This year, Mother's Day came one week early for Sandra Romero.

The mother of the Blue Jays No. 1 starter Ricky Romero got to spend some quality time with her son during the Blue Jays' recent West Coast road trip to Anaheim.

It was a rare opportunity to connect during the middle of a season that sees her son play the majority of his games on the other side of the continent.

"It's the best," Romero said of the Blue Jays only trip to Anaheim this season. "Obviously I play far away in Toronto, and they really don't have a chance to come and watch me play a lot.

"Every time I pitch they're watching on TV, but when you come here, for me, it's time to spend with them. This time around I didn't pitch so I had a little bit more time to spend at home and be around them. It's definitely something special."

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Toronto's trip to Southern California has turned into a family affair not just for the Romeros but for the rest of his teammates as well. An annual tradition sees the Romero clan play host and cook a big feast at their home just a short drive from Angel Stadium.

The number of guests has grown every year, and this time around there was more than a dozen Blue Jays in attendance for a meal which features the mexican dish carne asada, along with beans, rice, guacamole and homemade salsa.

Romero's father, Ricardo, grills the meat while his mother takes care of the rest, and it's easy to see why people keep coming back year after year.

"It's turned into a little tradition, and something the guys look forward to," Romero said. "They've already tasted her cooking, and they love it, so they want to keep coming back. It has turned into a pretty cool thing that we're doing with bringing the guys over.

"It's just a big food party. We have it there, and a lot of the guys look forward to it. We do it in Spring Training, and we do it in Anaheim as well."

The appreciation goes both ways. It allows Sandra and her family to build relationships with the players Romero spends most of his time with during the summer months.

The bond that has been built was evident at the ballpark in Anaheim. Prior to the start of batting practice at the onset of the series, countless Blue Jays players went over to hug and share a laugh with the Romeros, who were in attendance at field level.

Romero presented Sandra with an early Mother's Day cake, and posed for pictures with his brother and two sisters. It was a special moment for the mother who gave birth to someone who fulfilled every kid's dream by eventually making it to the big leagues.

"Ever since he was little he was really into baseball," Sandra said. "He was always ready, he always got us going in the morning like 'Come on, get up, because we don't want to be late.'

"I thank God every day for the way we raised all of our kids. I feel very proud of our Ricky."

Romero is equally as proud of his mother and the family's roots in East Los Angeles. Sandra, who still works as a bus driver in the area, has always served as inspiration for the left-hander, who has become one of the top starting pitchers in the American League.

"The reason I wore a big league uniform is because of her," Romero said. "The hard work, the dedication and the work ethic that she showed me throughout my life has been something that I take with me each and every day. That's why, when I put on a Major League uniform, I don't ever take it for granted."