How the MLB lockdown complicated Tommy Edman’s Christmas dinner

How the MLB lockdown complicated Tommy Edman's Christmas dinner

SAN DIEGO — The baseball lockdown is complicated on many levels, but perhaps nowhere was it more complicated than at the Edmans in December.

In theory, anyway, Major League Baseball protocols prevented two of John and Maureen Edman’s children, who worked in analytics for major league organizations, from talking to the third, a hard-hitting infielder .

“It was definitely a weird scenario,” John Edman said over coffee this month. “They joked about it a lot.”

Inside, the baseball talk took place during the family’s Christmas gathering, as reception staff aren’t allowed to speak with the players. But at the table, they thought it was OK for Elise to ask her brother Tommy to pass the pepper.

“But they sat me in another room, and we had one person going back and forth passing messages between me and my brother and me and my sister,” Tommy said. He was joking.

Among baseball’s many charms over time are its various royal families who have passed down hardball from generation to generation: the Bells (Gus, Buddy and David); the Motas (Manny, José and Andy); the Alous (Jesus, Matt, Felipe and Moises); the Ken Griffeys (Sr. and Jr.); and Bobby and Barry Bonds.

Here’s an updated baseball dynasty for modern times.

Tommy Edman, 26, is a second baseman who won the Golden Glove in 2021 for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Johnny Edman, 28, is a research and development data quality engineer for the Minnesota Twins.

Their sister, Elise, 23, was a systems engineer with the Cardinals for most of the past two years before leaving last month for a job in mobile technology.

“Being in our family, it’s hard not to talk about baseball,” Tommy said.

John Edman, the family patriarch, played shortstop at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., majored in economics, minored in math, then earned a graduate degree in statistics at the University of Michigan while working as a graduate baseball assistant coach for the Wolverines. He is in his third decade as a high school baseball coach and is entering his 22nd season coaching La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego, where two of his players have gone on to majors – his son Tommy and Alfonso. Rivas, a first baseman and outfielder who was called up by the Chicago Cubs last summer.

“This marriage would never have worked if I didn’t love baseball as much as my husband,” said Maureen Edman, who watched Dodgers and Angels games every night growing up in Southern California. . When she returned to Williams for studies at the end of the summer, her mother, in the days before the Internet, sent her sports sections of the Los Angeles Times so she could keep up with baseball news. in his hometown.

Maureen and John Edman’s children inherited the math genes – and the dirt on the court. Johnny, who majored in applied math at Wheaton College in Illinois, was the scorer for his father’s teams by the time he was a freshman, working so well with a PalmPilot that adults were baffled when told asked to work on his system. Tommy majored in math and computer science at Stanford before St. Louis selected him in the sixth round of the 2016 entry draft. Elise majored in computer science and minored in data science while playing volleyball at the Davidson College.

“I realized I had no future playing, but I always knew the other side of the game,” Johnny Edman said. “‘Moneyball’ was one of my favorite books.” He added: “I love the numbers, I love how it can help in making decisions about player acquisitions and player development.”

His mother, comparing him to the Oakland Athletics executive at the ‘Moneyball’ center, said: “He basically wanted to be Billy Beane. We did that math and we said, ‘Johnny, you know, it would be easier to to be Wil Myers. There are more players than GMs in the majors.

Johnny Edman interned with the San Diego Padres in 2016 and furthered his data engineering experience by later working for a tax compliance software company. He also played in a fantasy league where players started the season “owning” an organization that included “a complete minor league system with full roster rules, officiating, full 40-player roster,” he said. he declared. “You had a salary cap based on a reasonable amount to spend on your team. You’re signing players, you really have to think about how you want to sign guys, unlike your standard fantasy baseball leagues.

He bought the Minnesota Twins in that league, so it was fortuitous that soon after the real Twins had an opening. Johnny Edman was hired in 2019.

“Our guy, he loves the game just like his brother. When I watch his brother play, I think of how Johnny is in the front office,” Derek Falvey, president of Minnesota baseball operations, said at GM meetings in November, when executives could still discuss players. . “He likes to talk about everything. It’s a bit disjointed. That’s how I see his brother on the pitch, isn’t it? He is involved in everything.

Tommy Edman was called up to the Cardinals for a game at Wrigley Field on June 8, 2019. He provided such a spark in what was expected to be a short stint, hitting .304 with a .350 on-base percentage and 15 interceptions. , that never returned to the minors. He was instrumental in helping St. Louis advance to the National League Championship Series against Washington this fall, though his success caused a headache: he and his wife, Kristen, who played softball in college, rushed to postpone their wedding, which had been planned for after the minor league season.

“Obviously that’s one of the only valid excuses to put off a wedding,” Tommy said.

The only surprise bigger than Tommy Edman’s rapid rise was Elise’s entry into professional baseball.

“I actually wrote my college essay about how I would hide in my little toy pink tent when I was younger and avoid watching baseball games at all costs,” Elise said. But the game grew on her, and she eventually became a team leader for her father’s high school team.

When she learned of an opening with the Cardinals nearing graduation, she applied and was hired in May 2020. It was during coronavirus lockdown season, and “she was actually able to go at a game because she was in the front office, and my whole family was jealous of her,” Tommy said.

Johnny liked to tease Elise about how she had become Tommy’s co-worker. “She used to laugh,” Johnny said. “But I don’t think she thought it was that funny.”

In Minnesota that summer, Johnny Edman was allowed into the stadium because he was using the Trackman system, which records the trajectory and rate of spin of balls thrown and hit. When the Cardinals arrived in town and Tommy hit a home run, Johnny caught the ball, which now sits on a mantel in his house.

Sometimes their baseball world has been awkward.

Johnny kicked off his first day on the job in Minnesota with a Cardinals bumper sticker on his 2009 Toyota Corolla, which caused a lot of excitement. He fixed that by adding a Twins license plate frame.

Then, during the 2020 season, the brothers met for coffee, outdoors and socially distanced, when St. Louis played Minnesota in the Cardinals’ final two games before an outbreak of coronavirus in the organization does not lead to a two-week break.

“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, this might spider just because he saw his brother,'” Falvey said. Fortunately, neither Tommy nor Johnny were hurt.

December, however, presented its challenges. Before the Edmans navigated the conversational chasm over Christmas, Elise married Patrick Casey, who played basketball at Davidson, shortly after the owners locked out the players. As her big day approached, Elise’s fellow Cardinals teased that she wouldn’t be able to speak with her own brother at her wedding.

“Now I can talk to him, so that’s an added bonus,” Elise Casey said, due to her non-baseball job.

When the lockout ends, Johnny is eager to reclaim his divided loyalties at work.

“I usually have my TV and my computer on, one on the Twins game and one on the Cardinals, so I can follow how we’re doing and how he’s doing,” said Johnny, who feels lucky to be in the league. facing his brother so that he doesn’t feel guilty for supporting a second team.

Or, as Tommy Edman put it, “If he worked for the Brewers or the Cubs, then he’d be really hard pressed to choose who to cheer for.”