Like his family, Cardinals’ Tommy Edman a student of the game

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While Tommy Edman was growing up in San Diego, he wasn’t aware of many major leaguers with backgrounds similar to his own. He is Korean American on his mother’s side and has fond memories of multi-course Korean meals during holiday celebrations with relatives in Los Angeles.

Today’s aspiring ballplayers have an easier time envisioning a path to the big leagues. In Edman, they see an Asian American star with the 11-time World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, who conclude a road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday at 11:35 a.m. ET on Peacock.

Edman, 27, is a sublime defender and won his first Gold Glove Award last year. Offensively, his OPS has jumped around 100 points from 2021 to 2022, and he leads the National League with eight stolen bases. He’s competing with Jazz Chisholm of the Marlins and Jeff McNeil of the Mets for National League All-Star recognition at second base.

If he’s selected, Edman will be introduced as a first-time All-Star at Dodger Stadium — where his mother, Maureen, fell in love with the game as a young Dodgers fan.

As Major League Baseball celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, it’s difficult to find a more compelling story than the Stanford graduate who is distinguishing himself on a star-laden Cardinals roster alongside names like Pujols, Molina, Wainwright, Arenado, and Goldschmidt.

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“Hopefully I can set an example for Asian American kids across the U.S. and be that role model of what it looks like to be an Asian American in the big leagues,” Edman told NBC Sports during a recent telephone conversation. “Hopefully kids can look to me and see that it’s possible, that they can have a good chance to make the big leagues.”

Edman is among more than a dozen Asian Americans or Pacific Islander Americans to appear in the major leagues this year, along with Dane Dunning, Keston Hiura, Connor Joe, Gosuke Katoh, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Steven Kwan, Rob Refsnyder, Kurt Suzuki, Mitch White, Connor Wong, Kolten Wong, and Christian Yelich.

Congress formally designated May as AAPI Heritage Month in 1992, and Edman said he’s noticed greater public attention on the observance during the last several years. “I think it’s great to celebrate all the races that make up America’s demographic,” he said. “It’s cool to get recognized in this context and have this month to celebrate Asian heritage. In baseball, we’re seeing a greater influx of Asian players coming to the U.S., especially with (Shohei) Ohtani and (Seiya) Suzuki from Japan.”

RELATED: Ohtani homers again, leads Angels past A’s 4-1

Edman also played alongside Korean left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim in St. Louis during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Although Edman speaks limited Korean, he learned about the country’s baseball culture from Kim, who returned to pitch in the Korea Baseball Organization this year.

“I always noticed the respect he showed to the coaching staff, to his teammates, and to the fans, as well,” Edman said. “The other part was how much fun he had. No matter how he was performing individually or what was going on with the team, he was always up in the dugout, cheering everyone on. He was a really great teammate. He never lost the joy of the game.”

The Edmans can be described as one of the first families of American baseball in 2022, given the breadth of their impact on the game: Tommy’s parents are graduates of Williams College in Massachusetts, where his father, John, was a standout shortstop. John worked as an assistant baseball coach at the University of Michigan while earning his master’s degree in statistics (Tommy was born in Michigan during that time). John is now a math teacher and the head baseball coach at La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day School, where Tommy starred on his dad’s team.

In fact, both of Tommy’s siblings have worked in Major League Baseball: His brother, Johnny, is a data quality engineer with the Minnesota Twins, and his sister, Elise, worked for the Cardinals as a systems engineer before leaving earlier this year to join a mobile technology company.

The family connections produced one heartwarming moment in the trying 2020 season: Johnny, whose role as a team employee enabled him to attend MLB games closed to the public, witnessed Tommy’s home run against the Twins in Minneapolis — and was later given the baseball to bring home.

The brothers don’t talk too much about work, but Johnny playfully affirms the degree of difficulty in Tommy’s defensive plays — and the rare baseballs he can’t reach. “He’ll show me a play and say, ‘You had a 10 or five percent chance of making that catch,’” Tommy said. “I’ll just laugh and say, ‘That ball landed 50 feet away from me. How could I have gotten anywhere close to it?’”

