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2008-05-07 07:58
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Yesterday afternoon, Pete Abraham excerpted a portion of Cynthia Rodriguez's chat with Michael Kay on the new YES program, YESterdays:

"As tough and big as [Alex] seems, he is real wimpy around doctors or any type of medical situation. I don't know why I thought the birth of our child would be different. In the middle of the night, I realized that I needed to go to the hospital. I wake him up. The first thing that comes out of his mouth, 'Can we call your mother?' And I started, 'No. Let's wait and make sure that I am in labor, and make sure that, you know, it's the middle of the night.' And go to the hospital and everything. And finally, a few hours later, I said, 'I think you can call my mom now.'

"Uh, and the color came back to his face when I told him he could call my mom. And then forget it. I was like not even having a baby; he was the one. The one nurse had a cold cloth on his head. The other nurse had the blood pressure on his arm. And my mother was like rubbing his back. And he is passed out on a couch. And I am there, in the middle of labor. And really, I am not being paid much attention to besides the doctor and a couple of nurses. And he is there moaning. In between pushing, I am going, 'Honey, are you OK?' And are you breathing? Are you OK?'"

I can't even watch child birth on TV, so I can only imagine how I'd fare up close. Still, this story reminded me of another, more upsetting reality for baseball wives. From Pat Jordan's classic profile of Steve and Cyndi Garvey, "Trouble in Paradise":

The other day my daughter fell out of a tree and broke her wrist.  My husband and I rushed her to the hospital.  While she was in the operating room I had to fill out a questionaire for a nurse.  When I said my husband's occupation was 'baseball player,' she asked, for what team?  I told her.  Then she asked, what position?  I got so pissed off, I shoved the paper at my husband and told him to deal with her, she was obviously more interested in him than our daughter.  Now there's another woman who's gonna think I'm just a stuck-up wife of a star.
 
Anyway, just before they set my daughter's wrist, my husband had to leave to go to the stadium.  He couldn't wait.  That's the clearest vision of when the game comes first.  Before anything.  It's so cut-and-dried with him.  I got furious.  It's always been like that.  Another time I had a baby while he was playing in the World Series.  When they wheeled me back from the delivery room--I'm just coming out of the anesthesia--the nurse is putting on the TV.  'I thought you'd like to watch your husband playing in the World Series,' she says.  I screamed at her to shut it off.  Hell, he didn't come to watch me.  I could have died in childbirth and my man wouldn't have been there.  The burden is always on the wife's shoulders.  Her man is never there.

For a candid and revealing portrait of what is like to be the wife of a ball player, consider Home Games: Two Baseball Wives Speak Out, written by Bobbie Bouton and Nancy Marshall. Both women are divorced their husbands, Jim Bouton and Mike Marshall.

Comments
2008-05-07 08:17:11
1.   Andre
nice post. I started drumming when I was a little kid. I got pretty good, and always dreamed of being a "rock star" but as I got older and into my college years, I wondered if I'd really be up for it. In exchange for all of the million$, fame, etc., you really have to give up a lot in your personal life, or at least have a very different personal life than what most people traditionally have. I have 3 young kids now and I can't imagine spending weeks or months away from them for 9 months of the year. Stardom is cool but it's certainly not for everyone and is probably not always all it's cracked up to be.
2008-05-07 08:29:22
2.   Shaun P
Seeing the birth of your child is a beautiful experience. I am not enough of a writer to describe that experience in any more words. I've been lucky enough to have the experience twice now, and I treasure those memories.

That said, I understand and appreciate A-Rod's reaction. Its beautiful, yes, but oh no, it is not. A-Rod is lucky he has two girls. I can only imagine his reaction if he had a son, and felt compelled (as I did) to be there for moral support during the circumcision. I'm queasy now just remembering it.

2008-05-07 08:32:02
3.   Peter
When I was younger, I had a summer job with a minor league team. One day I overheard the wife of one of the players talking to another woman and she said how she couldn't wait for the season to be over because she hated all the travelling her husband had to do. That was the first time I realized that ballplayers have a lifestyle which is very different than most people.
2008-05-07 08:36:45
4.   JL25and3
I saw Bobby Bouton and Nancy Marshall on TV when their book first came out. The host - I'm pretty sure it was Donahue - asked them if there were any ballplayers who didn't cheat on their wives while on the road. The two women thought and thought, and finally one of them said, "I believe...Tommy John." That cracked me up, because it was so perfect, so right. Tommy John. Of course.
2008-05-07 08:40:44
5.   Ken Arneson
I'm extremely squeamish about blood and guts on TV--I turn away immediately whenever they start to show things like that on House or ER or whatever.

But oddly, I had no problems whatsoever with it during the births of my three kids. Didn't bother me a bit.

When the nurses say it's the big guys who squeal the most, perhaps there's a reason for it. Maybe some of us non-philandering males get a big jolt of oxytocin (the calming/nurturing anti-testosterone hormone) when we watch our spouses give birth.

