Scoring On the Road: How Married Mariners Hitters Differ From Their Unmarried Counterparts

In professional athletics, it’s widely understood that players will often go on the road and engage in sexual relations with ladies who are neither a) their wives, nor b) their girlfriends. This culture of romantic infidelity in sports is nothing new. We’ve been hearing about it for years. If you aren’t onto the shenanigans by now, I urge you to get with the program. This happens in every sport, on every road trip, amongst a wide array of highly-paid infidels. God forbid you’re the poor love interest of an athlete who wasn’t aware this was occurring. It’s occurring, woman. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

For those athletes who are devoted to wedded bliss, it’s entirely possible that the sexy time they get away from their home city may in fact be better than it is within their own domicile. Instead of one woman who Joe Athlete has gotten used to bumping and grinding with, Joe gets to undress and play with a bevy of chicks who he has absolutely no obligations towards. If nothing else, one has to reckon that these affairs must be quite liberating. No, the ol’ ball and chain won’t let you put it there, but that Annie Savoy wannabe across the country? Oh yeah, she’s all about that.

With that said, I have a hypothesis. It involves our beloved Seattle Mariners, who we all can agree have struggled mightily at home this year. Inside the not-so-friendly confines of Safeco Field, the M’s have combined to tally a paltry .196 batting average, to go along with an equally tepid .563 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Not good.

By contrast, those same scrappy road warriors have notched a .256/.715 line as guests in other ballparks. For those of you who happen to be good with the abacus, you know that’s a difference of 60 points where batting average is concerned, and another 152 points in the OPS department. There’s no debate: as a group, Mariner hitters are better on the road than they are at home.

The question we all ask ourselves after reaching this conclusion, naturally, is “Why?” Why are the Mariners so much better on the road than they are at home? It’s a logical inquiry. And not one without the support of its own set of hypotheses.

Most would argue that the nature of Safeco Field as a “pitcher’s park” creates a tough environment for the team’s bats. This is undoubtedly the most accepted hypothesis, and few can rebut its validity. But I’d like to think are other explanations beyond this one. This isn’t just about an unforgiving environment. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Fans and pundits alike have theorized that the struggles of Mariners’ hitters at The Safe comes as the result of some sort of stigma. The hurdles faced by the players are not physical so much as they are mental. This makes a ton of sense, and falls in line with what we often see when athletes fall short of expectations in a repetitive fashion, time and time again. We can reference the troubles endured by former big league catcher (and ex-Mariner, at that) Mackey Sasser, who suddenly could not toss the ball back to his pitcher. Or, perhaps, the travails of second basemen Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch, who grappled with the short throw to first base later in their respective careers. These are just a few examples of psychology affecting the physics of sport. The Mariners, with their evident inability to hit well at home, find themselves straddling this exact line separating physics and psychology.

But what about my hypothesis? Let’s get back to that. Because, while I agree that what we have on our hands is a full-blown mental stigma, I like to believe that this stigma goes beyond the parameters of Seattle’s most beautiful baseball diamond.

So I did some research (yes, I occasionally do that). And in researching, I set out to find the answer to the following question: Do those Mariner players who are married perform better on the road than those players who are not married?

Subsequently, the answer to this question would lead me to a conclusion which I admit is totally and non-scientifically inferred: Assuming those Mariner players who are married do, in fact, perform better on the road than their unmarried counterparts, we can surmise that the burdens of their married life, combined with the freedoms of their road endeavors, do actually play a role in the mental stigma that comes with being at home.

Yes, this is an interesting theory. I get that. But my logic behind both the question and conclusion is simple: I think married players get what they deem to be better ass on the road than at home. And they enjoy the crap out of that. Why the heck not, right? Whereas those players who are not married, well, they get an equal stock of ass no matter where they go. Home, road, doesn’t matter. To them, ass is ass. And they have no wives to worry about. So their focus? It’s mostly on baseball…and occasionally ass. The married dudes? They need to balance baseball, a domesticated home life, and the prospect of getting caught committing adultery. That has to be just terrifying.

So I did my research. And here’s what I found. The results, in my mind, are fantastic. Below, you’ll see that I’ve segmented Mariners’ hitters into three unique categories: Married, Engaged, and Single. The categories should be fairly self-explanatory. For further context, I’ve relegated my study to only those hitters with 50 or more at-bats on the year. My apologies to Munenori Kawasaki, who, among others, missed the cut. I wanted to appreciate a decent sample size of ABs before throwing this shit at the wall.

