Once upon a time I met a boy who played baseball. Three weeks later, he signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox organization. We got married and traveled the country while he chased his lifelong dream of making it to the big leagues. From Virginia to Arizona to Alabama to North and South Carolina with a few stops in Chicago, we lived the baseball life. Most of the time we made just enough money to pay the rent during the season. A former clinical dietitian, I took odd jobs to help out. My favorite gig was when I had my own beer stand on the field level at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama. I could watch the game and make money at the same time. I didn’t mind the odd jobs, we were chasing a dream together and I was loving it.
|My favorite baseball moment. Jeff was called in with the bases loaded and
two outs in Anaheim and struck the batter out.
We moved 3-5 times each year, depending on what happened during the season. At one point, we decided to make Tucson our off-season home. It made sense, spring training was in Tucson, so it would mean one less move during the year. Little did we know that what we thought would be a temporary, off-season home would turn into the city where we would spend the next five years. Towards the end of spring training in 2006, Jeff was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He packed up his bags and literally walked across the parking lot from one clubhouse to another (the Diamondbacks and White Sox shared a spring training facility). He ended up playing most of that year in Tucson with the triple-A Sidewinders. So instead of moving around, we lived at home. It was a strange feeling to stay in the same place for an entire year, one that we were not used to.
|Jeff pitching for the Diamondbacks the year before they switched to their new colors|
The next spring, when I was nine months pregnant with our son, Jeff threw in his last game. We didn’t know it at the time, but two shoulder surgeries later, he was done.
|What would our life look like without baseball in it? That was a strange thought.
We both love the game so much. Could we walk away for good?
We were a “normal” family for a little while. A few months ago, Jeff realized that he still had baseball in his blood. And as much as I had let myself settle in to our home and our city, I still had a heart for baseball too. So we set out for California where Jeff has been coaching at Riverside Community College as he seeks out a job in professional baseball. The past few months have been spent going back and forth between Arizona and California while Jeff coaches and we wait patiently for the right job to come up.
|Jeff and the RCC baseball team Lunging for a Cure|