Written by Courtney O'Connor
Wife to Mike O'Connor

My name is Courtney O’Connor, and I am both a career woman and a baseball wife. With that being said, I have never been a full-time baseball wife and traveled with my husband. I struggle with this weird dichotomy every day.

I visit my husband every few weeks, and I rarely fit in with the other baseball wives. I can’t completely relate because I have never been a full-time baseball wife. At the same time, the full-time baseball wives can’t completely relate to me either. Sometimes I am questioned as to why I work or why I don’t support my husband full-time, and I tend to get defensive because I take pride in the sacrifices I’ve made to be both a baseball wife and a career woman. I want it all.

Mike and I met at George Washington University in Washington DC in 2000 when we were both 20 years old. We started dating our senior year of college right before September 11, 2001. We spent the entire day of September 11th together glued to the TV. We literally watched smoke pour out of the Pentagon from the window of our dorm. As our senior year of college came to a close, Mike mentioned that he might get drafted. I was completely blindsided because we were both finance majors and had both been interviewing for “real jobs.”

Mike got drafted in the 7th round of the 2002 draft by the Montreal Expos. Not too shabby considering he was never a highly touted college player nor did he go to a big baseball school. He played A ball from 2002 to 2005. By 2005, everyone was asking me when he was going to give up baseball and get a real job. Fast forward to 2006, he skipped AA, started the year in AAA, and three weeks later got called up to the big leagues with the Washington Nationals. He was playing in the city where we met, went to school, and lived. It was great having him “home.” Mike subsequently had a couple of injuries, but he spent about a year in big leagues from 2006 to 2008. The following year Mike played for the Buffalo Bisons (AAA for the Mets). He had a fantastic year, but he didn’t get the call despite his 2.67 ERA. Regardless, I had a fabulous summer watching Mike pitch online (via Gameday) and touring the International league a few weekends a month.

I love my husband dearly and have been extremely supportive over the years, but I have never been able to pull the plug on my career, education, dreams, or my own independence for baseball.

I have a great job that I got by working hard and putting in a lot of time and effort. I carefully plotted out my college years and had an internship almost every semester, including one on Capitol Hill for Senator Joe Biden (now Vice President Biden). I studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a semester to take a break from my business courses. I learned Italian, took Art History classes, and traveled throughout Europe. Upon graduation, I worked as a Financial Analyst for America Online (AOL).

For the past 6 years, I’ve worked for Marriott International at their corporate headquarters. I currently work in the Development, Planning & Feasibility group evaluating new hotel developments and potential hotel acquisitions, as well as asset management of existing hotels. I like the stability of working for a Fortune 500 company given the instability and uncertainty of baseball.

There are days that I really want to throw in the towel on my job and career, but I figure we’ve made it through several seasons already. What’s a few more? I really love my husband and my career. Our unique situation has made us a stronger couple, and as a result, we have a very solid marriage. After more than 9 years together (and apart due to baseball), we are more madly in love today than ever. Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder.

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3 Comments

  1. LOVED the post Courtney! I COMPLETELY relate to everything you said... the best part is we have never met but this is Jesse Wilkie (Josh's wife) and our husbands have been throwing together practically every off season for the past few years. I just found this website by accident today because of an online discussion another wife had sent me about winter ball (Josh is leaving soon for Caracus, VZ)... and that is how I found it. Must have been meant to be! We should get together. Anyways, we are actually at Matt Owen's wedding in Hilton Head right now (played ball my year at GWU)... I thought it was funny to stumble upon this website in the first place... and then esp to see a post I totally relate to that happens to be from someone so close to home. I work my butt off as a private wealth manager for Morgan Stanley in Washington, DC and struggle almost daily with whether pursing my passion (while let's be honest, securing a living for Josh and myself as well) is the right thing to do. I've only met Mike a few times but I know he is very proud of you and your accomplishments at work, and I know Josh feels the same way. Guess there is not a right or wrong answer, both choices are difficult. We should get together for a drink sometime soon before our hubbies leave! Best, Jesse

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  2. hey jesse!

    i've heard a lot about you too! its sounds like we have a lot in common. we should totally get together. its a small world--my brother (rob stuart) lives in your building and apparently knows you from the sports club la. he went to GWU too and was on the swimming and diving team (2004 grad).

    mike actually leaves this weekend for DR. he played winterball in venezuela last year--margarita island. josh will be fine. i was a little nervous visiting, but the team sent me a "helper" at the caracas aiport. it was totally fine. such an adventure. hilarious actually. :)

    i'll try finding you on FB and we can try to get together soon.

    best,
    courtney

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  3. I love reading these stories. My husband works in the front office for a team but have had to balance both of our careers. I love how you continue to work and persue your passions as well.

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