A cart ride, beer, ‘cheering and hollering’: How Marlins celebrated Schumaker’s first win
The celebration began as most baseball celebrations do.
The Miami Marlins had just recorded the final out of their 2-1 win over the New York Mets on Friday, with A.J. Puk getting Jeff McNeil to hit a ground ball to Luis Arraez, who made the quick throw to first baseman Yuli Gurriel. First-year manager Skip Schumaker shook hands with his coaches in the dugout before making his way out to the loanDepot park field for high fives and congratulations from his players.
Schumaker’s immediately family, including his wife Lindsey and children Brody and Presley, soaked it all in from the stands.
“They leave on Sunday,” Schumaker said, “so it was like ‘Man, it would be really nice if we get one here soon,’ but yeah seeing them in the stands obviously them getting to experience it with me. I haven’t seen them in six weeks, so for them to see it in and to wave to them in the stands, that’s what it’s all about.”
The celebration continued in the clubhouse as most major milestone celebrations do. The victory Friday was Schumaker’s first as Marlins manager, coming in Game 2 of his tenure after Miami lost 5-3 on Opening Day.
And while Schumaker, humble as he is after grinding his way through an 11-year playing career that included a World Series win with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, pointed all the credit toward his players, the clubhouse made sure he had his moment.
They loaded their 43-year-old manager into one of the clubhouse laundry carts and rolled him into the showers where they drenched him with any type of liquid they could find. Beer poured over his head. Protein shake got into his ear.
“Beer, water, powder, everything that we had there,” said outfielder Jorge Soler, who hit a home run in the second inning and made two spectacular catches in right field.
“It was cheering and hollering,” Puk added.
And Schumaker’s thoughts?
“It was cold,” the manager said.
Schumaker said he hadn’t been the center of a celebration like that since he recorded his first MLB hit and first big-league home run — moments that date back to 2005 and 2006, respectively.
“It’s just a good group of guys and I’m glad I got to celebrate it with them,” Schumaker said. “Again, I didn’t win it. I know it goes on my record, but they won that game. It’s a player’s game. Players win you games. I’m just glad to be part of it.”
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And on this night, his players did their part.
Soler and Chisholm each hit home runs — Soler a 407-foot shot to right-center field in the second, Chisholm 411 feet to right in the eighth — to account for all of Miami’s scoring.
Starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo worked around four walks for 5 2/3 scoreless innings. The bullpen held the Mets to just one run over the final 3 1/3 frames, with JT Chargois maneuvering around an inherited bases-loaded, two-out jam in the sixth before throwing a perfect seventh and then passing the ball to Dylan Floro for the eighth and Puk for the ninth and the save.
“A really good team effort,” Schumaker said.
It’s the type of game that, while early in the season, shows what the Marlins can be and also what they still have to accomplish under their first-year manager. Miami, an underdog in the highly competitive National League East, is going to have to scratch and claw for many of its wins if it wants to stay relevant.
Good starting pitching. Scratch across a few runs, although taking advantage of more opportunities would be nice (Miami left seven runners on base and was 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position on Friday). Use the bullpen depth to maximize matchups and maintain leads or keep games close.
The formula is there. Win No. 1 came in the second attempt.
Now, the Marlins need to find a way to sustain it over the course of a six-month season if they want more wins — and the chances for more celebrations — to come.
But one thing is certain: The players have the support of their first-year manager.
And their first-year manager has the support of his players.
“We all work hard for this, but he’s worked extra hard,” Chisholm said. “He’s already had his career as a big leaguer. Now he’s starting his career in something else as a manager. He’s our leader, so it’s great to get the first one for him. There’s many more to come.”