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MLB.com Columnist

Meggie Zahneis

Schumaker discusses life away from field

Schumaker discusses life away from field

Schumaker discusses life away from field

MLB.com Columnist

Meggie Zahneis

Meet Skip Schumaker, one of the newest Cincinnati Reds.

Schumaker, a California native, is a nine-year MLB veteran. He spent his entire career in St. Louis until December 2012, when the Cardinals dealt him to the Dodgers for Minor League shortstop Jake Lemmerman.

All that you can find with a quick Google search of Schumaker's name. But, in his own words, here's what you don't know about him.

"I am married with two kids. I have a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter who take up the majority of my time," Schumaker said. "But the time I do have by myself -- when I don't go to school [after dropping out of college to enter the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Schumaker is working on getting his degree], I surf. I like to surf a lot. I feel like the ocean and the beach are stress relievers. My dad was in charge of the lifeguards for 30-plus years in Los Angeles County, so I grew up around the water."

And if Schumaker hadn't carved out a career for himself playing baseball?

"I don't know what I would be doing," Schumaker said. "I've always been so focused on trying to make it as a professional baseball player that I haven't really thought about doing something else."

But he's got a plan for after he hangs up his spikes.

"I want to do something in baseball. Coaching in some capacity, probably high school or junior college at the highest level," he said. "I don't want to travel anymore. I think when I am done playing baseball, I don't want to be away from my kids. So any type of travel is not good for me."

Speaking of kids, Schumaker's son and daughter appear to have inherited his athletic genes.

"[My son is] 6 and playing baseball, basketball and soccer. He's a pretty good little athlete," Schumaker said. "My daughter is into dance and soccer. They are so young. I want them to experience everything and not feel the pressure to do anything.

"My son -- I hope he ends up trying to do something other than baseball. I don't want him to feel like he has to live up to anything or feel any pressure. Maybe he will find something else, like golf, or something else besides baseball that he is into."

Giving back to the community is one of Schumaker's biggest priorities. Near and dear to his heart is the Jessie Rees Foundation. Named after 12-year-old Jessie Rees, who died in 2012 after a battle with brain tumors, the Foundation's goal is to support cancer patients and their families.

Jessie Rees spread positivity to her fellow cancer patients through her slogan, Never Ever Give Up, and through the now-trademarked JoyJars Jessie created during her fight with cancer.

In addition to being heavily involved in the Jessie Rees Foundation, Schumaker makes it a point to instill volunteerism in his kids.

"[At Christmas time] we don't make it a huge deal of opening a ton of presents," Schumaker said. "We like to go to different places and help out. I think that is important for my kids to see. It's not about getting a lot of presents, but going to different houses and helping families. We adopt a family through our church, and I think that is more important than opening a ton of gifts."

But Schumaker's not above asking Santa Claus for one special gift.

"Once you have kids, you just hope that they have a good year, in school, healthy, whatever it is," Schumaker said. "My focus is on my kids now. So Santa ... I'd take a World Series ring with the Reds. I'll take one of those."

Meggie Zahneis, winner of the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest, earned the job of youth correspondent for MLB.com in the fall of '11. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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