Written by Lisa Heisey
Wife to Chris Heisey

As many wives in the baseball world, I am responsible for finding and setting up living arrangements for the season.

I get stressed, send hundreds of emails, and spend many hours discussing these decisions with other wives on our teams. There are so many details to figure out like how close to the ball park, how many units available (we all have to live close), is it a month-to-month lease, is cable and internet included, etc.

I always knew that I would find somewhere to live and that we would make it just fine, I just never knew that there would be other people in the picture. I think that is one thing that has surprised to most people, about our lives in baseball. For us to financially make it through a season, we would need roommates. Heck, it even surprised me a year into our marriage!

Spring training of 2009, Chris and I decided that for the 4-5 weeks of spring training we could live with two other couples from the Reds. We hardly knew them; Chris had only played with them for a month or so at the end of the previous season. However, the situation fit and it was CHEAP. We roll onto our street in Sarasota, FL and see these beautiful houses. We were thinking, okay we can do this.

However, as the street went on the houses began to change, get smaller and older. The house we rented was so different then what we expected we drove right past it the first time! Tri-colored walls, one sofa, random beer posters, were what we walked into. BUT, there was a kitchen and three bedrooms, so we could make it work. CHEAP remember? So Chris and I rolled our twin beds together and unpacked. Little did we know that we would make some of the best friends, and have some great times in these tight, colorful living arrangements. Nights were full of drinks, scrabble, cranium and even to the boys dismay, American Idol.

Those couple weeks flew by and we really did enjoy our “cheap” option. Especially since we were already moved out when we found there were rat traps behind the dishwasher. No big deal. However, what we did next surprised me, and all our family back home. Apparently, they didn’t realize how important saving money was, or how little we make in AA baseball. We decided we would live with one of the couples we lived with during spring training for the SEASON.

Now, let me explain.

This isn’t just any couple, well neither are we, but they had a 6 month old baby. We had a puppy. They had a dog, and two cats. Talk about a cramped two bedroom apartment. There were no secrets in this apartment; there was no ROOM for secrets.

We became a big family, and learned a lot about ourselves and each other. I learned when to grab the baby and keep him occupied when mommy needed a minute. She learned that at night if I am tired and hungry good luck having a good time with me. We adjusted.

We had to adjust.

Our wonderful apartment had the essentials, couch, TV, table, two beds, and internet. Cable on occasion when it didn’t rain, there was no wind, or the box was working. Can you tell we had quality living quarters? Lesson learned there.

I mention these essentials because we have had to sacrifice many of these for affordable living. Cable and internet only if necessary, beds who needs beds when there are air mattresses. See, sacrifice is a common word in baseball. I find that with many of the struggles and experiences that come along with baseball stretch us and teach us new things in life. I would never have told you when I got married I would be “marrying” another family too and live with them. I WOULD have told you however, that it was a crazy idea to try to cramp couples and families of differing beliefs and backgrounds into a tiny apartment. But it worked.

All those onlookers out there that think that this is the life, try giving up your personal space, living with almost complete strangers, sleeping on pushed together single beds. Oh the things we do for the ones we love and their dreams. We always say years down the road we will look back at these times and laugh. To think that since we have been married we have lived with five different couples. Sacrifice remember? BUT as crazy as it all sounds, I would probably do it all again.

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One Comment

  1. Most "young marrieds" I know have made sacrifices early in their marriage. I remember eating pinto beans and corn bread three times a week (which, by the way, is a great cure for "irregularity"). But although my non-baseball-hubby and I made sacrifices, they were never quite as crowded as yours.

    I was never a fan of baseball growing up but got "hooked" about 5 years ago. We seldom miss a Durham Bulls game now. It was only after a year or so of going regularly that it began to dawn on me how weird the life of a player must be. Almost no time off for months at a time at a minimum (assuming no off-season ball play in Venezuela or whatever). That alone would drive me nuts.

    But it wasn't until I began reading y'all's blog that I began to realize how difficult and challenging the baseball life must be for the baseball wife and the rest of the family.

    Thanks for giving us a window into "the life".

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