Written by Danielle Lutz
Wife to Derrik Lutz

The summer of ’05 I took a vacation up to Cape Cod with my family like I had every summer for as long as I could remember. I had gone to the Chatham A’s baseball games since I was a little girl and always loved to play on the playground, eat candy, and maybe watch a little baseball. This summer though it was a little different. The game became a little more interesting because the boys were suddenly my age. My little sisters, who kept going over to the bull pen for autographs, suddenly walked back to us with part of a Cheez-It box in their hands. On it there was a note: Dear Blonde Girl – What’s your age and status? I was beyond excited and quickly filled out: 20 and Single!

My friend, who was on vacation with us, wrote her name and phone number on a baseball my sisters had found and threw it to one of the guys after that game and said “call me”. Before we knew it we were having the summer of our lives! We were laying on the beach during the day texting the cute baseball players, going to their games at night, and partying all night long. It was fun to say the least! Before we knew it though summer was coming to an end, the guys season was almost over, college was about to start back up, and I had to head back home to Florida… to my boyfriend! We had a long ride home from Massachusetts to Florida for me to really think about what the heck I was doing with my life. I was on cloud nine after this amazing summer, but knew reality was about to smack me in the face.

Derrik and I texted non-stop from the second we pulled out and over the next day and a half while driving home. I remember my mom saying, “Danielle, we just crossed the Florida border so you might want to stop texting that boy and remember you have a boyfriend at home waiting for you”. I didn’t care and as soon as I got home I immediately broke things off with my boyfriend of about two years and decided to start dating the random guy I met over the summer who was now back at school for his junior year of college at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Needless to say my friends and family were seriously questioning my sanity at this point!

I’m not sure why, but I decided to take a trip up to D.C. once classes had started for Derrik. I thought it was just going to be a fun visit and still wasn’t expecting anything. I mean I was from Florida, and he was from D.C. with hopes of playing baseball for the rest of his life. How was it supposed to work? Needless to say one trip to D.C. turned into a lot of trips. The words “I love you” were exchanged. Derrik came to visit over Thanksgiving break and then Christmas break. Throughout this time I began to learn a little bit more about baseball. I knew the minimum – 9 innings, 4 balls or 3 strikes, 3 outs in an inning – I think you get the point. I still had no clue what I was getting myself into when it came to this baseball lifestyle, but I did know, without a doubt, that I loved this boy with all my heart!

We continued to date exclusively through the end of his junior year of college, and then the draft quickly approached. He was drafted in ’06 by the Cincinnati Reds, and was soon off to Dayton, Ohio to play with their low-A affiliate the Dayton Dragons. At this point I remember seriously questioning what in the world I was doing. There was no hope of us ever building a relationship that was beyond weekend visits and phone calls, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Derrik decided to move to Florida that off season so we could be together and see if we even liked each other if we were together for more then a couple of days. The off season was amazing and a challenge. We learned to spend time together without baseball involved. It posed its challenges, but in the end we were even more in love then ever. We decided to take a cruise before the chaos of another season started, and Derrik proposed on the ship. We were engaged in February of ’07, married September ’07, and found out we were pregnant in December of ’07.

Being married to a baseball player is a lifestyle I never thought I would live. We have moved eight times since we’ve been married, lived in hardly furnished apartments, packed up our life in a matter of hours, dealt with living apart for three months out of the year with road trips, and most recently dealt with rehab from Tommy John surgery. Add into the mix a toddler and it equals chaos! There are days where I wish baseball didn’t exist, but when I’m really true to myself I know we couldn’t live without it. Way down deep inside we love the travel, we love seeing new places, and we love the unexpected of what’s next.

Right now my son, Ryder, and I are in Massachusetts with my parents while my husband waits for the final word that his rehab is done. We lived with him up until a week ago, but the uncertainty of a last minute move across country to go re-join his teammates is too much with a baby. We are once again separated, anxiously awaiting answers that the team won’t give us, but in a few weeks from now this will all be behind us and we’ll be back in the game once again!

If you would have asked me on my trip up to Cape Cod in the summer of ’05 if this was the life I was going to live I would tell you that you were crazy! I think back to the progression of our relationship and it scares me how easily I could have let it all go. How easily I could have not gone to D.C., how easily I could have given up when minor league baseball offered us no chance to be together, but luckily that feeling in my heart kept telling me to keep going, to keep visiting, to keep having hope. I truly believe in always following your heart because it has made me the luckiest girl in the world and no matter how crazy baseball gets…. It’s worth it to be with him!

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