Giants rookie Casey Schmitt's goofy personality inspired by tragedy, obstacles

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 03: Casey Schmitt #6 of the San Francisco Giants looks on from the dugout before the game against the Seattle Mariners at Oracle Park on July 03, 2023 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty I

On a game day at Oracle Park, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone having more fun than Giants rookie Casey Schmitt. 

Schmitt, who got called up to the major leagues in early May to help swing the momentum of what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Giants. 

He quickly became a fan favorite due in part to his contagious laugh and self-described "goofy" personality. 

"He’s silly, he’s funny and he doesn't take himself too seriously," his mother, Tina Schmitt said. 

Casey Schmitt in little league. (Credit: Schmitt family)

But Casey Schmitt's silliness is a purposeful characteristic the 24-year-old has worked on over the years. 

In the face of personal tragedy that for some would have been insurmountable, Schmitt uses it as a source of inspiration to overcome any obstacle. 

His first big tragedy hit when he was just 7. 

"We heard this really loud crash, and then we heard our older son Nick, he was screaming bloody murder," Tina Schmitt said.

Her husband, Dan Schmitt, had fallen 18 feet head-first off of a ladder while building a patio cover at the family's San Diego home. He was unconscious. There was blood everywhere. 

Dan Schmitt was rushed to a nearby hospital. 

"They told us we couldn’t go in the ambulance because they didn't think he was going to make it," Tina Schmitt said. 

Dan Schmitt spent the next seven days in a coma. When he woke up he had severe brain trauma and memory loss. He remembered his family, except for Casey. 

Casey Schmitt remembers that day vividly. 

"When you’re younger your dad is like a superhero, nothing was going to hurt him," Casey Schmitt said while sitting in the Giants dugout before a game. 

So, 7-year-old Casey made it his mission not just make sure his dad would remember him, but also to ensure that his Dad made a full recovery. 

Casey Schmitt was there every step of the way.

Dan and Casey Schmitt. (Credit: Schmitt Family)

He attended his father's rehab appointments and was a frequent visitor at the brain trauma center where his father spent hours every day. 

Dan Schmitt remembers his son's tenacity. 

"I remember if there was a time when I couldn't do it or I was tired, he kept pushing me," Dan Schmitt said. "He was a little guy and he’s telling me to do that. I would say ‘you know what I can’ and I would, it helped both of us."

Casey Schmitt, who was in third grade at the time, requested that his teacher send him home with an extra homework packet, so that Dan Schmitt could work on strengthening his math, reading and writing skills. 

The teacher graded both father and son's packets.

Baseball, a game Casey started playing at the age of 3, was also a motivation for Dan Schmitt to get better. 

"I remember going to Little League games with him, and him sitting at position, he would look at me and wave and I would do what I could to wave back," Dan Schmitt said.  "I think that was inspiration to him to say you know what I'm going to make you get better. And he did, that was one of the things that helped me through my rehab. I want to see him get to high school I want to see him play in college."

Not only did Dan get to see Casey Schmitt play in college and high school, but he was there for his son's major league debut -- where his first hit was a homerun.

"I actually look up to Casey even though he’s my son," Dan Schmitt said. "I see what he does and it makes me not take things so seriously."

But Dan Schmitt's struggles weren't the only one Casey Schmitt had to face. 

Nearly 15 years after his dad's accident, one of Casey Schmitt’s best friends and teammates, Micha Pietila-Wiggs, died unexpectedly in a car accident. 

"He took it really hard, it was difficult for him," Tina Schmitt said as she fought back tears.

Casey Schmitt and teammate Micha Pietila-Wiggs. (Credit: Schmitt family)

Just as the Schmitt family had turned to Casey Schmitt in their time of need, the Giants turned to him in theirs.

The Giants asked Casey Schmitt gave the eulogy at the funeral. 

He shared a story about falling asleep at Pietila-Wigg's house when the two were teenagers. Micha took the opportunity to put a snake on a sleeping Casey, who said snakes were his biggest fears. 

The packed church, roared with laughter. 

In baseball and in life, Casey chooses to look on the bright side because he knows how fast it can all change. 

"The experiences that happen in your life they progress and its just kind of gives you a different outlook on everything," Casey Schmitt said. "It changes how you look around and it keeps you centered."