ATLANTA -- As Braves manager Brian Snitker reminisces about the opportunity he has had to cherish his entire adult life within the baseball world, he knows it would have been impossible for him to have successfully navigated this path without the assistance of his mother, Katherine, and wife, Ronnie.
"I've had two women who have been nothing but very supportive of me as I've chased a dream I've had all of my life," Snitker said. "Without them, I couldn't have done all of this."
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Long before he realized his dream to become a Major League manager last year, Snitker was a rural Illinois kid whose popularity was enriched by the fact that all of his friends and teammates knew they could always come to his house to eat a home-cooked meal provided by Katherine, whose motherly care extended to her career as a secretary at the elementary school located just a couple of blocks from the family residence.
"She was an unbelievable cook and my friends would always pop in," Snitker said. "They knew it was dinner time, so they were going to come over and eat. There was always a spot for them and always enough food. Right now, if I was going to the electric chair, I'd want her fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy and corn on the cob and green beans. That would be my go-to meal."
Katherine Snitker moved to the Atlanta area in 2003, just in time to enjoy some of the adolescent activities experienced by Brian and Ronnie's two children, Erin and Troy. She moved into an assisted living complex in Gwinnett County around the same time Snitker became Triple-A Gwinnett's manager in 2014.
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When Brian and Ronnie moved to Cobb County to be closer to SunTrust Park this past winter, they also relocated Katherine to a nearby assisted living complex. Every day, Ronnie provides her mother-in-law a schedule that includes meals and the time the Braves will be playing.
"She loves to watch every game," Brian said. "She's always loved being a mother. Her total life was for her kids. She did everything she could for her kids."
The same could be said of Ronnie, who has been with her husband every step of the way as he has spent the past four decades serving as a player, coach or manager within the Braves' system. She handled many of the daily parental responsibilities and spent many different summers taking the kids to whichever Minor League town was serving as a temporary home for their dad that year.
Now, along with enjoying the chance to help raise Erin's twin toddlers and watch Troy follow in his father's footsteps as a coach in the Astros' system, Ronnie is savoring the lifelong dream she helped her husband realize.
"Ronnie has been as big of a support system as my mom was when I was growing up," Brian said. "She's always been very supportive and understanding and the rock of everything we have done."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.