen,” pronounced LaMarche, who played with Stephen during Amador Valley High School. “I’m ripping adult meditative about it. Gretchen put her iPad down and listened to Stephen take a lead, and we could clarity a mother-son tie there, we only could feel that bond.”

Piscotty is behind in a Bay Area full time and vital during home after personification for a St. Louis Cardinals for 3 years. The Cardinals, who drafted Piscotty out of Stanford in 2012, traded him to Oakland in Dec — a understanding that helped both teams from a business standpoint, yet also authorised Piscotty to spend some-more time with his bum mother.

New Oakland outfielder Stephen Piscotty, right, grew adult going to A's games with his father, Michael, and brothers Nick (left) and Austin (front). Photo: Courtesy Stephen Piscotty


The Piscotty home always has been a mark for friends and neighbors to congregate. Everyone in city seems to know father Mike, who works during Lawrence Livermore National Lab; Gretchen, who worked during Foothill High School, and a Piscotty brothers, Stephen, 27,

Nick, 24, and Austin, 21, who all played ball during Amador Valley.

“A lot of people have come around to help, it’s a covenant to how they’re seen in Pleasanton,” pronounced Matt Hoey, who also played during Amador Valley with Stephen.

What many impresses visitors is how typical a vibe is during a Piscotty place.

“I hung out like we always did and it was like behind to normal,” Hoey said. “There are day-to-day things to understanding with yet a mood is still a same.”

As many as 30,000 Americans are influenced by ALS, with 5,000 new cases diagnosed any year, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Scientists have been incompetent to pinpoint a means for ALS, and there is no famous cure, according to a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

“It’s unequivocally tough what they’re traffic with yet they’re doing it so well, they’re prepared,” pronounced Don Johns, who coached Piscotty’s Connie Mack League team. “It’s a tough disease. Gretchen is a trouper. When we went to see her, she was smiling and positive. Her opinion is so upbeat; she wants no pity. She won’t let a boys feel contemptible for her.”

Gretchen, 55, is as humorous as ever — she jokes that a time she was proudest of her Stanford connoisseur son was when he was potty trained. And when Stephen is asked if he has to do chores now that he’s behind vital during home, she fast answers for him notwithstanding a bid vocalization takes. “Yes, he does!” she pronounced with a laugh.

Gretchen was a high propagandize volleyball actor and she remained active, frequently operative out during boot-camp classes that compulsory her to flip tires. So when she began to have behind and feet issues final year, she insincere that she’d only trite it and that maybe a hoop was dire on a nerve. When a feet problem persisted, though, she got an exam.

“My feet wasn’t flush and my alloy did an MRI, that’s where it started. They couldn’t find a reason, so we finished adult during UCSF … and there we go,” she pronounced of receiving a diagnosis. “Your jaw drops.”

Stephen, afterwards in Los Angeles for a Cardinals array opposite a Dodgers, was jarred by a news. “We knew her feet wasn’t good and she was limping,” he said. “But we never design a worst. We suspicion she’d have behind medicine or something and would be fine. we remember removing a news and not wanting to trust it, or meditative that they were only observant it as a precautionary diagnosis. It became some-more genuine only discussion my mom’s voice on a phone; we could tell she was a small scared.”

Mike Piscotty, right, displays a jackets his dual sons Austin, left, and Nick, center, wore in a family print with their brother, Stephen. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle


Piscotty took several days divided from a Cardinals during a finish of May, and a family regrouped in Pleasanton. One early plus: Gretchen was a second studious in a nation authorized for a new ALS drug, Radicava, that is believed to delayed a course of a illness in some patients.

It did small to delayed things for Gretchen, however, and many as she fought it, she wound adult in a wheelchair in sequence to go see Stephen play in St. Louis final year. As a illness has advanced, she now uses a ventilator during times to assistance with her breathing.

“I consider we contingency have had (ALS) a longer time than we thought,” Gretchen said. “It was unequivocally slow, yet not on a behind end.”

Mike Piscotty, 55, did a lot of investigate about how to ready for a effects of ALS, and had a lavatory remodeled and acquired each bit of apparatus indispensable — including an RV with a lift that he bought in Kansas City, Mo., and gathering home. Stephen likes to play chauffeur for his mom and her friends.

“We’ve had some fun times in a RV, pushing it around, like a cab service,” Stephen said. “The store, movies, shopping, a spa. It’s indeed unequivocally good, since we dump them off and it’s a engine home, so we can ramble around, put your feet up, take a nap.”

The family attended Thursday’s Warriors’ game, and they took a journey to Hawaii in December, refusing to let ALS get in a approach of good times.


Oakland A’s pitcher Stephen Piscotty and his family arrive during Oracle Arena in Oakland on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. Video by Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle


Media: San Francisco Chronicle


Gretchen skeleton to attend A’s games during a Coliseum whenever possible. Their family and friends are gay that Piscotty will be vital during home when a group isn’t on a road, and as a bonus, a Piscotty residence are longtime A’s fans. Mike has had deteriorate tickets for some-more than 20 years; Austin even secure for Oakland opposite St. Louis. “I only secure for one man on a Cardinals,” he said.

For Gretchen, A’s games used to meant me-time while everybody else was during a Coliseum. As Stephen forked out, even a Piscotty cats, including stream proprietor Cooper (for Cooperstown), have been male.

“I had a residence to myself,” she pronounced with a smile. “I had a still dusk when Mike took a boys to a games.”

Also vital behind home is Nick, who is operative during a startup in San Mateo after pitching for Duke and earning his grade there. Austin is nearby, too, personification for St. Mary’s.

“With or though a illness, I’m really beholden they’re all tighten by,” Gretchen said. “I wish this wasn’t impacting them, impacting a family, yet I’m really beholden to see them. They’re all really proposal and caring and peaceful with me.”

More by Susan Slusser

She and Stephen always have been generally close. “It’s funny, it’s like what we see on TV, like, ‘You’re a hawk with a initial kid.’ On occasion, she calls me ‘The experiment,’” Stephen said. “We’ve always had that special bond, since she was always examination me so closely. That strengthened a relationship. It’s tough to describe, yet only by lifting me, she gave me everything.

“She’s so offset and so fun and pokes fun during us, and she reminds us there is some-more to life than baseball.”

And on those still nights when zero some-more needs to be said, Stephen can move out his guitar — it’s always tighten to hand, he pronounced — and play a strain that connected them even before he was born.

Tis beauty that brought me protected so far.

And beauty will lead me home.

Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: sslusser@sfchronicle.com

Twitter: @susanslusser

A’s FanFest

What: Kickoff eventuality for 2018 deteriorate includes designation and print sessions with stream players, former players including Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, coaches and broadcasters, along with Q-and-A panels and giveaway food trucks.

When: 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Jack London Square

Admission: free

source ⦿ https://www.sfchronicle.com/athletics/article/A-s-Stephen-Piscotty-helps-mom-cope-with-ALS-12526502.php

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