Friday, August 8, 2014

The End & The Beginning

In June, my husband retired from his professional baseball career.
It had been on his heart for a while and the situation just fell into place and it was time to make that hard decision. The day we heard his name called in the MLB Draft- I was beaming with pride. That June night at 2am in our tiny apartment when he made the decision to follow his heart and end his playing career, I was equally as proud.
I married an amazing man.
He wrote a beautiful post about it (typed on his iPhone on our 30 hour drive home) and I can't say it better myself so...
Moving On
AJ Pettersen

We laid down on the floor for our last official night. The last night was spent the same as the first - on something other than a real mattress. Full circle.

I always told myself I would be done playing if I experienced a long period of time without enjoyment. Passion and heart are what got me to such a point in my career and without them, it would become increasingly difficult. As this season wore on, I started to lose that heart and passion for playing the game I love.

Managers, coaches and teammates noticed I wasn't the same guy I once was. My performance dropped, it wasn't the same as it had always been. For whatever reason, I didn't have the drive I once had.

As my passion for playing wore off, my passion for coaching and teaching became even stronger. In Fort Myers, I was able to give tidbits of mental wisdom I had gained to young prospects. In New Britain, I discussed approaches with teammates. This kept me going, but I knew it couldn't sustain me as a player. So I retired from my professional career.

Many people told me along the way to play until someone tore my jersey off and that's the way I played until this year. I gave baseball my all until the end, but once I lost that feeling, I didn't need the jersey ripped off because my dreams and priorities had changed. In my eyes, this didn't make my career a failure, it just made it complete. It was time to be done.

I beat so many odds to play for as long and at as high of a level as I did. My parents thought I would grow up to be an artist when I was younger. Overnight, I became athletically inclined. At age 10, people said I ought to play second base because I would never be big and strong enough to play shortstop. I didn't make the varsity team in high school until my junior year. I thought I would have a nice Division 3 college career until the head coach at Holy Cross told me I had what it took to be a Division 1 player. Later, I signed to play at the University of Minnesota.

Still, I was seen as a second baseman because I probably wasn't going to have much chance of playing SS at that level. I had no pro aspirations, I just wanted to get in the lineup. A little over a year later, I was Baseball America's First Team Freshman All-American Shorstop. A few years after that, the Twins called my name in the 25th round, which may have been the most emotional moment of my career. I remember looking back in time that day and wondering how it could be possible. Two years later, I was the first player from my draft class to reach AA.

Beyond all the accolades and accomplishments, the relationships I have made are what I will take with me. I met my wife through a baseball connection. Four of the groomsmen in our wedding were teammates of mine at one point. I stay in close contact with many former coaches.

I learned a number of lessons through the game as well. I learned how to interact and communicate with people from all kinds of different backgrounds. I learned how to work through the lowest lows, I learned how to deal with the highest highs. I learned how to cope with stress in a game where every move you make is seen.

So, as my wife and I roll along on one more cross country trip, we talk about what's next and we ponder the future. We are excited about the unknown and that we will be going into it together. We will never forget the memories we have forged through my playing career and we are looking forward to forging more in whatever is next.

...He's pretty great. It has also been great to attend weddings with him as my date. Oh, and we got to go to a cabin together. IN THE SUMMER! In all honesty, it has been a huge change for both of us. There are moments when I miss hanging out with the baseball girls in the stands at a game on a Wednesday night in a random town we drove 6 hours to get to. We met some amazing people through this journey and made some lifelong friends. The memories we made are irreplaceable and I'm so glad I got to experience it with my husband. Thanks for the memories, minor league baseball.
It was a fun ride.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Settling into Connecticut has been anything but easy. We are finally getting everything figured out!

My mom flew to Florida and made the 24+ hour drive up the East coast with me. After a promotion, players get 2 nights in a hotel to find a place to live. Unfortunately, the hotel is not pet-friendly so we got zero nights. 

