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The life of a baseball wife

May 9, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT

Ian Desmond Getty Images

There’s a good story in the Washington Post today about Ian Desmond‘s wife Chelsey and their two young children and the challenges faced by wives and family members of baseball players.

It’ll likely inspire some mixed feelings in you. The Desmonds are, after all, rich, and however logistically difficult it is to keep a family together during a major league baseball season, they don’t have it tough like military families (as Ian Desmond notes) or people who have to struggle to put food on the table, often moving great distances or being away from their families for extended periods do.

But that’s not the point here. The Desmonds aren’t complaining about their lot. The story is more about relaying what it is ballplayers and their families go through to get as much quality family time they can during the season and to show how much of the burden of all of that falls on the wives given the players’ commitments. While this may not inspire sympathy or anything from you, it is an interesting look at a part of the game that we don’t often see.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 9, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    I would imagine it is quite similar to those who tour with Broadway productions, ballet, circus or any other traveling entertainment. With the added bonus that baseball players get paid much more and come home after a week or two tops (assuming they live in their team’s home city).

  2. urallstupid - May 9, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    i thought they just go shopping everyday and have cocktail parties with their girlfriends

  3. tysonpunchinguterus - May 9, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    She juggles 2 toddlers? That’s an impressive (but irresponsible) display of strength!

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 9, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      WITH chainsaws. And the toddlers are actually on fire!

      • jss1330 - May 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        Good reason to have kids

  4. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 9, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    I saw an interview with Heidi Hamels once – and while she too was not complaining, when you really hear it all broken down in a nuts and bolts kind of way, it really shows you what a crazy life they lead.

  5. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 9, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Just ask Anna Benson how crazy being a baseball wife can drive you.

  6. spursareold - May 9, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Real Wives of MLB….

  7. genericcommenter - May 9, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    I’d have a really difficult time trying to have a family if my wife or I had to lead a touring lifestyle for occupational reasons- whether it’s military, sports, music/entertainment. No matter how much money you make I think the marriage and relationship with kids would be pretty strained and there’d probably be some “unwritten rules” that would add layers of stress.

  8. girardisbraces - May 9, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    I think the main thing to take away from the article is that, for all the stories that you hear and pictures that you see about players’ WAGs living high off the hog and being these big time socialites, there are those players who have relationships that started when they had next to nothing coming up in the system, and nothing was guaranteed. Now they have careers in the big leagues and families, and it’s important to them to have as normal of a family life as one can have during the 7-8 months of baseball season (starting with spring training and going through the playoffs/WS.)

    People like to talk about how the money these guys take in makes them unsympathetic figures somehow, but they’re human just like the rest of us. Money may make a lot of things easier, but it doesn’t keep your family together. That takes work.

  9. shanabartels - May 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Keep in mind folks, you may say “Oh but they have lots of money so that makes the stressful lifestyle a little easier to handle”, but for the majority of these guys — especially in the minors — they don’t make a lot of money. Most professional baseball players aren’t superstars with huge paychecks. I mean, plenty of guys in the low minors and independent leagues have wives and kids and basically zero time to see them, and the wives really can’t get tied down to any kind of full-time job to help make ends meet when their lives necessarily entail so much moving around and upheaval.

    In other words, when you think about it for more than three seconds, “baseball wife” sounds like a pretty thankless job. I know I’m not cut out for it, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t want to be left alone all the time to basically be my husband’s personal assistant, fetching his dry cleaning and making sure dinner is on the table. It’s just a very unbalanced way to live.

  10. gloccamorra - May 9, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Despite growing up with four sisters, I still don’t know how women think or what women want, and I’m not sure women know what they want. My salvation, and that of many men, is that a lot of them will settle for fidelity and a steady paycheck. The size of the paycheck is variable, the fidelity is mandatory (and violation is potentially a hanging offense). The experience of baseball wives illustrates everything else is negotiable.

    • realhaley - May 9, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      Fidelity is mandatory depending upon the size of the paycheck.

      • gloccamorra - May 11, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        You ever heard of this pro golfer, “Tiger” Woods, who married a Swedish blonde?

  11. musketmaniac - May 9, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    You cares, dumbest reading of the day.

  12. pete2112 - May 9, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    I don’t doubt it’s probably hard for her to be apart from her husband and not having a normal family life, but it sure could be a lot worse. I’m not saying money fixes everything but it does make it easier and affords you the ability to travel with your spouse if needed and to be a stay at home mother (if she desires that) without the need to worry about finances on one income. Also, lets not forget that he’ll be retiring in his late 30’s and have all the time in the world to catch up on a normal family life.

    • aquaria40 - May 12, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      You can travel regularly with your baseball player husband if

      a) you don’t have children;

      b) if you do have children, your children are over 7 or 8 years old.

      c) you don’t have a career;

      d) you don’t mind flying commercial and living in hotels.

      The most surprising thing Jalynne Crawford (Brandon Crawford’s wife) has revealed is how the players are the only ones who get to use the chartered jet on road trips–everyone else who wants to tag along has to travel commercial. If you have some very young kids, that’s going to be a major pain, lugging all the stuff, getting everyone screened, getting settled on the plane, and etc.

  13. mikhelb - May 9, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    A Dominican player who used to play in my local team once said to me joking “It’s been almost 1 year since I’ve been to the DR, but I want to go because my son is about to be born”, then laughed and cared to explain “I mean, my wife just left and went to the DR and I want to be with her”. It was excruciating for him because he was playing in a league that does not pay a lot, but it has a better pay than, say, the minor leagues if you are not a top prospect signed with a million dollar bonus.

    Sure, millionaire MLB players have a tough time, but career minor leaguers whose check can only cover the rent, food and clothes, still find a way to send 80% of their checks to their families because they promised to take care of their old parents, their wife or their children. That could be one of the reasons why in hispanoamerica people get happy when they know that a baseball player from another country made it to the big leagues, in those parts of the world sometimes people is more in touch with the sacrifices they have chosen to make.

  14. hoopmatch - May 9, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    I see an opportunity here for a Hardball Talk sister site: Baseball Wives and Kids Talk.

    But seriously, I enjoy the rare opportunity to read about the day-to-day existence of a baseball family. It’s not an easy life.

  15. aquaria40 - May 12, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    Haylee Belt and Jalynne Crawford both wrote about their lives as baseball wives over at the Brandon and Brandon blog.

    The Crawfords apparently rent a place in the Bay Area during the baseball season, put all the stuff for their rental residence in storage at the end of the season, then head out to Arizona, where they have their permanent residence, undoubtedly for tax reasons.

    Sounded like Jalynne probably gets stuck with doing a lot of packing and unpacking, and she has two really small children on top of it all.

    One of the other interesting things that Jalynne revealed is that the baseball wives don’t get to ride the charter plane with the team if they decide to go on the road with their husbands. They have to fly commercial. I can’t imagine it would be easy for her to travel with those children and all the stuff small kids need.

    At least she gets to have him for a few months to herself, when the season is over. I was in the military, married to another military member who had routine TDY assignments, where he was gone for a week at a time, every other week, year after year. Then I’d get shipped off on TDY assignments, too, and mine were always of long duration, one for 8 weeks, another for 14, and so on.

    It was hard enough on a marriage that we’re not married anymore. We were warned that it would happen, because the ex’s career field had a really high divorce rate, something like 65% or more.

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