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Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Marlins pitchers share bond
Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Marlins pitchers share bond

Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Marlins pitchers share bond

MIAMI – Like Mel Stottlemyre Jr. sees it, he has six children: three of blood and three via baseball.

For eight months of the year, “Sons in the Summer” acts as a support system while away from the Idaho family. Marlins mugger Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers, in particular, has shared a special bond with him for the past three years.

“Being a pitching coach is not just giving one of your players analysis, or it’s not just going out to the bullpen,” said Stottlemyre. “It’s not just giving them things in the game quickly. There has to be some trust. And the only way it can happen is time, and it kind of goes back to building those relationships. As much as I stay out. “Their business off the field, I try to take an interest in their lives. These children have come a long way.”

Stottlemyre’s philosophy can be traced to his father, Mel Sr., who was also a former big league and longtime pitching coach. Mel Jr. admired the relationships his father cultivated with his pitches – from Andy Pettitte to Roger Clemens to David Cone – more than any feedback or game plan.

Although Stottlemyre is not a psychologist, much of what he does overlaps with the teachings of the discipline. He has read Harvey Dorfman’s groundbreaking literature, and used it to help not only his jars but also himself. Stottlemyre also talks to Ruben Aybar, the club’s mental skills coach. He has been able to transfer his father’s experiences as well as his own to coaching. It is an added benefit that the children’s age overlaps with the young Marlins he has had the fortune to shape in the early stages of his career. And although Stottlemyre cannot ground his jars or send them to their room as he could with his own children, they embrace the tough love and honesty. It’s all with the understanding that it is to help create the best version of oneself and achieve greatness.

“There are things that are bigger than baseball, and I think Mel really understands those things, and he uses those things to create those relationships,” López said. “And finally, in the long run, it just makes the job easier, knowing that there are bigger things out there. He shows you the same or even more support when these things happen than when you are struggling or doing well during baseball. season. Mel is just a wonderful person. He is always there for you and it goes back and forth. Mel sometimes works so hard and he has days when he may not feel good. He is overwhelmed and it goes both ways. very good at talking to us, communicating, and if he ever needs support, we’ll be there to give him that. “

Much of it stems from their shared experience of baseball as a haven.

In 2019, Stottlemyre lost his father to blood cancer. His saving grace was the arrival of Spring Training, where he could be around his jugs and deal with grief. In July 2020, López’s father, Danny, died. Stottlemyre understood what López went through every time he walked away from the baseball field – how the feeling of loneliness and emptiness could run wild. So Stottlemyre made sure to send an SMS to López every night. If he had no idea López was in good headspace, he would call. To this day, they talk to each other about fathers and mental health.

When Alcantara’s mother, Francisca, died in JulyStottlemyre went to López and asked him to make sure he was there for his baseball brother. It was a moment in full circle, when López was able to be the shoulder of the starting staff’s ace to lean on. López explained how one could grow and develop around that pain, how grief would become easier to deal with over time.

“Mel, Pablo and all the guys here in Miami, we’ve all been together, we’re all been like a supportive family,” Alcantara said. “When it happened to my mother, all the text messages were sent to me to try to give me support. I felt sad because I lost my mother, and I felt happy because they gave me that support. They knew I needed that support. “Because I lost something very important in my life. I’m here, and I feel happy because Mom’s there with God, and she’s supporting me from there. I’m blessed.”

One month later, Rogers took time off from the team in the middle of an NL Rookie of the Year run. (He wanted to end that tour.) Both of his grandfathers died within a week in a row, and his mother, Colleen, was transported to a hospital and put on a respirator due to a pneumonia after COVID-19. Stottlemyre activated dad mode, sending text messages on a daily basis to send his thoughts and prayers. That meant a lot to Rogers, who did not think many coaches would go out of their way to check up on a player and his family.

“When I heard that news, I did not immediately think of baseball at all,” Rogers said. “All I thought about was being there for my family, being there for my dad, because he needed someone there. It really put things in perspective as with all the pressure that this game can bring, sometimes at the end of the day, it is still a game.You still want to perform, of course.But at the end of the day it’s a game, and your family always comes first.

The difficult news continued at the end of October, when it was revealed that Stottlemyre was working on the 2021 season with prostate cancer after being diagnosed in February. The 57-year-old kept his health a secret because he did not want to put even more burden on the pitchers. It was a choice he did not take lightly, and at times it made him feel guilty.

As soon as they knew, Stottlemyre’s baseball sons immediately checked on him and returned the service by showing concern and offering support. The strong-willed Stottlemyre, who begins his fourth season as a pitching coach in 2022, knows that when his time as a mentor is over, that trio will still be a part of his life.

“They give a lot of meaning to life, the three of them and Elieser [Hernandez]also, “said Stottlemyre.” They want to know when I’m having a bad day. And believe it or not, there have been times they have come away and put their arm around me and know that I have had a bad day and have lifted myself up. They make sense because of everything we have invested in our lives. They make sense of what I do, and when they do great things, I feel so happy. The joy of watching them grow as people and as pitchers, and do what they do, and know that I had a small part in it. At the end of the day, I can go home and I can feel really good about something. “

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