Sunday, February 2, 2014

Baseball Wife Life. Our story

With baseball season quickly approaching, I have decided to continue doing #baseballwifelife posts every Sunday night. I am planning on using this to talk about the ups and downs, strikes and walks, and anything else our curve ball of a life throws our way!  I figure most people probably wont see it until Monday, but since there are no off days in the MiLB life, there are no days off in the blogging life! 

[#nodaysoff #onetrackmind]  

Today I want to take you back before my blogging days to tell you how we got into this situation of living the baseball lifestyle.  
Novemeber 28, 1990 is when it all began.... for D.J. at least! I am pretty sure he was born into this world with a baseball in his hand.  Growing up he played baseball on little league teams, travel teams, and continued into high school.  
baseball, little league, D.J. Brown

He didn't apply to any other school than James Madison where he was fortunate enough to play baseball for them at the collegiate level. Playing for JMU was the best decision D.J. could have ever made - he met me! (just kidding!) But really, he really developed into a better baseball player and was very thankful for his time at JMU.  He also made some great life-long friendships at JMU.  Most of you that have played on a college sport team will atest to the fact that your team is like your family.  So when D.J. and I started dating in 2011, it was really important that his friends like me and that I liked his friends.  There was no doubt that when I met the boys (and their girlfriends!) that we were going to get along just fine! We joke now that we will go on family vacations together, plan our babies with each other, and I know that we will be friends for a long time with some of those guys. 

D.j. Brown, JMU, RHP, Baseball

So after we started dating in May of 2011, the team won the CAA Championship and baseball was going great! D.J. headed up to Massachusetts to play with the Holyoke Blue Sox for summer ball.  Fall ball went great as well.  D.J. was pitching great and was on the right track.  The team had Scout Day where D.J. had been contacted by around 20-25 MLB teams.  We spent countless nights filing out questionnaires and paperwork. (sidenote- I LOVE  doing that stuff.  I would beg D.J. to let me fill it out.) We were all feeling great and starting to let ourselves dream of what the future would hold for us.  
It was the weekend of November 2, 2011 when everything took a turn for the worse.  I was in Nashville for the weekend and the team was doing a "team-building" obstacle course when D.J. hurt his shoulder.  He knew right then and there that something was wrong.  After an MRI, countless doctor appointments, and a confirmed labrum tear, D.J. attempted to throw one last time.  On his 21st birthday at 6:20 a.m. I knew it was for sure that the rest of his baseball career would be different.  At that time, I had never seen D.J. more upset in his life.  That's when I realized I would never let myself dream of what the future may hold.  Because with this life, you never know what tomorrow brings. 
All hopes of being drafted in the 2012 draft were gone.  He had surgery on December 14, 2011 with Dr. Craig Morgan in Delaware.  We took many trips there in the back of his parents Sequoia leaving at 4 a.m. for an 8 a.m. appointment.  Those trips were exhausting.  Physically and emotionally.  It was hard to see him upset and to see the fear in his parents eyes.  It was like they were watching their child's dream fall right out from under him. 
The road to recovery was long, but was going smoothly.  He really had no setbacks and followed the routine he had exactly.  Unfortunately, he was red-shirted for his junior year and that really confirmed the fact that 2012 was out for the draft.  The season came and although D.J. couldn't play, I still went to games to support our friends.  After I graduated in May, I went back to Norfolk to start preparing for my first real job after graduation! D.J. stayed at JMU to rehab and do his internship with the Harrisonburg Turks, a summer baseball team.  
June 4th- draft day.  After everything that happened, we all were a little bummed but ready for the draft to be over with.  It continued June 5th and 6th.  In the afternoon of the 6th, D.J. texted and said "I got drafted" and the next thing I knew, my boyfriend was drafted in the 39th round of the MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians!!!

