By Cassidy Dover: "At Least We Were Able To Laugh"
Not every baseball marriage is perfect. In fact, none are. But really, what marriage is? Today, our resident baseball wife, Cassidy Dover, writes about one particularly bad argument she had with her husband Ray some years ago. He was having a bad season and she was coming off a miscarriage. Neither was in a good place, which led to her uttering the one phrase no baseball wife should ever say to her husband. I really think you're going to like this one.
Meanwhile, here's some additional reading/listening for you if you're particularly interested in the subject of the baseball marriage dynamics or just can't get enough of Jimmy Scott's High & Tight (Hi, I'm Jimmy and I love you very much for that):
Kym Byrd (wife of MLB pitcher Paul Byrd, who is currently on hiatus)
Dr. Tom Robbins & Nancy DeLaney (authors of Marriage in Pro Sports study)
Diana McNab (Life coach)
Alisa & Nelson Figueroa (both on the phone; funny and enlightening)
You're getting to be the baseball marriage expert, aren't you? Oh, you make me so proud! I wanna just squeeze your cheeks and make you a pot roast. Speaking of which, I'm going to get roasted if I don't give you what you came here for, that great new column by real baseball wife Cassidy Dover. So, with very little further adieu (that's a French word, right?) here we go:
At Least We Were Able To Laugh…
I remember the season. It was Ray’s second season at this particular level. I now know it’s common for a pitcher, their second year, or "sophomore year" to slump at some time. There are scouting reports, or "charts" done on each batter by each team an entire season. Often a team has more than one chart on each pitcher. So you presume that means there is quite a bit of information about each pitcher out there for the batters to look at. This allows them to come up with a game plan for how to approach a pitcher. The pitcher needs to be smart and come up with an adjustment so that the batters don’t have the upper hand.
This one season, Ray wasn’t doing so well. I’ll be honest, he wasn’t really as bad as I had thought he was at the time. However, I had come to expect all-star caliber pitching from Ray at all times. He was soaring and moving through the different levels at a consistent rate without too much of an issue. Not this season. It may have been the small nagging injury that Ray was pitching with. He could have used a trip to the DL, but no one wants to do that for a small injury that you can play through. It may have been due to situations at home. It’s hard to know for certain.
I say situations at home because I’m not sure Ray and I liked each other too much that season. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about from your own relationship. You can always love your spouse but if you're honest, there are times you just don’t like each other. Those are the "rough patches" in a marriage that you must work through. We had lost our first child. We had moved, again. I was an emotional wreck but wanted to act strong. I was guarded and therefore I was friendly with the other women who were there, but not friends. They all reached out to offer me their friendship, I was just unavailable to them. I had an especially hard time as most of our team that year seemed to either have newborns or were currently pregnant. They also, to me, seemed to have great friendships in place. I was feeling both unworthy of their friendship because there was something wrong with me (I mean who loses a baby at sixteen weeks unless it’s a punishment, right?) and I didn’t want to be around babies or pregnant women because it made me sad. I felt I didn’t want to bring them down.
So that left Ray. Ray was suddenly responsible for being my one and only friend. He had to pick up the slack for how I was perceiving the world that year. In addition to me, he needed to perform at his job. He was trying to make a place for himself so that he would be recalled and have a shot at the Big Leagues again.
Now I hope it makes more sense. Even as much of a professional as Ray is, his home life sometimes affects his job. I know for myself, when I worked outside the home, things affected how I felt day to day, too. The difference was that my job wasn’t done in front of thousands of fans who used my job as an escape from their reality. I couldn’t do what Ray and other ball players do! Even now, when I scream at Sheridan for something I think, "Wow, what if they came and took my daughter away each and every time I messed up? What if I needed to worry with each decision and action that my job, the one I was born to do, could be taken away from me?"
I can’t say that’s the mind set of a great minor league/average major league/AAAA (yes that says 4 A on purpose) pitcher. I can just say having lived with Ray all these years, that’s how I perceive it would feel. Ray would tell you he goes out there and makes sure he’s the best ballplayer and the Number One each time the ball is handed to him. Each time he holds the ball, he’s in charge of his own future. He relishes the opportunity that he gets, no matter the level, to be blessed to play baseball for a living.
See, I digress. I am easily distracted. That can be tough to live with. One thing I’m not, is quick to forget. Poor Ray!
This particular season, Ray was struggling. He wasn’t lights out. There were others receiving call ups. I was upset. To be honest, he probably could have spent the year in the Big Leagues and I would have found something else to be upset about. I was unhappy.
One day, Ray was home but needing to get to the field. I had picked some fight with him. Difference was he had engaged me in my mood that day. He was upset and yelling, I was upset and yelling (you know what I’m talking about.) We were each lashing out with words to hurt the other that were completely unnecessary. Ray was holding one of those soft toss baseballs that are free giveaways from the park. We had one at the house for our new puppy to play with. Ray was using it more as a stress ball. Gripping it, releasing his grip. Gripping it, releasing his grip. Finally he’d had enough. "I need to go now Cassidy!" he said.
"Of course you do. Isn’t it convenient that you need to leave for the field rather than talk to me!" (These words leave my mouth a lot when I’m angry.)
It happened so fast. Ray didn’t have time to think about it and my lips moved faster than my mind. Ray threw that soft baseball and it hit the wall next to my head with a loud THUD!
"Ray! You could have killed me! I can’t believe you’d throw a baseball at my head!" I said in horror.
"If I had wanted to hit you Cassidy, I would have. I’m a pitcher. I hit my mark" Ray said.
As he turned to leave the room I said, "Not this season you don’t! You haven’t been able to hit your mark in a while!"
Ray stormed out. I heard the door slam. I waited for him to come back. He didn’t.
I tried to call his cell phone. He had turned it off or was ignoring it. He was mad! I had gone to that one place a baseball wife should never go to. I had criticized his pitching ability. I'm not supposed to be the one who does that. It’s my job to support him unconditionally. I had messed up! I'm guessing I apologized that night after the game. We’re not divorced after all.
Ray and I were sharing this story with friends one night and he said, "Cassidy, I have to be honest with you. The reason I stormed out and didn’t talk to you wasn’t because I was mad. I was laughing too hard. You NEVER say that kind of thing to me! Plus, you were probably right."
Isn’t it always satisfying to know you’re right?
Another secret to our marriage - I’m always right and even if it takes years for Ray to concede the point, he lets me believe that!
Thanks for reading!
Cassidy Dover has been a baseball wife for more than 10 years. Her husband Ray, currently in the minor leagues, has spent part of 7 seaons in The Show. Cassidy lives somewhere in America with her daughter Sheridan. Right now, they're probably waiting for Ray to come home.