Mar 4, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Don Kelly (32) steals second base under the tag of Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (5) during the fourth inning of a spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Wife's Perspective On Sports: How Baseball Improves My Marriage

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City of Champions co-editor Matt Gajtka welcomes his wife Jillian back for her “Wife’s Perspective” column. Read her previous piece on how the Olympics reinforced the importance of family.

This winter has been rough. Really rough.

Here in Michigan, it feels as if the winter will never end. With record-setting cold and snowfall, any signs of spring and warmer weather are welcomed.

Just this past week, after the calendar said it was spring, it was still snowing. Nevertheless, Monday marked the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ (and my Detroit Tigers’) season and it was a good change.

As I begin to enjoy watching and listening to the games, I was reminded of the reasons baseball improves my marriage:

  • My husband and I cheer for non-rival teams. Because our favorite clubs play in different leagues, we only have to face each other a few times a year. At the same time, it’s convenient that Major League Baseball has deemed the Pirates and Tigers “natural rivals” so we’re guaranteed to play each other at least four times every year. This is great because we’re going to have the opportunity to place a bet on who gets to do housework for a week.
  • Baseball helps us better understand each other. Not only does rooting for separate teams encourage friendly wagers, it also helps us learn more about each other and appreciate the things that make us passionate.
  • It leads to intelligent conversations. Baseball is my favorite sport, so I understand the rules of the game and therefore I can have intelligent conversations about things like WAR and WHIP and my husband doesn’t have to hold my hand and explain everything that’s going on in the game.
  • Baseball games, in person or on TV, make great date nights. Beer and hot dogs have a way of making a romantic night out.
  • Baseball brings back fond memories. After dating for almost a year, we both had the opportunity to work for the West Virginia Power (South Atlantic League, Single-A) baseball team together and continue to grow our relationship. That was one of the best summers of my life. We worked together and had so many memories together that I still smile about – and sometimes laugh at.

As the 2014 baseball year begins in our house, our hopes of a perfect season and a Pirates vs. Tigers World Series are still a reality. From now until October though, we’ll have plenty of date nights and even some household chores to bet on in August.

Jillian is a marketing director for a credit union. She’s still grateful for Ryan Doumit‘s key error that gave the Tigers a three-game sweep over the Pirates in 2010.

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