Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Ladies of Baseball



There are hundreds of thousands of baseball fans in this world. Die Hard enthusiasts that cheerfully wear their favorite player’s names on their backs and shout praises when they make a great play during a game. However, just to clear the air of the real superhero’s of the baseball world…. its their wives.

Yup.

Ask any lady of the baseball world right now, what they are doing.

Possible answers:

a.     Packing
b.     Moving
c.     Apartment Hunting
d.     Managing an entire household, complete with children and dogs, by themselves
e.     Crying
f.      Drinking heavily
g.     Waiting to see where they are moving to for the next 7 months
h.     Stressing because their husband isn’t sure of his roster status
i.      Getting kicked out of their spring training house with no place to go
j.      All of the Above.

Want a hint? Bet you don’t even need one          (J…the answer is J)


Baseball is a great game that offers challenge, competition and excitement into anybody’s lives. With the good however, also comes the stressful moments and the times where it would be so great to just have the help of that guy you married. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind packing up an entire house and moving every 6 months, I mean, that’s just life. We do it because we love the men we married. (Like, A LOT) Most of us spend more hours cursing this sport then enjoying it, but we wouldn’t trade our lives for much else. But that is where its gets sticky. There are many women in this world aspiring to be a baseball wife, dreaming with high ambitions that their favorite player will fall madly in love with them and live happily ever after in the spotlight.

SPOILER ALERT: this isn’t a fairy tale. Never desire to be a baseball wife. Do not have it be a dream of yours to be a WAG…have it be a privilege. Because that’s what it is. It is a privilege to watch our men live out their life long dreams in front of thousands. When I was 17 years old going on my first date with Josh, I surely wasn’t wishing for this lifestyle. But now that I am in it, I am glad that I have so many other women out there who too, live the crazy life with me. They get me. They know how to handle my crazy. They are my baseball family.

Point is. As I sit here amidst a fortress of boxes, waiting to see what the next 48 hours holds for my family, I cheers to all my baseball sisters. You are the superstars that make the baseball world go round. We don’t have jerseys or spots on the roster, however maybe we should start signing autographs? Or wearing capes? OR something.

I am up for it, if you are.  


2017 Baseball Season…Bring it on.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dusting off the cobwebs, and traveling backwards





It’s important to always remember where you came from, and who helped mold you into the person you are. Although childhood memories and hometowns are always the first that come to our minds, there are many places that help guide our identity and aspirations.

Josh and I were invited back to Oregon State University, both of our Alma Maters, to reunite with the baseball program and attend a fundraising dinner in honor of the new season and the new team. Admittedly, we have not been back for years. We graduated and Josh got drafted and I got accepted to graduate school, and life resumed. We left and almost rarely, if not ever, looked back. Life has a funny way of doing that to you. Taking something that was so important and replacing it with new experiences that seem to over shadow the past. Life kind of did that to us. Corvallis, Oregon was not apart of our everyday circuit, and therefore we never retraced our steps back.

So when stepping onto the campus a couple of weeks ago we both couldn’t help but grin at each other.  Wow, we actually went to school here. That wasn’t a dream. This was apart of us. It took merely seconds for us to start the “Remember, when...” chatter and from there, it all rushed back to us.                              College…what a dream life.
   
Josh with his college pitching coach, Nate Yeskie, and former teammate, Matt Boyd,
who currently pitches for the Detroit Tigers.  

Josh had to throw a bullpen the Saturday we were there, and as he pulled out his glove from his back pack it was hard not to remember the college version of the same guy. Never knowing what each day would bring, and always hoping that there would be more baseball after graduation day. As he kicked the dust from the pitching rubber, and communicated to the catcher what pitch was coming next, I didn’t even notice what was happening. The entire beaver pitching staff was all enclosed around the bullpen. Some sitting on buckets, others standing against walls, spitting seeds into the dirt, all awaiting. Waiting for this “ex-beaver” to start pitching. They watched. Their faces readjusting after every pitch. Some of them whispered to their neighbor, others listened carefully to how Josh talked through his adjustments. And just like that, it happened. Josh wasn’t just an “old player” anymore, he was someone else.

 I wanted to freeze time. I wanted to look at all of these young, aspiring baseball stars and tell them all, right at that moment as Josh’s fastball whizzed by my nose, we were just there.

We were just those kids sitting on buckets watching Darwin Barney and Jacoby Ellsbury on TV.  Watching Ex- Beavers continue their baseball journeys on TV.

 We were just there, thinking “oh my god, what if…”

We were just those people, in awe of those who had “made it,” wondering ever so inquisitively, “maybe one day that could be him.”

Your dreams are not impossible. Your injuries don’t have to be the end of everything you want. I know. I lived it.  Just ask Josh.

As he finished his bullpen, feeling confident with the placement of his strikes, the young catcher walked up to him, shook and his hand and told him it was a honor. That’s what I mean. Josh was someone else. 
Yet, if you looked really hard, he was still the freshman pitcher wondering how he would contribute to this ever-growing baseball world.


 As I boarded the plane back to Arizona preparing for another Giants season, it struck me as kind of strange. Perhaps God knew exactly what he was doing requiring us to both still wear black and orange to baseball games every season. Perhaps we always just need a reminder of where we belong, and what road we took to get there.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Perspective



I didn’t know Jose Fernandez.

We didn’t grow up together. We aren’t from the same hometown. We never crossed paths on the playground or at the local ice cream shop. Josh didn’t play against him in the minor leagues, and he never came over to our house for a Christmas party. He was just another pitcher, living his life in the lights and the glory of a ballpark. 

So when I woke up on the morning of his passing, I wasn’t hurled out of my bed with grief and despair. My stomach didn’t lurk as I saw all of the Twitter posts.

It wasn’t until I saw his face, remembered exactly why his name sounded so familiar. It wasn’t until I saw that incredibly, contagious smile, for me to finally have emotion. 

Even if you didn’t know him during his life, how is it possible not to love him after his death? I loved that every single picture that was posted of him was happy. He was smiling. Laughing. Joking around. Hugging a friend. Teasing a teammate. Changing a child’s life. What a beautiful way to be remembered; that even on a stage as big and stressful as the one he performs on nightly; life is beautiful, and enjoying it was imperative to him. What a legacy to leave behind, there is no doubt in any fans mind that Jose lived a happy life and found joy in almost everything.


The night after we found out about Jose, Josh and I were relaxing in our San Francisco apartment. Josh was reeling after his last outing. I could see his mind swarming with defeat; why did I give up that hit? What happened to me? Why am I struggling with my command? I was doing so well, and now?

I leaned over, obviously noticing how upset and disappointed he was in himself. “Josh, besides maybe a handful of awful people on Twitter, you’re the only one beating yourself up about this, everyone has bad days at work.” 

He didn’t say anything. That’s his tell-tale sign that he would rather just be left alone and be mad at himself.  

I turned over, and opened up my book, noticeably giving him his space and just gently said under my breath, “Imagine something tragic happened to you tomorrow, do you think the media would be able to find ONE picture of you smiling while playing this game? You need to be more like Jose.”

He smiled at me. Check.

Perspective is a hard thing to come by. You can be so fogged by your own grief, that you can't see the sun anymore. Sometimes getting out of your own way is a matter of somebody making you.

If we can learn anything from Jose’s tragedy, it needs to be about perspective. This life is such a precious entity, and it is time we start respecting exactly why we are here. Wins and losses, strike outs and walks; all so inconsequential to the fact that every single day you can get up and do whatever you want…because you are alive.

A healthy shot of perspective, that’s all anyone ever needs.

That, and maybe a smile.


#JDF2016