Sean Gilmartin, a non-roster pitcher in the Cardinals' camp, is married to Kayleigh McEnany, the spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. (Scott Rovak/USA Today Sports)

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – In any baseball clubhouse, the primary subjects of conversations between players usually concern one sport or another, cars, food or entertainment.

The subject of politics rarely comes up. Sean Gilmartin, a non-roster pitcher in the Cardinals’ camp, is OK with that. Whenever he wants to have a political conversation, he can talk to his wife.

Gilmartin was married last November to Kayleigh McEnany, a former CNN contributor who last year became the spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.

The couple met in 2015, when Gilmartin was pitching for the Mets and McEnany was interning for a law firm in New York. They were connected by mutual friends.

“She is from Florida and I went to Florida State, and we knew a lot of the same people,” said Gilmartin, who got an idea fairly early on in the relationship that their two jobs were going to create some challenges.

“I remember when I first met her, I kind of recognized her name from watching Fox News,” Gilmartin said. “She did a little on-air stuff and worked as a producer for Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee before pursuing her law degree. She was interning at the law firm and I was making dinner at my apartment in New York and we were supposed to have dinner together.

“She got a call from CNN asking if she was able to come in and be on a show. Basically they wanted her to back up Donald Trump. I remember that conversation. She really wanted to come to dinner and I told her, ‘If you really want to do the show you should go to CNN.’ She saw that as a big opportunity to get on a different network. That was really the first time she ever did CNN. I remember that day specifically. From that day on I think they had her on three or four times a week.”

Gilmartin believes most of his teammates know he is married to McEnany, and are aware of what she does for a living.

“It’s a mix of, ‘I don’t always agree with her politics or whatever, but I can respect where she comes from,’” Gilmartin said.

Luckily for Gilmartin and the couple’s relationship, he does share most of her viewpoints.

“I pretty much agree with everything, without getting too political,” he said. “I always try to separate what I do on the field from my personal life, but I’m probably more conservative than she is.”

McEnany is more recognizable when the couple is out in public because of her frequent appearances on national television, a fact which is not always the case for the wife of a professional baseball player.

“She gets the facial recognition, I’m more name recognition,”Gilmartin said. “I don’t care about that kind of stuff. That’s not why I play this game. I play it because it’s fun and I love it. I don’t play the game to get recognized.”

Pursuing his career in baseball, while McEnany pursues her own career, does present challenges for the couple. McEnany spends most of her time in Washington, D.C., while Gilmartin finished last season in Memphis, spent most of the winter at the couple’s home in Tampa and is now in south Florida for spring training.

“We make it work whenever we can,” Gilmartin said. “She kind of has the weekends to herself. There’s an understanding that if she has to work when she’s away from the RNC she does it.

“I think we’re able to work it out because we are both fairly easy-going people. I think the biggest part of it is that we trust each other. You can’t have a successful marriage if you don’t instill that trust in the other person. We both have that understanding that we have our respective careers and are trying to work as hard as we can now in our 20s and 30s so later we have set ourselves up for a nice life.”

Gilmartin, 27, is competing for a spot in the Cardinals’ bullpen should the team elect to keep three left-handers. He was claimed by the Cardinals off waivers from the Mets last summer but suffered an elbow injury almost as soon as he reported to Memphis and was out for more than a month.

After returning, Gilmartin – a former first-round pick of the Braves who spent parts of the last three years in the majors with the Mets – appeared in seven games and allowed just one run in eight innings for the Redbirds.

Gilmartin’s ability to work multiple innings could help his chances of earning a major-league job if the Cardinals are looking for a long reliever for the final spot in the bullpen.

“As a non-roster guy, you come into spring training with the intent to make the club and put together the best spring you can,” he said. “I think it’s still there, and I think I’m a viable option. It’s not like I’ve had my time in the major leagues and I’m satisfied. I want to stick. A lot of guys have made it to the major leagues but there are very few that can stick for five years or more.”

If he doesn’t make the opening day roster, Gilmartin is OK with returning to Memphis – where he was part of a record-setting team last year. He can look around the Cardinals’ clubhouse in Jupiter and see many of the players from that team who could be back there again this season.

“It’s a great place to be, but I don’t want to be there long,” he said. “It’s really not up to me. All I can do is go out there and do my job.”

While Gilmartin is trying to make the Cardinals, his wife is working at her profession as well with her own goals and aspirations. The couple has talked about starting a family at some point in the future, when the time is right.

“She wants to be that mother that is home with the kids,” Gilmartin said. “She is from a family that did that. Her Mom and Dad were always there, and we both had that growing up. That’s very important to both of us and what we want our family life to look like. Career wise, she wants to do something where she can be a TV commentator and more or less work from home, and she is setting herself up to do that.”

When he isn’t at the ballpark, Gilmartin knows when McEnany is scheduled to be on television and watches those appearances whenever he can.

“There are a couple of guys here that I talk politics with, but I try to be as low key about it as possible,” he said. “We have our personal life and our professional life and she understands this is my professional life. When I go meet people in her professional world they are always interested in what I do.”

Gilmartin is happy that he and his wife are not like another couple they know who don’t share the same political opinions.

“We joke about this one couple that we know,” Gilmartin said. “One is a Republican and the other’s a Democrat. Some of their conversations are pretty explosive. After we have dinner with them we’re like, ‘I can’t believe they can make things work with totally different viewpoints.’ It’s pretty funny.”

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