A Baseball Life…by those married to it


dp_logo1.pngDiamond Prospects has been known to ask the tough questions to college coaches and pro scouts on various controversial topics. As these men give their lives to the game for low wages and make major sacrifices along the way, many leave behind a ‘better half’ while they beat the bushes for talent and spend much of their time living out of hotels.

We have posed a handful of questions to three very supportive wives to give our viewers some perspective as to the ups and downs of being married to a person that parents and players want to see, talk to and absorb the time of. Below are the words of the wives of three men who have the power to change a young man’s life forever…

The wife of an American League scout:

Q-Give us an idea of what the pros and cons are of being the wife of a college coach/pro scout…

A-The Pros are that I love sports and I can relate to his career. We have that in common and share that same love for the game. The cons are that he is away from home during his busy time…and alot of the demands of running a home and having a child gets tough. I also work two part-time jobs and it does get interesting at times. But in the big picture…you know it is only for a short time.

Q-What kind of toll does his being gone a lot take on you/your children?

A-Missing family time, sports events, practices with our son, and just the general day-to-day lives of our family. Most of the family day-to-day responsibilities fall on me when my husband is gone and traveling on his scouting duties. However, after about two weeks, things fall into place rather quickly and our daily routine becomes our new normal.

Q-Take us thru the different seasons (spring season, summer, fall & winter) and how it causes you to adapt.

A-Spring…My son and I adapt to doing everything together on our own very quickly…sometimes when my husband comes back home, we are doing things in our daily life a certain way…and my husband has learned to adapt to our daily lives. Summer…We try to travel some with him. This is a fun time together as a family. Fall…School has started and my son’s sports are in full swing…My husband is beginning to be home a little more, winding down from his scouting duties and responsibilities. Winter…We are home for approx 3 months without baseball…although he is preparing and planning for the upcoming scouting season, he is home and we enjoy that time together! By Mid-Jan we are ready to kick him out of the house!! LOL. We take our “main” vacation during that time, usually a cruise, or a trip to a Tropical Island.

Q-Anything else you want us to know?

A-It does take a special wife to help fulfill and support the role of a pro baseball scout. If a wife or soon to be wife is what I call “high maintenance” and cannot function in life alone, then being married to a professional baseball scout will be very challenging. When you can see the “big” picture and know that it is for a “time” it does not seem to be that big of an issue not having my husband around 24/7. I completely support my husband in his career as he supports mine. He spends a lot of time with our son during his “down” time – like taking him to school, church, etc… I also know that God comes first in our lives, and if for any reason I needed my husband at home for anything…he would be there for me in a heartbeat! Baseball is what my husband does for a living… however it does not define who he is as a husband and father.

The wife of a college head coach:

Q-Give us an idea of what the pros and cons are of being the wife of a college coach/pro scout… 

A-There is only one true con to being a coaches wife and that is the time that my husband has to devote to his program which obviously takes away from his time with us. But, this con encompasses many things – less time spent on tasks at home, many “restrictions” as to when we can vacation or make weekend trips, having to attend functions (weddings, parties, etc) unaccompanied. However, for me the pros far out weigh the con. Getting to see my husband do something so well, something he loves, and something he is so passionate about is a blessing. He spent a year at home with us after our daughter was born and in that year it was very obvious that a huge part of his life was missing. He was born to coach and to be able to support him in that is definitely a pro. I also love baseball; so, for me, a pro is being able to attend his games and cheer on the team. We love beautiful days spent at the ballfield with our baseball family (and even the not so “beautiful” days that involve rain gear or blankets and heavy jackets).

Q-What kind of toll does his being gone a lot take on you/your children?   

A-It is definitely more difficult to manage our household without him more involved. It is up to me to see that things are done – cooking, cleaning, shopping, bill paying etc. It takes a great deal of time and effort to accomplish all that needs to be done in this area. I also work full-time so it is even more difficult to fit it all in. But, we make it work. We do what we can to get it all done and he helps out when he can. As for our daughter, as she is only 3.5 years old she has only recently started to realize his absence and currently I am able to manage that realization with a simple “Daddy will be home soon.” 

Q-Take us thru the different seasons (spring season, summer, fall & winter) and how it causes you to adapt… 

A-For us, spring is the easiest season. We know the schedule and when he’ll be home. We are able to plan for things well in advance and make most things work (with the occasional “hiccup” that comes from a rain out). We try to attend as many games as we can and recently began to rally the fans for group pre-game picnics/tailgates, etc. That has made the seasons even more fun. Summer is tougher – recruiting season can be hard. We never know when he’ll be home or where he’ll be when he’s away as everything depends on who’s pitching when and where or who’s playing for which travel team, etc. There are many last minute trips. For us, we just plan on him not being here and if he is then he’ll join us in whatever we do. Fall and winter are better – practices are scheduled and are often shorter. He’s around more and we are able to do more as a family. It is a little tougher for us now because he is currently involved in lots of fundraising, etc to support his program but, again, they are scheduled events so we work around them as best we can.

