Baseball families are not an uncommon occurence in the MLB. From dynasties like Ray, Bob, Aaron and Brett Boone and Sammy, Jerry, Jerry Jr. and Scott Hairston to father-son combos like Ken Griffey Senior and Jr., Steve Lombardozzi and identically-named son, and Jackie Robinson and Matt Stairs (no one knows about this except Matt Stairs’ mother…not even Matt Stairs. so sssssh) What is less common is a family in which just an uncle and a nephew make it to the big leagues. That is the case for the Marrero family, however. Chris Marrero was the Nationals’ first round pick in 2006 and finally made it to the Show as a September call up last year, while his uncle Eli Marrero had a ten year career of backup catching for the Cardinals and then various other teams who quickly stopped wanting him. Eli is perhaps most famous for having Catcher +8 on his 2000 MLB Showdown Pennant Run card.
Eli takes his uncling duties very seriously. He has always viewed it as his responsibility to mold Chris into the successful major leaguer that he never really was and knew he never could be. Eli thought the best way to do this was to toughen Chris up. So, every year on July 2 (Chris’ birthday), Eli, in lieu of sending a birthday present, arranges an increasingly dangerous scenario for Chris to overcome.
He started out easy; on Chris’ 1st birthday, Eli sent some food that Chris wasn’t yet able to chew. On his 6th birthday, Eli sent a box filled with bees. On his 11th, Eli gifted a malfunctioning nail gun. On his 15th, Eli baked a birthday cake that said “To My Favorite Nephew!” on top written in frosting mixed with rat poison. On Chris’ 18th birthday, the day after he first signed with the Nationals, Eli told the Pentagon his brother was affiliated with Al Qaeda. Chris barely escaped the ensuing drone strike.
Last July 2, nothing happened. Chris was more horrified than he’d ever been. He lived every day in fear of what might be coming. After a few months of nothing, he finally began to think that perhaps Eli had tired of his tortures. He started to sleep at night again. Then one night in November, Eli snuck into Chris’ room at night and just set him on fire. “Gotta keep you on your toes, kid,” he said, as Chris screamed in agony.
Chris Marrero will be on the DL until May with a “torn hamstring.” He does not look forward to his birthdays.