Phillies!: A Fan’s Guide: A League Of Their Own

While the players are soaking in the cheers, their spouses are busy fielding a whole different set of issues, from sick kids and crazy fans to nasty sportswriters and moving vans. Inside the secret lives of Phillies wives

Because if the Tiger Woods mess has done anything, it has thrown open a window onto the Temptation Island where those athletes now live. Which means that being a wife requires mustering a certain steely confidence in your marriage when you can’t be together.

Soon after she and Jimmy became involved, Johari says, she made a decision: “I told myself that I don’t want to get into a situation where I’m with someone I can’t trust. And I’m not going to be the type of woman sitting up on the Internet, listening to all the media stuff, worried about what my boyfriend or husband is doing. That’s not the type of life I want to live.”     

 “We never think about it,” adds Jen Utley. “I’m sure everyone says that, and you can take that as being naive or you can take it as being confident. Chase and I have a very deep relationship. We were together before all of this happened, and we’ll be together when it’s done.”

In the meantime, there’s life to be lived. If you’re a Phillies wife with kids, most of your days are spent single-parenting — and strategizing how to keep your family bonded. Tery Ibanez says whenever Raul is in town, he goes with her to drop the kids off at school every morning — and then the two of them go to a little cafe for breakfast. “That’s our time, just for us,” she says.

The wives regularly roll up their designer sleeves for charity work, something not required by the organization but tacitly encouraged. One of the reasons the team’s management is known for treating its players so well is that it wants its wives happy and out in public, burnishing the  players’ “giving back to the community” rep. Tery and Raul are active in Project H.O.M.E. and Covenant House; Heidi and Cole have their own foundation, as do others; Karen Moyer has done missionary work overseas. Last year, Melissa Victorino was lying in bed, staring into Shane’s closet, when she noticed piles of athletic shoes he never wore. “A lot of the guys get free shoes, and they have contracts with Adidas or Nike,” she says. “And Shane gives so many of his away. And so I’m staring at these, and I think, How many kids need shoes?” Last July, she spearheaded a “shoe drive” among the wives; later, she, Shane and Erin Romero distributed the footwear to needy kids at a local PAL center.

For a wife new to the team, just settling in can be enough work in itself. Brandy Halladay is now living life via her car GPS, trying to navigate Philly’s notoriously bad road signage (“I’ve made a lot of U-turns”) and the Schuylkill, which she admits “I can’t even pronounce. And let me ask you something,” she says. “What’s the ‘Blue Route’?”

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