Once, I was told by Twitter that if I liked a girl that I followed back, I would probably like... um 18 "Cleat Chaser" twitters. And then just a few days ago someone vented to me their intense annoyance at a not at all self sufficient baseball girlfriend.  So I just had to write a little about this role in the world.

It'll surprise you maybe, that I understand that someone could just really love baseball and therefore be drawn to baseball players.  There are a lot of things about good baseball players- athletes in general- that are super attractive. And, no, these are not going to match up with that "You should date a baseball player because" t-shirts, despite how witty those can be:)  Athletes are usually relatively ok to look at, at least in their prime, hahaha. So there's that.  Most of the good ones are goal oriented, driven, focused and relentless.  Success breeds confidence and confidence is attractive. I think that especially in baseball, there's a pretty good chance perseverance is a trait in most high level players, and eventually the best have to be disciplined people.  Of course, this is all in general, but I'm just saying- these are great things in a man.  And since a baseball player's life experiences breed all of these things in some way or another, I get why someone's "type" could include a baseball player. 

But....

Cleat chasers are a different story.  These are girls for whom the fact he is an athlete trumps anything at all about his actual person.  You play baseball, great.  Done deal.  That doesn't work for me, or for anyone my kids are ever gonna date.

Assuming no one is reading this as research for landing a ball player (big assumption I know) lemme tell you a little about our lives as wives of men who play baseball for a living.  Lemme tell you what I think it takes to be a good partner in this life.

1.  Flexibility.  Don't snicker.  Flexibility as in being able to adjust to whatever, whenever, as often as is needed.  This is not a cushy life for most wives.  Even in baseball there are relative levels of very comfortable, and this post isn't about someone who ends up being able to hire all her stress away.  For most wives, life means never knowing where you are going to be next, and being ok, or at least putting on a brave face about it.  I have recorded 40 addresses with the post office.  Think about it.  We live in Spring Training which is in a different area for each team.  We then go somewhere for the season.  And then we go "home" for a whole 4 months, maybe.  Do NOT consider this life if you are going to make sure your husband hears how disappointed, sad, and inconvenienced you are because you have to leave your new friend, your favorite city, your family, or the shop you shouldn't have opened in the cute little downtown of the city you thought would be home because your husband had a great year there... spare him, yourself and your children.  Learn how to pack light, need little, and see change as an adventure.

2. Confidence.  A band, I think maybe the Counting Crows, were in town for a concert and a girlfriend attached herself to me and waited for her boyfriend in the wives room with me.  Yes, most stadiums have a room for the wives to wait in, and for the kids to play in.  I didn't think anything of the walk into that room of course; it was mine.  But she, she pulled me aside and said, "Wow, Mariana, this is worse than a Grammy party.  Walking into that room was horrifying." WHAT?  Apparently, wives, like most groups of bored women (half joking) can be mean.  If a cold stare or a look up and down or the fact someone has a purse more expensive or a diamond bigger than yours is going to make you waver at all, this life might not be for you.  That's a within the game need for confidence in meeting new people and figuring out how to co exist with them while you are together.  On a different note, I remember too many times where women literally pushed me out of the way to get to my husband for an autograph and picture while he was in the middle of his career.  Literally shoved me, adjusted their assets, and squealed, "Daaaannnnnnteee" SO.  If that kind of thing makes you think you are about to lose your family, again not the life for you.  I'd either go sit somewhere until Dante realized he lost me, or I would wait for things to be not so loud and yell, "Hey!....Babe!....Bye!" And leave.

3.
Faith.  See above.  If you don't believe you are here for a reason, placed perfectly for whatever needs to be done through you, this is gonna drive you crazy.

4.
Ability to figure things out. Because, if not, you will be wasting money hiring people for things you should be able to do which despite your insistence of the fact that nail maintenance is a job, just sort of makes you silly.  Also, a baseball player needs to be a baseball player during the season, not a figurer- outer.  The more you can do without asking for help the better.  I remember a wife who just could NOT do anything for herself. Her husband was pretty amazing, but his career wasn't long and I remember thinking  that if he could have had room to focus and his wife could move, set up utilities, find a pediatrician, sign a lease, etc, that he would have had a clearer mind on the field.

5.
Initiative and ambition. It can be BORING without these, unless you kill every second shopping, in which case you will likely have to develop initiative and ambition after your husband's career because the more you make the more you spend and when it stops coming in you will WISH you'd done something besides spend it when you had it.  HA! But truly- to be productive yourself, WHILE being a great companion, you have to find something you love that you can do while having no home base and no guaranteed time anywhere.  Everyone is different, but the marriages I have personal experience with as strongest after baseball have something in common:  the wife kept the family together, which often meant setting aside her ability to also work, because almost no job allows for the schedule we keep.  Obviously, this applies when it can- minor league wives sometimes really HAVE to work for example, and I am absolutely not saying you can't have a normal job, but your time with your husband naturally will suffer.  So I think you come up with things that your skill set allows you to do during the season on your schedule.  For me, I helped with fundraisers galore.  As SOON as I'd get to wherever my season was I would find someone to go work with.  For years my older son would tell people I worked at the Children's Hospital.  He probably thought I was a doctor. We raised a lot of money for a lot of charities and I never felt that I wasn't being productive or using my skill set during Dante's career.

6.
Energy! All I can say is that a family that travels together stays together.  I was never happy to send my husband off for a road trip, I dragged my kids along most of the time, until their school schedules made me stay back.  We laugh about my treks through the country with a child who was an expert packer and airport behaver, a baby oblivious in the stroller, with a massage table slung across my back... Yep, better have some energy.

7.
Interest in his career. I learned all about massage because as my husband got older he was always tight and something ache.  Hotel massages are sometimes sketchy and hardly ever available after a game and dinner.  So, I would carry that table around and work.  I'm pretty sure that I threw my shoulder out giving Dante a massage.  We just had a reunion at Coors field of the original Rockies and a wife said what she remembered about me most was how involved I always was in learning about Dante's career and that she still thinks that's the most important thing.  Wives will go about it in different ways, but whatever you can do to make sure you are helping is awesome.

8. Resiliency. Maybe the most important thing.  Grow a THICK skin, and then a thicker one over that one.  Bounce back.  Deal with chaos.  Don't start a fight in the stands. (I'm gonna go back and read that one because I need that reminder a LOT) Understand media.  Understand who talking heads are (you'll feel sorrier for them instead of angry). Understand fans.  Understand GMs.  If you break under pressure, run.  You are going to hear that your husband SUCKS.  That you SUCK.  That your kids SUCK. You are going to hear that you don't deserve anything you just spent half of the life you can remember working for.  That your husband deserves NONE of what he spent his entire life working for.  And you will have to smile.

Remember, I chose to blog because I don't have to proofread- and everything I do is stream of consciousness.  I might forget disclaimers more than I should.  But this is how I would counsel my daughter in law.  These are the things I'd expand on. And we'd go on for DAYS.  Most of the time people think of WAGS- Wives and Girlfriends- of athletes as trophies.  And I will say, they've become more a part of the culture than I imagined, but of course, for shallow reasons. 

I've seen more "Hottest wives" sites than I ever cared to.  For me, if your goal is to be on those sites, I'd bet you'll enjoy a few years as a Baseball Wife but not your whole life as the wife of a man who played baseball.  BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC difference.  Life altering difference.  So finally the main rule:
LOVE THE MAN.  NOT THE PROFESSION.  THE MAN REMAINS.  THE JOB ENDS.  Good luck:)