On Erick Salcedo‘s forearm is a tattoo. On that tattoo is a crown on one end and a flower on the end, both flanking the name ‘Elisabeth.’

Not be confused with his wife, Elizabeth, the tattoo is symbolic of his princess, Elisabeth.

“We wanted the same name, but we changed the letters so she could (also) have the name,” said Salcedo. “We have our daughter now, so that’s awesome that our family’s growing.”

The story of the Salcedos is a Minor League Baseball match made in heaven. He was a player. She was in the front office.

“We met in 2016 when I was playing with the Frederick Keys,” said Salcedo. “I got a date with her and we started talking. We found out that we were a good couple (and) everything was going well. A couple months later, we got married and we’re still together, so that’s a good thing.”

In Elizabeth, Salcedo has found the perfect teammate when the grind of the season hits its peak. What’s so great about her, you ask?

“Everything. She’s a great woman,” said Salcedo. “She works a lot and doesn’t depend on anyone. She’s independent (and) I liked that. I thank God for giving the opportunity to put her in my way. She helps me a lot. The times when I don’t have a good day, she’ll always talk to me and say ‘that’s okay. It’s just a game. Not every day is going to be good.’”

The Salcedos married on August 29, 2016, and life was going pretty well. Then, a pleasant surprise came their way.

“We weren’t planning a baby, so we were surprised when she got pregnant because our lives changed (instantly),” said Salcedo. “I give all the thanks to God for sending that little angel to our lives and making our lives happier.”

It’s easy to say that one’s life changes the minute news of a child is mentioned, but the Salcedos had to change many aspects of their life in order to prepare for the little bundle of joy.

“It changed a lot because we got a responsibility with our first child,” said Salcedo. “It was a little difficult because we had never been parents before. We became comfortable and we talked a lot. My brother has a little girl, too, so I had a little time with them while I was vacationing with my parents in Venezuela. I was a little scared yet comfortable at the same time because I know how to handle babies.

“Now, I think we are the greatest parents ever. If I can do everything for her, then I am going to and my wife does the same. The time when I’m working is hard because I’m home one week and gone the next week. My wife has to work, too, so (Elisabeth) started day care when she was a little younger.

On September 23, 2017, Elisabeth was born, sparking a wave of emotion from both parents.

“I cried the first time I met my daughter,” said Salcedo. “We were done with the season and we were on vacation. The first time we went to the hospital, we didn’t know it was a girl. It was a surprise, so I was excited to see if it was a girl or a boy. The doctor brought her out and he said ‘I know what it is!’

“I was excited and when I first heard her cry, I started crying. It’s emotional. It’s crazy. You saw your wife with a big belly, and then the baby’s out (in what feels like) 10 minutes and crying. There’s life (and) it’s great. Seeing my daughter was the best moment in my life. It’s the best.”

With the pre-birth preparation and the birth both complete, the life adjustments began taking shape.

“Weekends change. Days change. Now, the first thing I do when I come back home and speak with my wife is call the baby (and) we read a book and start singing to her,” said Salcedo. “Every morning is awesome because the first time you wake up, you’re going to see your daughter and I love it. I take her to daycare every morning when I’m home. Sometimes, I spend more time with her and play with her.

“You have to be mature when you have a little child because you have to change her diaper, fill her bottle, everything. You have to be a man, not a young guy anymore.”

Having Elisabeth around has also changed Salcedo as a ballplayer. Regardless of how he does on the field, life is a bit brighter with his wife and daughter in the stands.

“My daughter makes me happy every day and night after the game, no matter how I do,” said Salcedo. “If I go 0-4 with four strikeouts, it doesn’t matter. When I see (them), it changes my night and it makes me happy. It’s great seeing my wife and my daughter after the game.”

As a new dad in a MiLB clubhouse, Salcedo has sought advice from the other parents in his life, which has helped to make the transition into fatherhood that much easier.

“I like to talk to Coach Keith Bodie,” said Salcedo. “He’s a great guy and he has a family, too, with three kids. When I don’t know anything, I like to ask because we’re not perfect. I’m learning to be a dad. I (also) like to ask my mother-in-law because she has more experience with children.

“Every day, you learn something new from the baby. They make noise, they talk, they walk, they cry because they’re hungry-all those little things you have to learn. It’s good experience to talk to someone who knows more about kids. It’s going to make me a great parent.

Soon after Elisabeth was born, Salcedo traveled to Sarasota to join the Orioles for Spring Training 2018. The goal is the same, but the king now has some added motivation to make sure his queen and princess are taken care of.

“I talked to them every single day when I was in Florida for Spring Training and that made me stronger and helped me achieve the goal,” said Salcedo. “If I make the Big Leagues, then it’ll change everyone’s life. (They) help me achieve the goal and get better at my game and making decisions.

“I want to be the best dad. I want her to learn from me. I want to give her the best, so she can be a great woman when she grows up.”

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

By Robby Veronesi / Bowie Baysox