Life in the Big Leagues Isn't So Grand for Wives and Girlfriends of Washington Nationals

By Kate Kilpatrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 17, 2009

Ah, the baseball-wife stereotype -- vapid, idle beauties. They sling their Louis Vuitton purses atop peanut shells and during the seventh-inning stretch schedule brunch and waxing appointments.

These women -- so glammed up they make you wonder whether the Diamond Club seats they sit in are named for the eight-carat rocks that adorn their manicured fingers -- boast tight and toned bikini bods. They're not afraid to strut their stuff in racy men's magazines and they're not above using their husbands' transgressions as bargaining chips for tennis bracelets and sports cars.

But for the spouses of the Washington Nationals, the baseball-wife stereotypes belong in a fantasy league of their own.

Everyone thinks: "Oh my gosh, what a wonderful life you have. You can go shopping every day," says Yormarie Nieves, 30, a former model from Puerto Rico who's married to Nationals backup catcher Wil Nieves.

But the reality, says Rachel Dunn, 27, wife of first baseman Adam Dunn, who signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Nationals in February, is "not even remotely as glamorous as people think."

The life of a baseball wife can be lonely, chaotic and uncertain. And when your husband plays for the worst team in baseball, there is even less pretense of glamour.

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As they wind their way through the muggy dog days of August -- what some consider the most unpleasant time of year in D.C. -- the Washington Nationals remain last in their division, 24 games behind the Phillies. Their 43-75 record is the worst in Major League Baseball. They're on pace to lose 103 games this season.

Average attendance at the 41,000-seat ballpark is under 24,000. With seven weeks left in the regular season, the Nationals have to battle their way through 44 more games, all the while knowing there's no chance of postseason play.

Sitting in the wives' section behind home plate, there are no outspoken Anna Bensons, the Southern babe who once told Howard Stern that if hubbie Kris Benson, who at the time pitched for the Mets, cheated on her she would sleep with the entire Mets team. There is no clothes-shedding Heidi Hamels, the busty blond "Survivor" star and wife of Phillies heartthrob ace pitcher Cole Hamels.

Despite their youth and beauty, none of the women married to the members of the Washington Nationals are regulars on bloggers' lists of "Hottest Baseball Wives."

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