I arrived in New Britain on May 2nd and the earliest opening for an *overpriced* apartment is... May 30th! So on the 30th, we will give Mike & Kim back their living room that is currently acting as our makeshift bedroom. Yes, the four of us share a one bedroom apartment. Minor league life is so glamorous! It has been such a blessing to have them in the same organization (and it's pretty fun having sleepovers with Kim when the guys are gone). 
Our new town is Middletown, CT- just south of the field. 
I love exploring the East coast and am excited to travel to new places this summer!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fort Myers to New Britain

This season, AJ and I have been making a conscious effort to be present and to enjoy where we are. In baseball, it is so easy to be constantly wanting to be somewhere else. When in low A, you are so focused on getting to high A. You get to high A, and all you can think about is getting to double A. Its a vicious cycle, and even as a baseball wife I am guilty of it. We have been enjoying our time in Fort Myers, building relationships with people we are meeting here, and being completely HERE in the NOW. The Lord is really showing us that he will use us wherever we are. I truly don't know how I would get through this lifestyle without Jesus and the peace he provides amidst all of the chaos and unknowns. 

Being in Fort Myers the first month of the season has been a huge blessing. I got to have my husband here with me while I was finishing up my last month of work. I met some amazing wives that I am already sad to leave (but happy because I know our paths will cross again). 

That being said-- we are off to New Britain, Connecticut! AJ will be joining the Double-A team! He got the notice at 10PM last night and in true minor league baseball style, was on a flight by 8AM this morning. I have been browsing the internet all day looking for a place for us to live, and staring at our stuff hoping it will just *POOF* and be all packed. 

Here are a few pictures from the past weeks. Easter, baseball, and my high school girls visit!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We had a very fun last day of spring training! 
AJ and a few other minor league guys got to play in the final big league game at Mini Fenway. The forecast said rain, but it held out until the 9th inning when they called the game because a storm was coming. AJ got on base and scored a run, and the Twins ended up winning! 

We are excited for the season to get going! We will be staying in Fort Myers, as AJ will be playing for the Miracle!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Training

When I started writing this, spring training was in full force. Now we are in the final week! We're both ready for the season to start, and for our bedtime to be later than 9:00pm. Spending all day (every day) in the sun watching baseball is exhausting! I mean, playing baseball.. must be exhausting...
AJ's parents and little brother visited, and it was so fun having them here. They spoiled us by cooking so many yummy meals, we already forgot how to make our own dinner. Having supportive family is such a blessing in this lifestyle! 

I got to spend a couple days with my college roomie and best friend Kassie this month also! The stars aligned and their vacation was the perfect time for me to make the quick drive to Sarasota. I have been in Sarasota with them 4 separate years now! I love that place (and that girl). 

My husband (who puts my blog writing to shame) has posted a few amazing articles this month about his spring training experiences. He is pretty amazing. You should read them.  Here are the links:

The Old Man and the Wall 
An Unexpected Twist
Learning From My New Friends

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Baseball season

We had the pleasure of having more family visit last weekend- Josh and Kristen! 

We played "pool games" (most were made up games involving a mini soccer ball and a pool side basketball hoop) and ate every single meal outside. 
They had never been to Fort Myers, so the first day we went to the Twins complex to show them around.
Only a few players were there the first day, and when we went again the day they left the number of players had more than doubled. More and more players are showing up every day to prepare for spring training, and there's no denying that baseball season is upon us!

I made myself a promise to embrace every moment this season. I sometimes take for granted how amazing it is that I have the opportunity to travel around the country with my husband while he plays baseball. 
I'm excited to see where this year takes us!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Polar vortex in the sun

Our first visitors of the year have come and gone. We had a blast with the Cooks! 
The "polar vortex" pushed a little cold air down to southern Florida and it was in the 60's for a few of the days they were here. In true Minnesotan fashion we were still at the beach. 
When they visited last year, AJ had just been moved to AA so he didn't get to see them. Maddie loved having her Uncle AJ here to play in the water with her.
Maddie's signature move, putting her finger in your ear

We love having family and friends visit us during the season. We miss them already!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Florida or bust

We are settled into our new temporary home!

The 28 hour drive was long, but much more bearable because we were able to be together in one car. I am still a master at back of the car tetris-like packing. Every little spot in our SUV was used to its full potential. We listened to every playlist we have on Spotify (more than once), the duet playlist being my personal favorite. 

We were so happy when we saw the sign for Fort Myers, and even happier when we were greeted with this backyard sunset...