Sign of normalcy: Rookies make coffee run

June 19th, 2021

CHICAGO -- Fans walking the streets surrounding Wrigley Field were greeted with quite the sight prior to Saturday's Marlins-Cubs matinee: Miami rookies making a coffee run.

It started at 8 a.m. when left-hander Trevor Rogers received a text message while he was still in bed. Team leader Miguel Rojas, who rejoined the Marlins for the series opener after missing 18 games with a dislocated left index finger, decided a quick turnaround after Friday night's 10-2 victory over the Cubs called for some caffeine. So he checked his GPS searching for the closest coffee shop and found a Dunkin' down the block.

Nine Marlins rookies -- Rogers, Jazz Chisholm Jr., Zach Pop, Anthony Bender, Cody Poteet, Lewin Díaz, Jesús Sánchez, Luis Marté and Zach Thompson -- walked over in their uniforms and cleats. (The 2019 rookie class had done the same, but the tradition was put on hold in '20 because of strict COVID-19 protocols.)

"It's always a fun time, especially after we haven't been playing good on the road," Rojas said. "We had a really good game yesterday. All the guys are feeling better today about the team or whatever, and sending the young players and the rookies to do something like that, it's always fun. This is the best place to do it. I think being in Wrigley in Chicago, it's a good experience for them, and we had a little fun with all the guys. It was fun to do it again. It's a tradition that we've been doing for a long time, so I'm happy that we got to do it again."

"I found out early morning that we were doing that," said Sánchez, who hit his first MLB homer in Miami's 11-1 win over the Cubs. "I thought they were kidding. I know sometimes some veteran players ask rookies to do certain things, but when [Magneuris Sierra] told me we were doing it I was like, 'OK, let's go. Let's go for it."

Rojas entrusted Rogers with his credit card, calling him the most responsible guy of the group. Rogers also handled the list, which included coffee with a dash of cinnamon for team interpreter Luis Dorante Jr. and two dozen doughnuts. But Chisholm splurged and asked for three dozen as well as a package of munchkins. The total came out to around $80.

"It's going to be a great start to the day," Rogers recalled when he saw the initial text. "It's an honor. I didn't let that card out of my sight. Felt really good in the back pocket, metal card not plastic, so that's high up there. It was an absolute honor. It's just part of the whole rookie deal, and it's always fun to look back on this when rookies come up and [I say], 'Hey, I had to do it, you're going to have to do it,' so it's all fun."

Rogers, the two-time reigning National League Rookie of the Month, was surprised by how many people recognized him. Fans stood in disbelief outside the Dunkin' trying to get a look. Others entering the store were unaware until stepping inside. With the order in tow, the Marlins crossed the intersection of W Addison Street and N Sheffield Avenue. Rogers stopped to sign autographs on several occasions. One fan asked Chisholm to say "Hi" to a friend of his over the phone.

"First year, it helps I have my jersey on, but it was still pretty cool that many people in Chicago knew who I was, so that was pretty cool," Rogers said.

As the rookies neared the player entrance, veterans Richard Bleier, Anthony Bass and Dylan Floro clapped overhead. At the beginning of the month, the Marlins had a team outing to Niagara Falls. Earlier on this trip, a handful went on a tour of Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis. A few of the relievers visited Chicago Music Exchange on the off-day. The Marlins consider themselves a tight-knit group, and team bonding activities like these help.

"That was not planned, really, but it worked out well," Bleier said. "There's a nice sitting area out there, and then we realized that they were on their way back. So we waited for them to come back, and it ended up being a funny thing there where we got to cheer them on coming back."