When I DM’d Davis Schneider on Instagram back in September asking for an interview, never did I actually think he’d reply. We’re talking about a guy who, in the span of just three games – his first ever major league baseball games, I’ll add – batted and ran and moustached his way into the hearts of every Toronto Blue Jays fan in the country. When I texted him, 24-year-old Schneider was already known throughout baseball as having established the best start to a major league career in MLB history. Why would he agree to an interview from a random Instagram profile? I probably should have asked him.
We had originally planned to meet at a bar after the Jays game in Toronto on September 30, the last home game of the season. To this, I had doubts: wouldn’t he get mobbed? “Lol I won’t get mobbed so don’t worry,” was his (rather nonchalant) response. Later in the interview, we would circle back to how ridiculously humble that answer was. Needless to say, I was not sold. But obviously, I was not about to pass up getting a drink with Davis Schneider.
As luck would have it, the Seattle Mariners lost their game on September 29, and consequently the Jays had clinched their spot in the Wild Card series and would fly out to Minnesota following Sunday’s game. Thrilled as I was as a Jays fan, I was slightly crestfallen that this probably meant I had lost my shot at a chance to have a conversation with Schneider. But I forgot I was dealing with the most down-to-earth, accommodating guy in the MLB.
So we set up a video call for the Tuesday following the Jays’ (short-lived) stint in the playoffs. Schneider joined the call from his room in his parents’ basement in New Jersey. “I mean I could move out but, it’s free. Why would I?”
Hard to argue with that. He’s a simple man really – he loves his dog, Jasper, and golf. “It’s not a lavish life that I live,” said Schneider when I asked about his plans for the off-season. “I’ve already played a lot of golf so far. I don’t really drink that much. I’ll have a beer with my buddies here and there, but actual drinking – going out, partying – I’m not a big fan of…when I’m home I don’t really do too much. Just lay around and work out.”
He likes to keep things low-key, but active. When I asked about which Canadian city Schneider enjoyed living in more – Toronto or Vancouver – he had positive experiences to share about both.
“Outside the city, Vancouver was really nice – all the mountains and everything like that…Toronto I like a lot. I hadn’t been there before but the fans and the people, they were great.”
Schneider’s answers are thoughtful, he wants to engage. If he seems to you like he’s got an air of wisdom about him, it’s because he does.
“A couple years ago – three now, almost – my brother passed away. So having that happen to me and my family kind of really put a lot of things in perspective. Baseball is important for me and my family, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, in my opinion. It doesn’t really matter how well you do, whether you’re doing good or bad, like who really cares? I mean obviously, it’s important – it’s my job and I take it seriously…but like, life only should matter [insofar as] how you’re affecting and treating other people. That’s the way I look at it.”
You can’t help but notice how Schneider includes his family in his answers about himself, they’re clearly such a large part of who he is and his career. “Playing baseball is already a blessing, and then, you know, having stuff like that happen in your life… you just kind of sit back and realize [baseball] is not the end-all-be-all when it comes to how happy you can be.” He has his priorities in check, a trait hard to come by these days. Especially not in such young, successful pro athletes.
And how did he deal with that sudden rise to fame? “I didn’t even realize it at the time. I was kind of ignorant to it. I thought it was cool when people came up to me, but I didn’t really make it as big a deal as it was. It’s not a big deal, but there’s a lot more people that watch Blue Jays baseball than I think…I didn’t really overplay it…but looking back at it now, I can reflect on it and it was pretty damn cool.”
I brought up his earlier comment about him not getting mobbed at the bar. “Yeah you were probably right, I probably would’ve got noticed, but like, I didn’t really think much of it. I still think of myself as just a guy from a small town who doesn’t really know anyone…but every time I went out I got noticed.” Yeah, that’ll happen. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. And with great responsibility comes a lot of pressure. But Schneider doesn’t seem to mind.
“It’s tough. You know, I went into that slump those last couple weeks. To be honest, it didn’t feel like I was doing that bad. I got more texts then from people outside of baseball – family, friends were texting me like, ‘Keep it up man, you’re doing great!’ or, ‘How are you feeling? You down in the dumps?’ It’s like, ‘No I’m playing in the MLB for the Blue Jays so why should I be sad?’ I mean obviously, I wasn’t hitting well but who cares? As long as I put in the effort then that’s all I can ask for. The outcome will take care of itself. People were more stressed than me about it.”
He went on to talk about how baseball is just that sport with lots of extreme ups and downs. “I never got myself too high and never got myself too low. I kind of felt the same throughout the two months. Obviously, the outcomes were different, but you just gotta be humble when you’re doing good because you know in the back of your head that you’re gonna go in that slump here and there. And when you do, you know you’re gonna get out of it, you just gotta stay confident and humble.”
The only thing not humble about Schneider? That stache. Which by the way, we can thank Miles Teller for. Teller’s role in Top Gun: Maverick is what inspired the iconic moustache, a fact Schneider’s sister reminded him of only a couple of weeks prior to our conversation. He had said previously that the moustache makes him hit better, so naturally I had to ask about any other superstitious tendencies.
“For me, I just put my cleats on left to right, socks same thing, go out at 6:46, ten minutes before the anthem…that’s more a routine, I wouldn’t really call that superstition.” I asked about the craziest superstition he’d ever heard about from a teammate, but this was classified information. So friends of Schneider can rest easy knowing the guy is a vault.
Much like his friends, the Jays are lucky to have Schneider. But what would he be doing if he hadn’t signed with the Jays organization out of high school?
“At first I wanted to be a teacher, at a high school. I wanted to be a history teacher. But then like, couple years doing baseball, I didn’t wanna go back to school, so I thought to myself I could be a firefighter…a couple years ago I thought I was gonna get released or be done playing, and I didn’t wanna go back to school for another four years. So I thought to myself, just be a firefighter, go to school for that…so either a teacher or a firefighter.”
On behalf of Jays fans everywhere, we’re glad Schneider stuck to baseball. At this point, it’s unclear whether or not he will begin next season at the major league level. If one thing is clear to me, it’s that Schneider is a hard worker with a healthy and gratuitous outlook on life, and I believe we need to see more people like him in the public eye.
I hope the Blue Jays organization recognizes this as well and holds on to what they have for as long as they can.