Ah, but that other half. That’s the half no one sees. The one that packs up and moves thrice a year every year, that pays the bills and deals with, as Jamie Moyer’s wife Karen succinctly puts it, “every broken bone and broken pipe.” The one who goes to the school plays and the weddings alone, who patiently explains to the kids, once again, that Daddy can’t be there for the birthday party because he’s on a road trip to Cincinnati. The one who has to explain to the fan who’s just barreled into your first restaurant dinner out as a family in months that no, she can’t take a picture now. And the one who lies in bed alone at night and stares at the ceiling, worrying about whether her husband’s pitching slump will get him dumped to the minors, or if that nagging soreness in his shoulder is a rotator cuff about to tear, or if that trade rumor will have her online house-hunting in Kansas City in the morning.
And the one who has to listen as her husband is vilified in public eight months of the year. Our conversation under the palm tree has now moved on to local sports radio.
“Charlie was crucified the first couple of years,” Missy complains, “so I don’t listen to any of it.”
Tery jumps in. “I have kids! There’s no way I would put that on in my car.” She relies on friends to call her when a positive story about Raul appears; she then goes out and buys the newspaper, cuts out the story, and smooths it into a scrapbook — the sunny, edited version of the career of Raul Ibanez, preserved for posterity. Earlier, Brandy Halladay, whose husband Roy is supposed to solve our pitching woes, told me about going to a game with her toddler son and holding him on her lap, only to watch Roy get clocked — and lustily booed off the field. Her little boy looked at her and said, “Mommy, why do they all hate Daddy?”
I turn to Heidi and ask about a story she told the E! television network last year. It was Cole’s first home game pitching in Philadelphia, and he got shelled. Heidi watched as the stadium devolved into a crescendo of booing, with angry fans telling Cole to hit the showers — and worse. “It’s just hurtful if people truly mean it intentionally to hurt him, you know what I mean?” she says quietly. “Some people can just say stuff, but whatever — that’s just fans getting wound up. That’s pretty easy to forgive. But sometimes it’s just … ouch.”
I flash back to something Karen Moyer, who at 44 is the unofficial den mother of the Phillies wives, told me the week before. “Any wife coming into this game who says she was prepared for all of this,” she said, “is lying through her teeth.”