Thursday, February 9, 2012

Opening Day

Playing in the minor leagues tries men (and their wives) in ways that seem only comparable to the military. Playing in the minor leagues for your fourth season when you were a first round draft pick tries your belief in not just the game, but in your ability, your purpose and your very being. So when Joe began the 2010 season a 25 year old first rounder back in high A ball, he questioned if baseball was worth the high price he seemed to be paying. 

Joe's parents and my father went to college together. We had known each other, and been pushed to date, for several years. When we did start dating, Joe made a career change from a starting pitcher to a position player and ended up in the humid, hot sun of Clearwater, FL. Joe put up video game-like numbers his first month as a hitter, I am talking an average of 621. He cooled off in May and cooled way off in June. One night, the Clearwater Threshers played in a 21 inning game and put Joe on the mound, simply because they ran out of guys in the bullpen. That night, he threw a 94 mph fast ball and an 87 mph slider. Something in his arm started working again and he was moved up to AA at the end of June. Joe continued to keep consistent numbers in the mid 90's. I was finally able to go join him in July and after only 3 weeks in AA, they told him to put up the bat for good and sent him up to be a Lehigh Valley Iron Pig, the Phillies AAA afflliate. 

I was "just a girlfriend" for the 2011 season. I put that term in quotations because that is the way we, the non-wives*, were made to feel at times; as if our dedication didn't mean as much because were weren't married. What it really meant, was that trying to take time out of my life, job, school was even harder because it was for "just a boyfriend". So to all the girlfriends out there, I commend you and your dedication to your man. 

 I was finishing my senior year at Ole Miss and it seemed that every opportunity for our plans to fall through, they crashed to the ground. We cancelled trips, paid extra to try and get on different flights, hugged good-bye next to the bus after only seeing each other for 3 hours because they decided to change the game schedule..... you get what I am trying to say. Our relationship was tested and our (my) patience wore thin. Joe is the most patient, loving man I know, but his faith is my favorite thing about him. God bless all the men whom Joe works with that he can talk to and pray with, and God bless his spiritual leadership with me through the many uncertainties of the season. Come September, being together every day was going to be a luxury; but getting through the season together allowed us to see that baseball will come and go, but we had staying power. 

Joe's team progressed to the league finals in September, thus prolonging his eventual return to Houston (much to my chagrin). On the last night of the series, I flew into Philadelphia expecting to begin the long drive back to Texas.  While I was in the air, the Phillies promoted Joe as a late September call up. On September 17, 2011, Joe dressed in his Phillies uniform and his brother, my dad and I watched him from the stands at Citizens Bank Park. Phillies clenched the NL East that night and Joe sprayed champagne in the locker room his first night as a major leaguer. The families gathered on the field and we got to see Joe in his soaked NL East Champions shirt and hat, freezing and smiling. About an hour and a half later, Joe proposed in our hotel room. My dad and his brother waited in the hotel restaurant with champagne, to which Joe toasted, "Well, Jen, I got called up and we got engaged. I think it is all downhill from here!" 

Here is hoping that it is just the start! 

We married January 14, 2012. Our wedding was amazing and so wonderful. If you are reading this and were a guest, we thank you. We could not have hoped for a better night! Everything was navy, ivory and silver with tons of candlelight, breakfast food and a band to knock your socks off... or split your rented tux pants down the crotch seam, which is what happened to one of Joe's groomsman. Best. Night. Ever. Best man to marry ever!  

Basically how we looked all night. Notice my beautiful friends and mother behind us.
Thanks, Kelly Hornberger Photography  
Now, a month later,  Joe will leave for Spring Training. Part of the 40 Man, we don't know what this season holds for Joe. I will remain in Houston teaching high school English until summer and then go travel with him and our 4 month old Corgi, Polly Pocket. 

Baseball life creates a tumultuous juxtaposition of monotony and spontaneity. Joe will do basically the same thing everyday until, at the drop of a hat (or ERA), he gets moved to a new town, new team. Until June, Joe and I will take on the long distance marriage, something I am certain I will not recommend trying, let alone trying as a newlywed. 

It will not be without prayer, faith and trust in God and each other that we take on this season.

Joe, me and our "child," Polly
Thus, here I am entering the blogging world. Stay tuned, this season has only just begun.....

* Now a wife, I promise to be as nice as I can to all the girls I meet. Be she a wife, girlfriend, fiance, side-beef or one night stand-- I will be her friend because it can be pretty boring in those stands alone. 

** Background photo courtesy of Kelly Hornberger Photography-- check her blog out, too! 


  1. Welcome to blogging, Jenn! From what I've seen on facebook, your wedding was gorgeous and tons of fun! And we're both corgi owners now! Polly is precious, by the way. I can't wait to read more about newlywed life and your exciting adventures with Joe this summer.


  2. Congrats Jen and welcome to the blogging world! I'm not sure if you'd remember me, but I picked you up at PiPhi while you were going through rush in 2007. It looks like all is well! Congrats again to you and Joe!


  3. hi jen! im actually your cousin gabriella.i heard tons about the wedding and got looked awesome.say hi to joe for me