Q-Anything else you want us to know… 

A-Anyone with the possibility of being a coaches wife needs to take all of the above into consideration! You have to be independent and able to manage on your own in order to survive. It can be very difficult at times and even the strongest women may find themselves thinking “what have I gotten myself into – I really need some help!” It is not an easy task but it is worth it for me. Just know you are not alone! I once had a conversation with a woman in a Cracker Barrel gift shop. Our kids had started playing with one another and so we began to chat. In the conversation it came up that my husband was a baseball coach and she mentioned that she had nearly married a coach as well. We continued talking randomly and as we went our separate ways she stopped suddenly and said to me “Oh, and by the way, I just want you to know that I think coaches wives have wings.” That made me smile – to know that someone understands that we have to be angels to make it work (of course my husband may sometimes beg to differ because I surely can be the devil!).

The wife of a college recruiting coordinator:

Q-Give us an idea of what the pros and cons are of being the wife of a college coach/pro scout…
A-Pros- Being married to someone who is happy with their job. I believe that is a big factor in being happy with the rest of your life. I admire how he is able to pass along knowledge and passion for something he has loved for so long to his team of boys that look up to him. I am in awe of his determination, drive, focus and love for baseball. He takes pride in it. Cons- Having a husband who is never home. My husband puts so much time and effect into this job for, let’s face it, not much money at all, he hardly has free time for himself much less me. I know he is happy coaching but I am sad because he is always away from me. I try to focus on the fact that I have a better husband because of baseball, if he weren’t coaching and home every night by 5:00, I don’t think he’d be full-filled and, therefore, cause stress on our marriage in a different way.
Q-What kind of toll does his being gone a lot take on you/your children?
A-Well, it is true that coaches spend more time with their team than they do their own families. As newlyweds, we have not started our family yet but we are already trying to plan it around baseball. He doesn’t realize it, but he is going to miss so much in their lives. For the majority of the year, he is gone 7 days a week, leaving early in the morning and getting home most nights anywhere between 8:30 to 12:00. I fear that my children will only get to see him on the baseball field. It’s one thing that I am alone but it will be totally different when it’s the children. I don’t want to be a “single mom” raising our children by myself. Even though he doesn’t believe this, baseball is his #1 priority in life, he puts it before everything else. Although I fight, I come in 2nd. When we have children, it will just be one more thing he will have to squeeze into his life fighting for first place.
Q-Take us thru the different seasons (spring season, summer, fall & winter) and how it causes you to adapt…

A-To me, it’s never ending. There is no down time, there is busy and ridiculously busy. I once noticed my husband had only 2 free weekends in a six month period.
Q-Anything else you want us to know…
A-Basically my husband lives the life of a single man, with his wife waiting for him at home, baseball is the other women. For example, after a month being gone from home, he has two free days and it’s my birthday tomorrow. I was very excited to spend two full days with him and…he is at the school following up on baseball today and says he has practice tomorrow. So much for that.
I know that I don’t understand all this, I did not grow up in a family involved in sports, to me this is a job to my husband this is his reason for getting up every day. My husband gives 110% to baseball, it’s always on his mind, I know with all the hard work he puts into this profession he will reach the goals he has set for himself. And when he gets home, I do know he loves me because he shows me whenever he can. He tries to make the effort when he is off the field to make up for all the times he is gone. He is a good man, and I love him for that. It’s bittersweet because he can’t live with out baseball and I can’t live with out him. So, I know I just have to stand by his side the best I can and try to focus on the positives.

The wife of a National League Scout and former college coach breaks down the lifestyle:

I was his childhood sweetheart, and followed his three-sport High School career, and College before we were married in 1970. I have been behind his baseball life since he coached in college in Ohio. I drove the second van because he had no assistant coaches aged (25); an (Ohio State Law), to drive to the University’s baseball games. I have always tried to keep his, and our decision to stay with Baseball in prospective. I do not, and have not made his baseball world totally my world since the beginning. I have had to raise the children, stay in touch with the grand, and now, great-grand children in his (41) years of some kind of College Coaching/Pro Scouting. We piggy-backed even when he coached for (15) years, and still scouted on the side. 

