Cassidy Dover: "When The Spot You Take Is That Of A Friend"
One year Ray had a great spring training. Unfortunately, at the end of Spring training, the numbers shook out and Ray was designated for assignment. At the time it wasn't unfortunate, it was devastating and scary and hard to wrap my mind around. I didn't understand how things worked in this sort of a situation. What would happen? Where would we go? Why did Ray come home and wait and not report somewhere? It was all so confusing.
Ray explained to me that since he hadn't been taken off the roster before, we had to see if another team picked him up to put him on their big league roster or if we would have to go to AAA. The first designation offers no option for the player who has been designated. So Ray came home and we waited. We watched a movie, "The Rookie." I don't know if that was a motivator or not for Ray, but it was the movie we watched as Ray's team took the field on opening day and he sat with me in our apartment, in limbo.
The next day the phone rang and Ray was told which team had picked him up. Then we learned he was leaving on the next flight in the morning. We had to decide if I'd go with him to find an apartment or stay behind. Remember, I had a job and to go meant taking off work. Ray was relieved and thankful that he had been picked up off waivers. He was excited to start the next chapter of his career and prove to his new team they made the right decision and prove to his prior team that they had made a mistake.
I had to decide if I was even going to keep my job! That was a decision that needed to be made quickly - the team which picked up Ray wanted to send movers to pack up our stuff and move it to the new city as soon as possible. As Ray hadn't been through this before we didn't know if there was a limited time that the team would pay to move us or not. We decided I'd take a leave of absence from my job and join him.
The next morning we made the trip to our new city. Fortunately one of Ray's friends from school lived there and was willing to help us find a great place to live. We were able to set up the apartment and get acclimated. The season went on and Ray did OK. He had his bumps and bruises and his highs and lows.
No thought went into who that spot on the roster belonged to prior to Ray's being picked up and placed there. We didn't think about the other family who had thought they were set, just like us. At the last minute, they were reassigned to AAA.
Ray was designated later in the season. We got to AAA and I met the other wives at the first game. I quickly became friends with one of them. She was my go-to girl! Her husband was a starting pitcher as well. They were starting their family. We had similar interests and all four of us got along great. One day we were talking and my friend said to me, "Cassidy, I have to confess, I didn't think I'd like you."
"Really, why not?" I asked her.
"Well, see, Ray took my husband's spot on the roster. We had been told we made the team out of camp and then, right before they boarded the plane, he was told to hang back. He was put in a holding pattern for two days."
I was shocked! As I said, I had never thought about that before. Here this couple had gone through the same situation we had those days, only they went to AAA and we were relocated. "Wow, I didn't realize that," I told her honestly. We then talked about how she had looked at the board and kind of kept an eye on how Ray was doing each game out.
Her frankness was refreshing because I knew that I had done the same plenty of times during Ray's career. You always know that in order for you to be promoted, someone has to be either injured, or not performing their job. So you keep one eye on the big leagues while trying to make the most of your time in the minor leagues. When you're that close, you do this whether others admit it or not.
This was the first time I had ever realized that there was someone doing that with Ray.
We are still friends with this family. Years have passed. I don't know if my girlfriend even remembers that conversation. I do though. It's difficult to explain, but now that Ray has been playing for so long we know most of those players who go up and down. These people are friends. Even promotions in baseball aren't always fantastic. There are a number of factors both on the surface and beneath that play into your emotions. Friendships in baseball have to be strong because more often than not, the spot you take on a roster will cause a chain effect that in some way, will affect your friends.
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. To read more of her columns, just click HERE. Cassidy lives somewhere in America with her daughter Sheridan. Right now, they're probably waiting for Ray to come home.