Pietrus' birthday comes with mixed emotions

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Pietrus' birthday comes with mixed emotions

Mickael Pietrus will celebrate his 30th birthday on Tuesday in front of over 18,000 fans at the TD Garden during the Celtics-Bobcats game. But of all the people who will be in the crowd, one person will not be there, a harsh reality he has been living with since childhood.

I lost my mom when I was 9 years old, he told CSNNE.com. To me, a good birthday, anybody can give me a gift and you always have an appreciation, but its not coming from your mom. The person who raised you, who gave you that life every year, now shes gone. That doesnt make any sense to me. So I kind of take it from my heart and thats it.

Pietrus mother, Coco Claudine, was the center of his world. The youngest of his siblings, Pietrus was the baby and doted on by his adoring mom. Now the father of two children of his own, there are special moments Pietrus would like to share with his mother. Her passing is still incomprehensible to him.

She was sick and she could not take it anymore, he remembered. So instead of her suffering, God made that choice for her to rest in peace. That was when I was young. Its going to be a special day for me to be 30, to have two kids, but not having my mom around to play with my kids and stuff like that -- some people who are always hard on their mom, youve got to enjoy your mom. Youve got to enjoy your family because whenever stuff happens, you always have regrets and youre always going to miss them.

After his mothers death, Pietrus moved from France to the island of Guadelope to live with his grandmother. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2003 and has carried his mothers memory with him throughout the NBA since then.

When I step on the floor I pray for my mom, he said. I pray for my kids. I pray for myself, too, so everything goes right, I do the right thing on the floor to help my team be successful because at the end of the day, she always wanted to see me -- even though shes not with me -- have a smile on my face and go from here. Be positive in your life, dont look back, dont look at what I did for you, just do the best to raise your kids and educate them the best way you can.

Pietrus wants others to be happy because he knows the feeling of sadness.

With one of the most charismatic personalities in the league, he sings LMFAOs catchy song line, Im sexy and I know it, when the Celtics win; he dances to demonstrate his once sore back is no longer bothering him; and soaks up the spotlight when talking to the camera.

Pietrus also makes frequent mentions of his appreciation for life, a point he has emphasized several times this season.

I miss my mom, he said. People see me enjoy all this stuff, but at the end of the day Im trying to think of my mom every day.

Not wanting to let a moment pass him by, Pietrus is looking to seize the opportunity and help the Celtics win now. While he believes he can play another ten years in the league, he is focused on his role this season. The swingman is averaging 8.0 points per game and has given the bench an instant offensive spark.

My 30-year-old stage is trying to get something done in terms of basketball, trying to get a ring, he said. Between 20 and 28, you just want to show the coaches that youve got game, but at 30 youre more relaxed. They know what to expect from you on the floor as a professional and the coach respects you more because youre not like a young kid trying to show him what you can do. Thats what my 30 years old will be. Coach can trust me because now Ive got two kids and I have a family.

Pietrus looks forward to celebrating his birthday on the parquet floor. As always, he will approach the game with a positive attitude and soak up the energy from the crowd.

He will think about the one person he cant be with that day and appreciate the people he is with.

The game is like a fiesta, he said. People deal with so many issues at home and for me, to play in front of 20,000 people, they dont understand that Im trying to transcend a message. Life is short -- enjoy it. Im here to enjoy it with you. Bad time or good time, Im here to enjoy it with you. I see the smiles on all of the kids faces.

Every time Im out on the floor, enjoy it with me, ride with me.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Steve Bulpett joins Mike Felger to weigh in on the NBA trade deadline and the lack of moves made by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics thus far.