IT HAPPENED! We were all in shock.  I couldn't believe it. How in the world did he get drafted?! I knew he was good, but no one saw him play since Scout Day in 2011.  He hadn't even thrown a pitch yet.  He was still hurt.  It's not every day that someone gets drafted hurt.  But the Indians took a chance with him.  They saw the potential.  See what happened was that in the 2011 draft, the Indians took Jake Lowery from JMU in the 4th round.  It just so happens that Jake is a catcher.  When scouts came to see Jake, they had to watch D.J. pitch.  
Jake Lowery, D.J. Brown, Cleveland Indians
Jake and D.J. in 2011 at the CAA Championship game at UNCW
I honestly couldn't believe this was happening.  I don't think D.J. could either.  His dream had come true.  And the journey to the Big Stage was just beginning.  

The  weeks between being drafted and officially accepting the offer was super stressful.  D.J. had to decide if he wanted to take the offer they were giving him or risk going back to school another year and rehab with JMU and hope to be drafted in the 2013 draft. D.J said "It was the hardest decision of my life. But if I had to do it again, I would have done it exactly the same.  The offer was not what I had hoped for, but the training and rehab that the Indians could provide was top of the line.  I knew that going with them would be more beneficial for my career down the road." 

With the offer accepted, we spent as much time with each other as much as we could since we knew the next year was going to be a big adjustment in our relationship.  D.J. left for Arizona in June and came back for his sisters wedding in August (which also happened to be when we got engaged!).  Instead of going to short season (Mahoning Valley Scrappers) D.J. stayed in Arizona to rehab his shoulder.  I was able to make a trip out in October to see the beauty of Arizona.

Fast forward to March 2013- D.J.'s first Spring Training.  He stayed in Arizona for the first few weeks after that ended in the Arizona league to continue his rehab.  Behind being drafted, getting that first call up was the best news I could have hoped for.  He was getting pretty frustrated out in the AZL because he didn't have a car and really wanted to be back on the east cost.  May 2nd he called me at 2 a.m. and said "Cayte, wake up.  I got called up! I am going to Peoria, Illinois in 8 hours." I was so ecstatic I woke up tried to wake up  everyone in the house! Since I was visiting his roommates at JMU, Conner was dead asleep but Brad woke up and was just as excited as I was!

He finished the season with the Lake County Captains (A Ball) with a 2.71 ERA, 66.1 innings pitched, and 71 strikeouts! I would say this first full season in the minors has taught us a few things.
  1. Stop playing the "what if" game.  It will happen.  Whatever "it" is, be patient.
  2. Be open to change. Things could change in the drop of a hat.
  3. Learn how to cope with success and failure.  Not every outing is going to be your best.  Sometimes that call at the end of the game is great and other times its not. 
  4. The minor league life is no joke.  Not everyone is going to make it.  Not every relationship is going to make it.  But if you want something, and believe is something, you find a way to make it work no matter what.

baseball, little league, d.j. brown
Tell me it was not a sign from age 10 that D.J. was going to be with the Indians one day?!

As this season approaches, I can't help but think how fortunate we are. Really, how fortunate D.J. has been.  I was just lucky enough to have chosen the right guy :).  I am so honored to be standing next to someone that won't stop for anything to reach his goal.  Each season has it challenges, but I am ready to take on this one with open arms and a confident mindset.  Bring it on baseball season.



  1. Why did I just read this at work, while I'm preggo, and an emotional basket case?! Love it, Cayte!

  2. Great post little little --- I hope that I can get out to see deetle play this season!!

  3. Wait, I guess I don't follow.. Your man was picked for the draft but couldn't sign because of his injury? So rehab then when to the team he's at now? All this sports wife life confuses me! Used to military talk here :) But sounds like a great life! Also fun title and blog design!!

  4. Good luck to D.J.! You're correct that it's rare for a baseball club to draft someone while hurt. Perhaps they really did see the potential in him. Being a catcher is one of the toughest jobs in baseball, as you'd have to catch every pitch, so for him to be drafted means a lot. I hope this minor league season came out great for D.J., and that he gets to be called up soon! Good luck!

    Linnie Dimmitt @ Uniforms Express


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