Marshall couple balances busy days
Cubs pitcher fighting for spot, wife local news celebrity
MESA, Ariz. -- On Saturday, Alexis DelChiaro didn't have to get to the television studio in time for the 5 a.m. "Fox 10 Arizona Morning" show. Instead, she was in Phoenix in time to watch husband Sean Marshall, a pitcher for the Cubs, get his first Spring Training start against the Oakland Athletics.
DelChiaro and Marshall then returned to HoHoKam Park in Mesa so she could do a promotional spot on WGN television for the Cubs Wives Food Drive, to be held March 14 and benefit the Paz de Cristo.
Marshall, battling for a spot on the Cubs' final 25-man roster, met DelChiaro three years ago. The left-hander was in Minor League camp, and she was working at an NBC station in Yuma, and visiting Phoenix for the first time.
"That was her Minor League job," Marshall said of her Yuma gig. "I was doing my Minor League job here."
She joined the Phoenix morning news show as a co-anchor, and the two were married last November. Marshall is trying to move up as well.
"I'm just trying to pitch well enough to have a spot on the team," he said. "I want to help this team win. If I pitch well enough and earn a spot in the rotation, that's good. If I pitch well enough to come in and pitch innings in relief, that's fine. Whatever's best for the team."
On Saturday, Marshall gave up two hits over his first three innings against the Oakland Athletics, then hit Jack Cust with a pitch in the fourth. Marshall did not walk a batter, but was charged with two wild pitches in 3 1/3 innings.
The Cubs plan on carrying 12 pitchers when they break camp, and Marshall could either win one of the spots in the rotation or be an extra lefty in the 'pen. Last season for the Cubs, he was 7-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 21 games, including 19 starts. He made 24 starts in 2007, but has yet to stick for a full season with the big league team. Marshall was slowed by his left shoulder last spring, but this year, all has gone well.
"We're on schedule -- I'm right on schedule," he said. "Hopefully, I'll be ready to go by the season. My arm feels good and strong. I'm ready to pitch, ready to win some games."
Being married to a local celebrity, and someone in the media, is interesting. DelChiaro has yet to interview her husband.
"She talks about the Cubs [on the air]," Marshall said. "She's not supposed to be biased. She works here in Phoenix, and the home team is the Diamondbacks. It was a little interesting last year during the playoffs, with the Cubs and D-backs rivalry."
DelChiaro had to take some ribbing from coworkers as the Diamondbacks swept the Cubs in the National League Division Series. Last spring, her station sent a reporter to the Cubs camp to do a feature they called, "Alexis-palooza." Bob Howry, Ryan Dempster and Clay Rapada, then with the Cubs, were his lifeline as Marshall was asked questions about DelChiaro's childhood.
Marshall might have better sleep habits if he was married to someone who worked the afternoon shift.
"We have alarm clock bombs that go off at 3:10 a.m. every morning, Monday through Friday," Marshall said. "I just wake up and make sure she's up, and then I go back to sleep. It's no problem for me. Those days are tough hours for anyone to work.
"She goes to bed relatively early. I don't know how she does it some days -- sometimes she stays up until 9, 10 o'clock, and it's tough on her. The benefit of the offseason is I work out in the mornings, and we have all day to spend together."
They do take advantage of early bird specials.
"We hit up happy hour sometimes, and get a good price on dinner," Marshall said. "If she wants a cocktail, she has one at 4 o'clock, instead of 9 or 10 o'clock."
Marshall admits he isn't much of a morning person. He'll wake at 6 a.m. for Spring Training.
"That's sleeping in for her," Marshall said. "Her show starts at 5 a.m., and she has to be on her game then. It's amazing how she's awake, her hair's done, makeup is done. I don't know how she does it."
During the regular season, DelChiaro tries to catch up with Marshall on weekends.
"When we're out of town and on the West Coast, that's a quick flight for her," Marshall said. "When we're in Chicago, it's not too bad of a flight. That's when we get to see each other. It's kind of tough -- like a long-distance relationship during the season. We'll make it work. She loves what she does and I love what I do, and that's what makes it worthwhile."
DelChiaro is a celebrity in Phoenix. Their wedding was featured in the local media, and her face is on billboards and used in advertising.
"It is weird seeing my wife's face on a bus," he said.
What helps is that the two are supportive in their respective careers.
"She was always a sports fan," Marshall said. "She's a much greater fan since I met her."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.