The book bears out, however, what Maury, housecleaning, told me: "A ballplayer's life is not a real life."
Which leads us back to couples.
Of the several question-and-answer sessions that the cruise featured (all of them deftly moderated by Jon Miller, the voice of the Orioles), the most striking to me was the wives'.
Ballplayers' wives appeal to me. They tend to be lithely good-looking, down-to-earth and also the brains in the family. Lisa Olson, wife of Greg, is a good example. The two of them looked and seemed to feel good together. He was a funny, bouncy, take-charge figure in the Q and A and autograph sessions. In one, at Miller's request, he recreated the Oct. 28 SI cover picture from the World Series—Olson standing on his head, holding the ball, after one of those now legendary home plate collisions. When someone asked him, "How do you feel when you're waiting there with the ball, and the runner is bearing down on you, and you know you're going to get nailed?"
Olson said, "Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb."
When someone attending the wives' Q and A asked Lisa what Greg was like at home, Lisa said, "You've seen him here. That's the way he is all the time." And from the back of the room he gave us a long, drawn-out "Yo!"
But when someone asked Lisa if she would like for her son to be a ballplayer, she said, "I'd rather he be something else. And if we have a daughter, I'll tell her to keep away from those athletes. I got involved with Greg before I had a clue what he did, and by the time I did, I was already in love with him. I'd rather my son and his wife have a life together."
And Lori Williamson said, "After a game, Mark thinks over every pitch he threw. He says he doesn't, but he does. You can see him doing it."
I would do that. In fact I sometimes do that late at night, even though I'm not a pitcher. Imagine not being able to stop yourself, and your wife saying, "You're doing it again," and you saying, "No, I'm not, I swear it," and she knows better....
And Joy Cuyler, Milt's wife, said, "When he first got up to the Tigers, I said, 'Why are you so tense and nervous? You know how to play ball, I guess.' I don't know about baseball. I can't tell him how to hold a bat. But when he's nervous and tense, I can tell him that."