D-backs’ Christian Walker credits big night to mother’s homemade meatballs

Aug 27, 2021, 12:43 PM

Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run ...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker picked up four hits for the first time this season in Thursday’s 8-7 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

His secret: “magic meatballs.”

Walker grew up in Norristown, Pa., where he played high school baseball fewer than 30 miles away from Citizens Bank Park. So, 20-30 members of his family came out to watch him play Thursday, including his mother, Julie.

Walker during his postgame press conference said she has been the “team mom” for his entire life. He told her beforehand not to feel pressured to make anything, but she cooked more homemade meatballs than even manager Torey Lovullo could handle.

“I’ve been looking forward to those meatballs all year,” Lovullo said postgame. “His mom does an unbelievable job. I knocked down a good dozen of them.

“Look, the Italian comes out of me once in a while.”

Walker said his mom uses a family recipe passed down from one generation to the next. They take a lot of time to make, as he mentioned his mother and sister cooked them in sauce for three to four hours.

Julie made about 100 meatballs for the team in 2019, and they went quickly. Walker said that was not an issue this time.

“(Zac) Gallen will be glad to hear there’s like 120 of them in there,” Walker said. “I’m sure there are a couple containers still stashed. But other than Torey and like 30 or whatever he ate, I think everyone had their allotted amount so there should be plenty for tomorrow.”

Perhaps Walker is right that being reunited with what he called the “gold standard for meatballs and sauce” led to his big night. But Lovullo praised Walker’s recent approach and how he is seeing the ball.

“When you do that, surveying the strike zone, you are able to swing at the pitches you are looking for, which usually yields very good results,” Lovullo said.

Walker has heated up, batting .400 with a .500 on-base percentage in his last nine games.

For the D-backs first baseman, performing well in front of his family meant a lot.

“I want to give them a reason to cheer,” Walker said. “It’s a great feeling to do that in front of them.”

He gets three more games in Philadelphia to keep his hot streak alive. He just needs to get to the meatballs Friday before Lovullo finds the remaining stash.


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