And now, without further ado, our findings…

–Married players–

(Listed by highest home batting average, in descending order)

Ichiro Suzuki

Batting Average/OPS at home: .214/.544

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .297/.709

Difference on the road: +.083/.165

Dustin Ackley

Batting Average/OPS at home: .210/.558

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .246/.686

Difference on the road: +.036/.128

Michael Saunders

Batting Average/OPS at home: .197/.537

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .299/.875

Difference on the road: +.102/.338

Miguel Olivo

Batting Average/OPS at home: .181/.489

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .214/.628

Difference on the road: +.033/.139

Kyle Seager

Batting Average/OPS at home: .167/.539

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .313/.891

Difference on the road: +.146/.352

Justin Smoak

Batting Average/OPS at home: .160/.454

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .232/.698

Difference on the road: +.072/.244

Chone Figgins

Batting Average/OPS at home: .140/.461

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .213/.570

Difference on the road: +.073/.109

–Engaged players–

(Listed by highest home batting average, in descending order)

John Jaso

Batting Average/OPS at home: .294/.917

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .268/.774

Difference on the road: -.026/.140

Brendan Ryan

Batting Average/OPS at home: .200/.580

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .169/.533

Difference on the road: -.031/.047

–Single players–

(Listed by highest home batting average, in descending order)

Casper Wells

Batting Average/OPS at home: .269/.765

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .259/.742

Difference on the road: -.010/.023

Jesus Montero

Batting Average/OPS at home: .206/.580

Batting Average/OPS on the road: .279/.720

Difference on the road: +.073/.140

But soft, what’s this?! ALL the married players hit better on the road than they do at home. That makes sense, since we’ve already agreed that the M’s as a group tend to put bat on ball with relative success much more frequently away from Safeco Field than they do at Safeco Field. So we’re good there. And look at how well Michael Saunders and Kyle Seager are doing on the road. Amazing!

Hold on a minute, though. Here’s where things get interesting. The only three players who hit better at home than on the road? They’re all…unmarried! Eureka!

As a matter of fact, only one unmarried player in our study hits better on the road than he does at home: Jesus Montero. Our condolences to Jesus, who must not find himself in the company of beautiful strangers when taking off for allegedly greener pastures. I have heard, however, that the man frequents Pesos, in Lower Queen Anne, when he’s grounded in Seattle. If Pesos doesn’t help you get laid, I don’t know what would. So perhaps Montero, indeed, is doing just fine with the ladies in the Emerald City.

To contrast Montero, we have Casper Wells, Brendan Ryan, and John Jaso.

Wells has no female of which to speak. He’s been fairly consistent with his home-away splits. Good for him, staying balanced and all that.

Ryan is engaged, but as we all know, future wives tend to put out quite a bit more than current wives (this is what I’ve heard, at least). So does Ryan need to go beaver hunting on road trips? Maybe not so much.

Jaso? His fiance is a cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Rays — and yes, the Rays appear to have cheerleaders. Would you cheat on a cheerleader? Speaking from experience, I can say I would not. Right on, Jaso.

But then we have the married fellas. Wives, earmuffs.

The good news? This is fixable! It’s called divorce. If you’re cheating on your wife, get a GDMF divorce! It’s obviously not working. And you don’t want a Tiger Woods situation on your hands. Do we know for a fact you’re an adulterer? No. Do the stats and my hypothesis support the theory? Yes. Will your spouse find out? Maybe, maybe not. But do you really want to be burdened by your own conscience like this? It’s clearly affecting your performance (in the batter’s box, at least). We can’t have that. No one wants that. Not me, not the fans, not your teammates, not the organization, and especially not you. You have future contracts to worry about! And there’s always time for a family after your playing days are over.

That’s my advice. Wives, you can remove your earmuffs now. Thank you for your understanding.

What have we learned here today, anyhow?

First of all, we’ve learned that my theories are only kind of suspect. This wasn’t carried out to the exact specifics of science. But I was close. No one would accuse me of being Thomas Edison. But I’m no Colie Edison, either. (She’s a former Real World cast member, for those who don’t know. I’ll be honest, I had to Google “celebrities with last name Edison” to make that reference work.)

Second, we’ve learned that if you’re a married, professional athlete, you may in fact be prone to more difficulties than your unmarried foils under certain circumstances. Those difficulties can extend to hitting or scoring, if you get my drift.

Third, we’ve learned that not all Mariners hitters perform better on the road. Sure, the married ones, they do. But the non-married constituency? The vast majority of those guys are better at home. Go figure.

Finally, we’ve learned that it may not pay to be one of the Mariner wives, Okay, it might pay in the checkbook, sure. But long-term? That’s suspect at this point.

At the end of the day, the one lasting thing I leave you with is this: If I’m the wife of a Mariner player, at the very least I’m asking what, pray tell, is leading my husband to perform so much better on the road.

Good luck getting an answer.

2 responses

  1. hey I didn’t know you were dating a cheerleader youve NEVER mentioned it ever NOT EVEN ONCE

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