Sean Kazmar Jr. has been married 11 and a half years to his wife Jennifer, the woman he calls the rock of the family, a former Arizona State University softball player who’s had his two children and who switched jobs from school principal to a full-time online job in order to help things run smoothly at home. She’s done this while he’s played minor-league baseball, season after season after season, pursuing his dream of returning to the major leagues.
“She is a saint,” Kazmar said. “She keeps us going. I feel bad – she always tells me she’s got three kids at home, so…God bless her.”
So when it finally happened, when the 36-year-old Kazmar finally realized what had become a seemingly improbable dream of returning to the big leagues for the first time since 2008, after Braves manager Brian Snitker told him late Friday that he would be suiting up Saturday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, and after Jennifer and Kazmar’s mother, Stacey, caught a redeye flight from Arizona to be in frigid Chicago for Saturday afternoon’s game, the long-awaited moment arrived when Kazmar was sent in as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning.
And Jennifer and Stacey were in a team store at Wrigley Field, buying a blanket.
“I already called them out on the video the Braves posted,” Kazmar joked, referring to a clip that showed his grandparents seated alone at Wrigley when he was in the on-deck circle about to pinch-hit. “I was like, ‘Hey, you guys know you got called out.’ I was able to see them right after the game, and my wife was like, ‘Oh my God, I was in the team store’ — she was freezing, obviously, coming from Arizona where it’s 98 degrees right now – she was like, ‘I wasn’t even thinking that a pitcher’s spot was coming up.’ So she was in the team story shopping, saw me on TV, and she said she dropped everything, didn’t pay for anything, and took off running. Left my mom there to pay for it. Pretty funny.
“But she made it back and saw the whole AB.”
Kazmar, a native of Valdosta, Ga., and his family live just west of Phoenix in Goodyear, Ariz. His mother lives on the other side of the Phoenix metro area in Mesa.