I have always had my church activities in Ohio/North Carolina’s. I also have been a professional clown for over (30) years now as well. I specialize in free event clowning with the “Carolina Clowns”, and really enjoy going to senior centers, kids cancer hospital events, parades and special events of this nature with my clowning life as “Snickles”…! My husband and I talked very early about how important is was for me to have other interests besides his life in baseball. This was, and is valuable to any young team (couple), who wishes to be together, and married to a Coach or a Scout. 

We also take the year in four parts. The Spring – the toughest as he is gone nearly the whole spring. It is tough for both of us but it is these four months versus October to January when he is virtually home all the time working in the office. 

When he is home during the spring, going out for an evening dinner, a movie, is something we both enjoy is BIG. Going to the races (NASCAR), or a dinner theater is also very enjoyable. My husband has a bigger passion than just baseball, it is hunting and his bird dogs. He has had hunting, and bird dogs in his blood since a child. He currently has three, two males Zuk, and BJ, and a year old female (his first), named Diamond. They are German Short Haired Pointers, and I enjoy them so much as they guard me; and let me know if anyone is around when my husband is away. The boy dogs are five year old brothers. During the off season, after fall scouts days/nights, he hunts whenever he can, guides hunts, and makes money with the dogs on pay hunts for others, and goes to South Dakota, to hunt Pheasants. When everyone is getting all Super-Bowled up, he is loading his car up to go out again. 

People often ask me where does he live, we never see him? I just tell them at 2008 Impala XSX-7830 NC at I-77 or I-85 sports South. I also have the freedom to visit our daughter in Charlottesville, VA., and our son in Jamestown, Ohio, and whenever I want. I subscribe to Sports Midwest, and get to watch every Cincinnati Reds game on TV during the season. I also watch NASCAR’S races on TV/Radio, and love this sport. 

I’m not telling you my or our lives, but letting you see how not only is having similar interests is important I feel. But, staying married (38) soon to be (39) years on August 11, means having bumps, but not peaks and valleys. When my hsuband is home, he shares 50-50 with me on everything in our lives.

My time as an unpaid scout for him began when he called, and said I have a problem, I’m in Valdosta, GA. I have a pitcher throwing in East Rowan, NC, can you take my ole Jugs Supergun in storage, and go do him tonight for me I have no associate to do it for me. I grabbed a note pad, went to storage, and got his r-gun, and headed to Catawba County, NC. I wrote down every pitch the LHP threw, and even went down both sides as I have seen him do to see what he looked like from those views (Just Sideways to me?). Now the funny part, I had left the switch on the ole gun on, and when I got back to my seat, “and to my surprise”, “it was in full use”…! I mean a little boy around ten, was holding it up, and calling the numbers out to the peoples delight.

Cell Phones, “Thank GOD”! With the cell phone came lots of talks anytime day or night with my husband. His Blackberry now even allows texts, and e-mail visits with me even if at a Doctor’s appointment, and if he is (700) miles away.   

A normal day when he is in-season working for the draft in June, we talk over (10) times a day, sometimes more. It can be work, casual, how are you, just missed a deer running out on me on I-85 or I-77. And, it can be I’m out of this game this guy isn’t at least (85) so I’m on I-85 type talks. My Birthday was on July 12th, he started calling me singing Happy Birthday at 7:00 AM. He must have called me a dozen times while doing Pro Coverage in Wilmington, DE, singing it over, and over to me (GAG). The next day, the your Birthday was yesterday songs started, guess you had to be their (GAG AGAIN)!    

Married to a coach and a scout, as I have been in both arena’s, is being willing to adjust, and to do things alone sometimes, learning to mow the lawn, and other duties he cannot be there to perform. Learning to have your own life, and interests, around children, and family extensions of up to 700 miles away. You must love your man, respect his life, and job responsibilities, “make hay when the son shines”, when he is home, and not just be a “Girlie Girl”! You may even have to slap the fire out of a ten-year old kid, for yelling out a LHP’s velo to everyone in God forsaken North Carolina, for God’s sake or his MOM!   

I would not have chosen any other man, or his career options, we have shared it all together. But, you must keep everything in perspective, even on those special times visits by phone; when grandchildren say, “Tell Grandpa hi for me and I love him, and I forget what he looks like Grandma!”  

Baseball has been very good to us, and I hope I helped you out for your story line. Divorce runs high in both of these arenas, but “Girlie Girls”, and making adjustments by both is critical, and understanding is essential.  

“Roll up your sleeves, smile when everything tells you to frown”, and enjoy a hot dog at a game, can make everything worthwhile. I watch the major league games and on TV, so I can see the kids my husband has followed up to seven years, and drafted or signed play.

DP Note: We sincerely thank the four fine ladies who took the time to provide us a clearer picture of what their lives are like being married to professional nomads!