It's debut season for these first-time fathers with the Marlins

June 15th, 2024

NEW YORK -- You’ll have to forgive Marlins second baseman for losing track of the days. Sleep has been hard to come by for the new dad.

After the final out was recorded in the Marlins’ 5-3 loss to the Rays on June 5 at loanDepot park, Lopez rushed into the clubhouse to check on the status of his fiancée, Marle, who was due to give birth to their first child. The messages reassured Lopez that he had time, so he booked the last departure from Miami to Orlando on the high-speed Brightline train.

“It was pretty awesome, just stay chill the whole time,” said Lopez, who didn’t have to worry about making the long drive north. “And when I got there, it didn't happen that quick, but at the same time I knew it was happening soon. I was happy to be there.”

With scheduled team off-days on Thursday and Monday, Lopez used them to bond with newborn Amelia Luz. Lopez and daughter even watched Marlins games on TV while he was on the paternity list.

Otto and Amelia Lopez watching a Marlins game on TV.

Lopez’s story is rather common among ballplayers, in particular first-time dads. His locker inside the visitors’ clubhouse at Citi Field was conveniently located near outfielder Dane Myers, whose wife, Mallory, gave birth to their first child, Daegan, in January. Myers is more than willing to offer advice, paying it forward after closer Tanner Scott did the same for him.

“I've talked to Tanner a lot,” Myers said. “Bo's not too much older than Daegan is, so I've asked Tanner, ‘How's month two? How's month three?’ And he's given me a heads-up on what to expect and things like that. It's helped a lot.”

Dane Myers playing video games beside Daegan.

The advice ranges: Be on the same page as the mother. Make sure to not only capture but also cherish the moments. Time together is precious and sacred.

Myers and Scott are quick to praise their wives, who hold down the fort while they’re on the road upwards of 81 times during a 162-game season. When the Marlins recalled Myers from Triple-A Jacksonville on April 28, Mallory packed their belongings and moved Daegan and their dogs to Miami.

Scott’s wife, Maddie, told the lefty to “go to New York and make the postseason push” after she gave birth to Bo in late September. Scott had missed the first two games against the Mets that final week of the regular season before arriving during the series finale. He would record saves in each of the next two nights in Pittsburgh to do as Maddie requested.

Tanner and Maddie Scott with Bo at loanDepot park.

“If I don't see him when we go on the road, or if I miss him for a couple of days, just how much he changes in a matter of three days,” Scott said. “He changes so much in 24 hours, it's crazy.”

That’s where being a dad on the ballfield differs from one in the front office.

Assistant general manager Oz Ocampo’s son, Keanu, arrived just after the Trade Deadline -- one of the busiest times on the baseball schedule. Keanu has tagged along with dad ever since.

A jetsetter with his own passport, Keanu has flown to Japan, where Ocampo signed pitcher Raisei Nakamura, and all across the United States. He attended Game 6 of the American League Championship Series and the Cardinals’ tradition-rich home opener against the Marlins on April 4 at Busch Stadium. Keanu and Ocampo’s partner, Kyra, were around for all seven weeks of Spring Training.

“He's watched more quality baseball over nine months than I certainly did over the first 18 years of my life,” Ocampo said. “We've been able to make everything work. Having him come to Spring Training was just a blessing. … Just seeing him run around with a walker and trying solid foods for the first time, experiencing a baseball field or a backfield -- all those things were just so special and made the balance between work and home life a little bit easier.”

Oz and Kyra with Keanu.

Director of Minor League operations Hector Crespo feels the same. His daughter, Quinn, like Keanu, has been helping out dad behind the scenes.

Quinn was born the day after the full squad reported to spring camp. Although she has attended games in Jupiter, Fla., where the family resides, she finally caught her first Major League contest on Sunday, when the Marlins hosted the Guardians. It was a momentous occasion since Crespo’s wife, Megan, grew up in Ohio as a diehard Cleveland fan.

“It's a really interesting dynamic,” Crespo said. “Funny enough, I've had multiple times where we're talking about roster moves on the phone while I'm feeding her. It's trying to balance being there for my wife but ensuring that the day-to-day work and operation of the organization is getting taken care of. It's amazing. I get to come home from work and I get to see her, and she lights up my day. It kind of gives me that added energy to get through the rest of it. It's definitely a balance, but one that's definitely worth it.”

Though the babies are too young to grasp what dad does for a living, the first-time fathers all relish the opportunity to bring them up in the game of baseball. The children have been able to walk on the outfield grass and sit inside the clubhouse.

Bo Scott in the Marlins' clubhouse.

Having a child puts things into perspective after thrilling wins and tough losses. Sacrifices are made. Lives change.

“If you've got be somewhere, you've got to plan way earlier,” Scott said. “That's about it. Everything else is the same. We like to bring him with us, so it's like a date night plus one.”