Mixture of happiness, chaos greets Marlins' call-ups
As thrilled as Andrew Heaney, Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Bour and Jake Marisnick were to be recently promoted to the Miami Marlins, the moves did not come without some logistical challenges.
Andrew Heaney was one of four Miami Marlins call-ups who flew from Albuquerque to Atlanta before reaching their final destination.
Steve Mitchell / USA TODAY Sports
By Christina De Nicola
It is June 15 and the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs have just beaten the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Manager Andy Haines calls four players -- left-hander Andrew Heaney, right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, first baseman Justin Bour and outfielder Jake Marisnick -- into his office.
One by one, he tells each of them they're headed to the big leagues.
But there's plenty to do before then, like alerting family members around the country -- in Heaney's case, Oklahoma -- about the news.
"I called my wife and told her and then I called my dad because it was Father's Day and I felt like he should obviously be the next person," Heaney said. "I had to call him five times. He was asleep because we were an hour behind in Albuquerque, calling at 11:45 p.m. non-stop. Got a hold of my mom after that."
A travel itinerary is waiting for each player at his locker. The quartet is scheduled to leave Albuquerque on Monday morning on a connecting flight to Atlanta and then to Miami.
"It's a lot to take in at once from the time Andy told me I was getting called up to about 2 o'clock dealing with phone calls trying to figure stuff," Bour said. "My cab was at 4 o'clock, so I stared at the wall for two hours before I got on the flight. It's a lot, but it's a great problem to have."
Marlins representatives pick them up at the airport and bring them straight to the ballpark where they arrive around 2:45 p.m. Monday for a 4 p.m. stretch and 7:10 p.m. ballgame against the Chicago Cubs.
So rare is the occasion of four transactions on the same day that president of baseball operations Michael Hill joked it was hard to find seats on the flights on such short notice.
Heaney actually sat in coach -- in a row with more legroom -- while the rest got put into first class.
"When we were walking off the plane I turned around to all of them and was like, 'There are four of us going to the big leagues,'" DeSclafani said. "You see one, maybe two at the most. There's four guys. The clubhouse is cool and we all got told and everybody was jacked up. It was cool traveling together."
Marisnick, who earned his first call-up last July as a 22-year-old with Christian Yelich, had a better go of things this time around.
"Last year was worse," Marisnick said. "My stuff got lost, so I was living on one little suitcase. We only went on a four-game roadtrip. Only packed a couple shirts, a pair of jeans. My suitcase got lost coming here, so I had to live on that for a week and ended up having to buy a bunch of clothes."
Last week when the news was delivered, the Zephyrs were on the seventh day of an eight-game trip. As a result, all four guys have been wearing the same clothes and washing them over again.
DeSclafani, whose girlfriend was supposed to surprise him upon his arrival back in New Orleans, finally caved and bought Dri-FIT shirts at an Academy Sports store.
The 24-year-old made his big-league debut May 14 in Los Angeles, going six innings and allowing two runs for the win. He got one more start before being sent to Triple-A New Orleans.
"I've been living out of a suitcase since I got called up last time," DeSclafani said. "I've got some more stuff now, but my car was here for the whole month I was in Triple-A, so I actually went to the store and bought a couple more shirts and had a rotation going."
Living out of a suitcase is nothing new for minor leaguers. One never knows if and when a ticket will be punched to the Show.
Bour, who wears contacts, always carries a supply in his backpack. The 26-year-old never travels without the necessities, which came in handy after spending a week with the Marlins at the beginning of the month.
Like his teammates, however, Bour needed a button-up shirt shipped for the road. While DeSclafani has his car, the others must go through the process of getting them sent down.
In the meantime, they rent cars to get around and hope they don't get lost around unfamiliar Miami neighborhoods. Heaney's wife actually dropped him off at the ballpark prior to Thursday's debut against the New York Mets.
When they get back from a four-game set in Philadelphia, the 23-year-old hopes to have his living situation settled. The organization puts them in the team hotel until they decide to get a place.
"Other guys on the team help you out," Marisnick said. "Can't worry about it. Whatever happens, happens. Find a ride, get a rental car. It's moment to moment. It's hard to plan ahead when something like that happens."
And once the excitement dies down, family members start leaving.
Heaney's uncle had a flight the morning after his debut. His dad and stepmom departed on Saturday. Before everyone went their separate ways, they ate brunch at Green Street Cafe in Coconut Grove, as recommended by teammates and staff.
"It's been good. There have been times of peace and chaos," Heaney said. "All kinds of different emotions."