JUPITER, Fla. — If you go to a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium, I'd bet you'd still see a few Skip Schumaker 55 shirts and jerseys floating around out there.
The outfielder/second baseman was a fan favorite in St. Louis from 2005 to 2012, and was still beloved by the fan base as a Dodger and Red in the latter part of his career.
Now, Cardinals fans will be seeing a lot of Schumaker wearing the birds on the bat. He'll just be on the bench this time.
Schumaker, 42, was named bench coach on manager Oliver Marmol's staff for 2022, and is in his first Cardinals Spring Training from the coaching side.
And yes, at first it was a bit odd for Schumaker to act as a coach for guys he played alongside, like Adam Wainwright.
"It was (weird) at the beginning when I first took the job. But now that we're in a groove... Wainwright and I sat in each other's rooms on the road for a long time just talking baseball. It's no different than right now just bouncing ideas off of each other. It's also more than just baseball. It's life stuff. So really lucky to still have him part of my everyday life," Schumaker told our Ahmad Hicks at Cardinals camp in Jupiter.
Before returning to St. Louis, Schumaker was the associate manager of the San Diego Padres. And it wasn't a slam dunk that he'd leave that job to come back to St. Louis.
"Quite honestly a little bit," Schumaker said about if it took him a bit to say yes to the job. "I have two kids, 14 and 12. They're not gonna travel with me as much anymore because they have their own school and sports that they're in to. And I don't want to take them away from their friends. So, coaching is challenging on the family, and being a player is challenging on the family. So it took a little bit of time to think about it. But Marmol's such a great guy, I've known Mo for a long time and Wainwright's one of my best friends. So all things considered, It took me a little bit, but I couldn't wait to get back."
Even though he may not have said "yes" right away, Schumaker said he's always been trying to find the culture he experienced as a player in St. Louis.
"I was traded and you kind of try to find the culture that you had here. And it's not everywhere. It's a special place," Schumaker said. "I'm just so blessed to be back. I was a player, now a coach and get to see this side of things. Lot of familiar faces again, and there's no better fan base than this one. So I'm super excited."
Part of that Cardinals culture Schumaker described is the will to win. Schumaker played in 22 postseason games as a Cardinal, and got a ring with the 2011 team. He's hoping to help continue that mindset as a member of the coaching staff.
"This organization knows what winning looks like. Anything less than a World Series or getting deep into the playoffs is unacceptable. Every other team is saying that right now, but this one actually believes it. The guys in the clubhouse believe it and it's fun to be a small part of that," Schumaker said.
As far as goals go, Schumaker said he always wants to keep learning. And getting another ring to add to his 2011 one would be a nice touch, too.
"I think if you're not growing you're not learning. So I want to learn. I want to keep growing. These guys have been really successful for a lot of years and I want to learn from some really good players like Goldschmidt and Nolan. I want to learn from their system and how they develop guys and just be a part of this system and hopefully win a championship. I'd like to learn how to win a World Series as a coach," Schumaker said.