Tommy is interested in becoming a baseball executive when his playing career is done. After all, he’s the only one of John and Maureen’s children who has not worked in an MLB front office.

“I have to live up to my siblings,” Tommy said, matter-of-factly.

Left unclear, of course, is which Edman will be the highest-ranking club official by then.

Will Tommy hire Johnny? Or the other way around?

“Johnny will be a GM by then,” Tommy predicted.

Tommy also has the background of a future general manager — even without his All-Star-caliber performance on the field. He returned to Stanford after his first season of pro baseball to complete his degree in mathematical and computational science. The Cardinals excused him from their Florida State League affiliate for a couple days so he could receive his degree in Palo Alto alongside his friends in the Stanford Class of 2017.

Edman’s diligence as a student is reflected in the way he approaches his craft, including the discipline required to maintain his swing from both sides of the plate.

“A big part of my development over the last couple years has been developing consistency and a routine at the big-league level,” Edman said. “Being an everyday player over the 162-game season, you really need to figure out how to get your work in while staying fresh for the game.

“That’s the fine balance I’m learning: You can’t take 200 swings every day and expect to stay fresh for 162 games. Each swing you take pregame needs to be with a purpose — and as a switch hitter, anything I do involves double the swings. A big part of that is learning my swing, such that every swing I take is working on a good habit.”

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For Edman, mental preparation is equally important. As game time nears, he focuses less on batting cage work and more on his approach against the opposing pitcher’s repertoire. Edman analyzes base stealing with a similar blend of information and instinct, scrutinizing the rhythms of pitchers and how closely they hold runners.

Edman said he’s amazed at the endurance of lessons he learned while playing for his father at La Jolla Country Day. When father and son talk baseball now, John rarely offers critiques of Tommy’s play. Instead, they review unique moments in recent games that John can share with his own players.

“He likes to ask about fun things that happened during the games,” Tommy said. “He’ll always ask questions about what was going on in certain situations. There’s not really any advice given. It’s more curiosity. He’s still a high school coach, and he loves looking at the game that way.”

From Williams College to Stanford University — and MLB front offices to the field of play — the Edmans never stop learning.

Jon Paul Morosi is an MLB Network broadcaster and baseball insider. He joined NBC Sports as a contributing writer in 2022 after covering baseball for MLB.com, FOXSports.com, the Detroit Free Press, and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Morosi has covered 12 World Series and baseball stories in Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.

Mr. Stats’ Notes: Playoff picture starts to take focus

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This is the time of year that baseball turns from a marathon to a sprint. The Toronto Blue Jays are steps ahead of other teams for a spot in the postseason. Toronto finished one game out of the playoffs a year ago. Will this year be different?

On Sunday, in a game streamed on Peacock beginning at 12 pm eastern, the Blue Jays will play the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 2021, the Jays finished one game behind the Yankees for the Wild Card; and 39 games better than the division rival Orioles. Can Baltimore pass Toronto in the final weeks to nab the third and final Wild Card?

It’s time to sharpen up the predictions to pick out some potential October matchups and storylines.

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Wouldn’t it be something if…the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series?

Well, not the 2022 Pirates.  But several former Pirates.

The 2017 Pirates team had Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in their starting rotation. By 2018, Cole was gone but Clay Holmes was in the Bucs pen.  If the New York Yankees win the 2022 World Series, it will almost certainly be with heavy lifting being done by Cole, Taillon, and Holmes. Jameson (12-4, 3.97) leads the Yankees in wins. Cole is their ace. Holmes should be the closer.

And if the New York Mets win the World Series this year, they will lean heavily on two other Pirates from those Clint Hurdle-managed teams. The Mets don’t hurdle through the National League without Starling Marte and, to a lesser degree, Trevor Williams.  Marte is slashing .309/.359/.511 with 41 extra-base hits in 93 games since May 1, and for the season his bWAR is 3.7. Williams, meanwhile, has not allowed a run in a career-high 24.0 straight innings. Trevor has a 0.88 WHIP, a .190 opponent’s average and a .483 opponent’s OPS during that span.