2008-05-07 09:08:23
6.   Bob Timmermann
I've never seen childbirth in person. However, I've seen Cindy Garvey have a temper tantrum in person.

That made me queasy.

2008-05-07 09:20:02
7.   ChrisS
Traveling does indeed suck. These last few years, I travel as much (or more) as ball players do. However, I don't get paid a couple of hundred grand a year (or oh so much more) or have a scheduled off-season.

While it's a different story for minor leaguers, I still don't have a lot of sympathy for players' wives. For the majority, they knew what they were getting into. You wanted a ballplayer husband, you got one. Deal.

2008-05-07 09:40:40
8.   Alex Belth
Bob, that is hilarious. What ever became of Cyndi Garvey anyhow? Where did you see her lose it?
2008-05-07 10:02:14
9.   geb4000
I didn't know Cyndi Garvey is such a self-centered bitch. Obviously nobody explained to her that all of her high living was due primarily to her ex-husband's occupation.
2008-05-07 10:04:45
10.   dianagramr
Garvey's average with women in scoring position was a bit too high for Cyndi's taste.
2008-05-07 10:28:24
11.   Dimelo
"The burden is always on the wife's shoulders. Her man is never there."

Yeah, I'm sure she's saying just that while she struts around in her satin night dress, couture sandals, marble floors, and gets in her luxary car.

I read Cynthia's quotes about not knowing who ARod was and not knowing people made a profession by playing baseball.

W-H-A-T-E-V-A!!!!

2008-05-07 10:38:47
12.   Bama Yankee
If Steve Garvey missed a game every time a woman was having one of his kids, he would've played fewer games than Carl Pavano...
;-)
2008-05-07 10:41:09
13.   JL25and3
7 I think that depends. It's one thing if you're Cynthia Rodriguez, who married a bajillionaire superstar. It's another thing for the woman who marries her high school sweetheart and trudges through the minor leagues with him before he makes the Show. The life she ends up with may have its perks, but it's not quite fair to say it's the life she signed up for.

I think Bobbie Bouton and Nancy Marshall fall much more in the latter category.

2008-05-07 10:43:52
14.   Chyll Will
12 A high average with RISP if there ever was one, eh? (Of course if you believe Wilt, there's nothing to see here >;)
2008-05-07 10:46:13
15.   Dimelo
13 Yeah, marrying your high school sweetheart and becoming a professional baseball player a few years later is unfair to the "life she signed up for".

I thought people had control of their own lives, married or not, she married him because she knew quite well what his dream was and she wanted to make sure it came to realization. And guess what? She wanted to be there when it all happened.

The next thing that she'll think is unfair is that there are all these women around professional baseball players and she could never possibly believe that he would cheat on her. There's reality and then there's relative reality.

2008-05-07 11:11:39
16.   rbj
10 LOL!
2008-05-07 11:28:36
17.   weeping for brunnhilde
That's a very funny birth story. Both of my children were born at home (by design). The first one, especially, was much tougher on me than my wife.

She was occupied, doing what had to be done. Me, on the other hand, I just had to sit there and listen to what sounded like intense suffering, helpless to prevent it.

To this day, she'll say things like, "Oh, it wasn't so bad" and I look at her like she has two heads.

It's like she wasn't even there and in fact, she wasn't, in the sense that she was in a transcendent state while I was not.

So I know of what Mrs. Alex speaks.

2008-05-07 11:31:54
18.   weeping for brunnhilde
2 Heh heh. Yeah, well, that's a major reason my son's uncircumcised.
2008-05-07 12:30:44
19.   Shaun P
18 I mean, here's this little thing I helped create, totally reliant on me, and he's about to go under the knife - a little too literally, right? He's 2 days old and the nurses are all telling my wife that she is absolutely forbidden from being there with him. How could I leave him to face that alone? Of course I couldn't.

The things we do for our kids . . .

17 "Transcendent state" indeed. =) For our first, I know my wife was emotionally like that, and between the epidural and whatever else they were giving her, physically too. I did not see too much labor in that labor. ;)

2008-05-07 14:27:56
20.   weeping for brunnhilde
19 One word: homebirth!

Yeah, I know how it is. Our midwife asked us if we wanted our baby circumcised if he was a boy and I asked her whether there was any reason for this.

"No, not really," she answered.

"Then no fucking way!" I replied.

And that was that. No one's butchering my son on his first day in the great wide world.

Speaking of the things we do for our kids, I just spaced out on picking him up from school!

I'm giving the final exam today so my schedule is different and I literally just spaced out and didn't make the connection that if I was at the exam I couldn't pick up the kid as I do every day.

Fortunately the spouse was able to do it, but I only realized this after the school called me about five minutes after the time I'm supposed to be there.

It's amazing more kids don't fall down wells or into fires.

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