There’s no spring training for a baseball wife.
From the moment your guy hits the big leagues, you do, too, but without the benefit of years spent daydreaming about what it will be like. So you find yourself suddenly walking on a very public high wire, balancing being a cheerleader with being your own person with being the gatekeeper. You’re swept up in a constant struggle between being thankful for your blessings and the demands those blessings bring. “[People] don’t see all of what goes into the traveling: a dog sitter every two weeks, packing up the house, getting the kids organized, packing for different weather, constantly not being able to give your kids a regular routine,” says Melissa Victorino. “They think every time I travel, I’m going on vacation.”
It’s all part of the sometimes glamorous but often dreary slog of constant upheaval that comes when you sign on for life as a baseball wife. “We’ve moved 80 times,” Karen Moyer says. “I’ve packed 80 times. The last time, I just sat down on the floor and was like, ‘Babe, I can’t. My hands are raw from ripping UPS boxes.’”
Yet somehow, she did. They all do. Because it’s part of the game, just like the balls and strikes. And perhaps because standing on a float drifting down Broad Street toward Citizens Bank Park, basking in the glow of hundreds of thousands of fans screaming their lungs out because your husband and his pals have just brought home a World Series title, can make it all very, very worthwhile.
I ask Jennifer Utley to name the best thing about being married to Chase Utley, Major League All-Star. She doesn’t mention the money, or the home in L.A., or the stylish condo in Washington Square West, or even the thrill, as a result of being the slugger’s wife, of being able to help so many of her beloved animals. No. Instead, Jen Utley takes a minute and then comes up with the real benefit of being wed to a guy who has a job that requires him to swing a bat, throw a ball, and run around bases all day long.
“He’s got a nice ass,” she says.