Pittsburgh fans can find someone to root for even if the San Diego Padres win the World Series (Joe Musgrove), or the Atlanta Braves (Charlie Morton) repeat.

2022 MLB on Peacock schedule: How to watch, live stream Sunday morning baseball games online

Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals beat the Mets in the postseason (with Adam Wainwright getting the final outs)?

In 2006, the Mets won 97 games. The Cardinals won 83 games. But the two teams met in the NLCS, and in Game 7, the Cards had a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the ninth. Rookie Adam Wainwright closed it out, slamming the door and eliminating the Mets by striking out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded to end the game.

Wouldn’t it be something if all these years later, the Cardinals once again eliminated the heavily-favored Mets in the deciding game with Wainwright (9-9, 3.09) on the mound!

And if that happened…

Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals beat the Yankees in the World Series (with Jordan Montgomery eliminating his former team)?

Jordan Montgomery was traded from the Yankees to the Cardinals in exchange for Harrison Bader. Montgomery, in his first five starts for St. Louis, is 4-0, with 1.76 ERA and a WHIP of 0.815. How great would it be for Monty, who started the season as the Yankees’ No. 3 starter, eliminates New York.

Of course, October is a long way away. Perhaps Harrison Bader will run down a long blast by Nolan Arenado or Paul Goldschmidt to save a game for the Yankees.

I know what you’re thinking. Even if the Cardinals make the World Series, the Yankees may fall in the ALCS to the Astros. And if that were the case…

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Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals and Astros meet in the World Series, a rematch of the 2004 NLCS (when St. Louis won) and the 2005 NLCS (when Houston won)?

Albert Pujols was the MVP of the 2004 NLCS versus the Houston Astros. Albert batted .500 (14-28 AB) with 1.000 SLG, 1.563 OPS, and 4 HR in the series! Imagine if he has a surge in the very late stages of his career. In the 2005 series, he hit a ninth-inning blast off Brad Lidge that’s a signature highlight in a career full of them.

I know, the Cardinals are a long shot. The Mets have a much better chance of reaching the World Series. So:

Wouldn’t it be something if…Buck Showalter finally makes the World Series in his 21st year as a Major League manager…and loses the Series when the Yankees bring in a reliever named (check notes…) Zack Britton to slam the door on Buck’s Mets?

Well before Timmy Trumpet, Showalter once had an elite reliever in his stint with the Orioles, Zack Britton. In 2016, Britton saved 47 games in 47 save opportunities. The Orioles won 89 games in 2016, and played in the one-game Wild Card in Toronto. The elimination game was tied 2-2 after five innings. And six innings. And seven innings. And eight innings. And nine innings. And ten innings. Buck kept waiting for his Birds to score a run, to bring in the great Britton to close out the Jays. Trouble is, he never did get Zack into the game, and eventually Ubaldo Jimenez lost the game for Buck in the 11th.

Just a thought. If there’s an opportunity to get Edwin Diaz late in a tie game on the road, do it. If you go down, go down with your best.

RELATED: Rogers: Mets are ‘built for postseason’

Wouldn’t it be something if Buck Showalter finally makes it to the World Series against the Astros and Dusty Baker? One of them has to win, right? Please tell me someone has to win.

Is it even remotely possible that Dusty’s team blows another series lead? Baker shouldn’t have lost the 2002 World Series to the Angels, or the 2021 World Series to the Braves. He shouldn’t have blown a 2-0 series lead to the Giants in a 2012 best-of-five series. He shouldn’t have blown a three-run lead with five outs to go in Game 7 of a 2003 series to the Marlins. And only Dusty — poor Dusty — can have a lead after four innings of a winner-take-all game, bring in Max Scherzer — and still lose the game and series, as Dusty’s Nats did against the Cubs in 2017.

Wouldn’t it be something if the 2022 World Series were a rematch of the 2017 World Series? Only this time, Clayton Kershaw pitches on a level playing field, if you know what I mean. Man, it would be great to see Clayton start a game in Houston.

Remember what happened when Kershaw started Game 5 of the ’17 series in Houston? Clayton was unhittable in Game 1 of that series at Dodger Stadium; but in Game 5, Kershaw blew a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning, and a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth.

I know Kershaw found redemption in the 2020 World Series in Arlington, Texas against Tampa Bay. But I want more. I want Clayton to shut down Altuve, Bregman, and Gurriel in Houston. In a World Series. Wouldn’t that be something?

And if the Astros defeated the Dodgers, I would feel so glad for Dusty Baker, who would have a World Series championship as a player for the Dodgers (in 1981) and as a manager against the Dodgers (41 years later, in 2022).

RELATED: Astros ace Justin Verlander placed on IL with calf injury

Wouldn’t it be something if someone other than the Astros or Yankees made the World Series?  Wouldn’t it be something if the Mariners defeated the Yankees?

Time for a little history lesson. In 2001, the Mariners had a historic regular season, winning 116 games. But they lost the ALCS to the Yankees in five games. In Game 5 at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees blowing out Seattle 9-0 and eventually eliminating them 12-3, the Bronx crowd chanted “Over-rated” at the Mariners.

Classy, I know. But wouldn’t it be something if the tides were reversed a generation later, and the heavily-favored Yankees fell in Seattle, with the Pacific Northwest crowd serenading the Yankees with the “over-rated” chant?

Wouldn’t it be something if…Rays manager Kevin Cash refuses to take out a starting pitcher that is on his game?

Wouldn’t it be something if…Bryce Harper finally was part of a winning playoff series? Harper appeared been in four Division Series as a member of the Nationals, and lost all four. 

Wouldn’t it be something if…Francisco Lindor makes the World Series against his former Cleveland team and manager Terry Francona?

As the rock group Green Day sang, “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”

MLB schedule 2022: Every Sunday morning baseball game on Peacock, matchups, what to know

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Sunday baseball is officially coming to Peacock this May! 18 MLB games will be featured on the streaming service starting with the Chicago White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Sunday, May 8 at 11:30 p.m. ET. See below for the full Sunday baseball on Peacock schedule.

Sunday Baseball on Peacock schedule

Date Time Matchup
May 8 11:30 a.m. ET Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox
May 15 11:30 a.m. ET San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves
May 22 11:30 a.m. ET St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
May 29 11:30 a.m. ET San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds
June 5 11:30 a.m. ET Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees
June 12 11:30 a.m. ET Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Guardians
June 19 Noon ET Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals
June 26 Noon ET New York Mets at Miami Marlins
July 3 Noon ET Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers
July 10 Noon ET Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles
July 17 Noon ET Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays
July 24 Noon ET Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies
July 31 Noon ET Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays
August 7 Noon ET Houston Astros at Cleveland Guardians
August 14 Noon ET San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals
August 21 Noon ET Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians
August 28 Noon ET Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins
September 4 Noon ET Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates

How to watch the MLB on Peacock                              

Baseball is back and for the first time ever MLB games are coming to Peacock this May, featuring a total of 18 Sunday match ups. Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch MLB games live on Sunday mornings!

The first MLB game on Peacock will take place on Sunday, May 8 at 11:30 a.m. ET as the Chicago White Sox battle it out with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The game will also be available on the NBC broadcast network.

In addition to MLB games, Peacock will also feature a new MLB hub which will include access to highlight packages and award-winning documentaries from the MLB Film & Video Archive.

Opening Day for the 2022 MLB season takes place on Thursday, April 7 and the league will stick to its original slate of 162 games despite a 99-day-lockout. For more on the 2022 MLB season click here.

See below for additional information on how to watch MLB on Peacock.

How can I watch baseball on Peacock and what devices are compatible?

Peacock is currently available on the Roku platform; Amazon FireTV and Fire tablets; Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices including Android™, Android TV™ devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices;  Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation4 and PlayStation 4 Pro; Samsung Smart TVs; VIZIO SmartCast™ TVs; LG Smart TVs; Comcast’s entertainment platforms including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, and XClass TV; and Cox’s Contour and Contour Stream Player devices. To learn more about Peacock and how to sign up, visit PeacockTV.com.