he's chasing dreams hitting seams.
she's chasing dreams talking sports.
Danny Ash and Dustin Molleken grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The two went to different schools, knew each other growing up but their paths didn’t cross.
Dustin went on to be drafted out of high school. Danny went on to play college basketball for five years of eligibility and earn her teaching degree.
After graduating, Danny landed her dream job teaching health and French at her high school which is how she and Dustin ended up being linked together. “I didn’t realize I was teaching Dustin’s cousins until one day he came up to me and told me he really needed to talk to me about something,” Danny said. “He found me at lunch and asked me if I was seeing anyone. I laughed in his face because I was like this 15-year-old boy is asking me out. He quickly said no, no, no, I have a cousin, and he thinks you’re really good looking, and he wants to asks you out. He told me it was Dustin, and I got Dustin’s number from him.”
Dustin and Danny went on a couple of dates before Dustin went to Panama to play for the Canadian team during the off season. “When he left for Panama, I was thinking well that was fun,” Danny said. “While he was there, we talked every single day and hung out before the next season. Since we were older when we met, things got serious pretty quickly. We did distance the next (2011) season.”
During the summer of the 2012 season, Dustin signed to play in Japan. Danny traveled to Japan for about a month before starting the school year. For the 2013 season, Dustin signed to play with Japan again. Danny had to make a decision. “I decided to resign from my teaching job and travel with Dustin to Japan,” Danny said. “We decided at that time our relationship was the most important thing, and we knew we couldn’t focus on that across the world from each other.”
Dustin ended up getting released around the All-Star break. “The first time he played in Japan was really tough because of the language barrier,” Danny said. “I would have to call our interpreter on the phone sometimes because I was lost. Overall, we had a good experience after we got over the culture shock. The people were friendly, and they are crazy about baseball there.”
In 2014, Dustin was back with the Brewers in AAA Nashville. Dustin and Danny got engaged and were married in Nov. 2014.
In 2015, the Mollenek’s were in Columbus for AAA and had their first child. “Traveling in the baseball life with a child definitely made things a lot more complicated,” Danny said. “They need a lot more stuff. Once we had a child, I really started to see the relationships with other wives come into play very big. I felt really supported by them and when the guys were gone we got together almost every single day to let the kids play and hang out. Those relationships really met a lot to me especially since we were so far away from our families. I’ll never take for granted connecting with other women who get this life and what we’re going through.”
The 2015 season was also when Danny used her experiences in basketball to help Dustin through a hard time. “Dustin had the opportunity to play in the Pan Am games in Canada for Team Canada,” Danny said. “The team had told him they would allow him to go play, but they couldn’t promise he would have a job when he came back. It was kind of a no brainer because it didn’t make sense to go play for 10 games and come back to no job. He decided to not go play for Team Canada, and they ended up winning. Dustin was sort of resenting the game of baseball and not sure if he should keep playing or not. I shared with him that my athletic career had a timeline. After those five years at university, I knew I was finished. I told Dustin he didn’t really have a timeline, and if he decided to retire I believed he would regret that from my experiences.”
And it’s a good thing he stuck it out because Dustin made his MLB debut the following season in 2016 with the Tigers after 13 seasons in the minor leagues. “I was standing in the tunnel waiting for him after the game visiting with some other wives,” Danny said. “He came out clearly not showered or anything. He told me to come here, and I said hang on because I was in the middle of a conversation. And he said it was important. He then told me he got the call up. I just waited and asked really. And he said yes, and I just started weeping. I feel like both of us knew the older he was getting the less likely it was he’d actually make it. So it was super emotional when he did. On his actual debut, it was so amazing and surreal. I was sweating and crying.”
Dustin’s first day in the big leagues came on his first Father’s Day, and he is the first player from their city in Canada to make it to the MLB. “A big moment for our family was when he pitched against the Jays in Canada,” Danny said. “He pitched outstanding. Dustin has a stutter, and he doesn’t talk about it much until he’s comfortable with it. He did an interview with SportsNet about making his debut, about pitching in Toronto and about his stutter. That was the first time he’s ever talked about it publicly. He did such an amazing job the phone calls and emails we got after that weren’t even about baseball but how proud everyone was of him for being able to open up about it and how people and kids were inspired by him sharing. After that we really saw how this whole thing is about more than just baseball. His story is showing people to just follow their dreams not matter what setbacks they think they might have and to be yourself and you can be anyone and anything you want.”
For the 2017 season, Dustin resigned with the Tigers, spent time in AAA, was released then spent time in Independent Ball. They also had their second daughter in 2017. Dustin played a couple of months in the Dominican Republic in the offseason and is now in free agency. He is now a free agent and attending the spring training in Florida for free agents hoping to be picked up. Danny is back in Canada substitute teaching and waiting for the next move. “I know baseball doesn’t last forever,” Danny said. “So I’m doing what I can to support his dreams. He has already been asked to play for Team Canada in the 2020 Olympics if they qualify. We’re going to do whatever it takes to keep playing in some way. I just love the game of baseball and sports, so I have a new appreciation for the game and the process. I can’t imagine our lives without it. And we’re getting to experience a lot of things people and kids will never get to experience. Our journey hasn’t always been pretty, but it’s been uniquely us and that’s all that matters.”
Advice about traveling with kids: “We got lucky with two great kids. We learned to just always do what is best for our family. Our first daughter was great and fine with a baseball schedule – going to bed late and sleeping in late. Our second daughter was not so good on the baseball schedule, so we did our best with a traditional schedule with her. There is not right or wrong way to do things in this baseball life, so just do the best you can.”
Advice on Canadian travel: “We have a unique situation in we’re both from Canada. We can only stay in the states for so long at a time so sometimes that made traveling a little bit difficult and just an added stressor of making sure we have all our documents and everything together. The only advice I would so is to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before getting married and always asks questions and you might have to ask the same questions to different people. We still don’t have all the answers to some of our situations, but we’ve always made it work."
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Matt & Jesica Beaty
Welcome in to dreams and seams! A tell-all blog about our career dreams and path to reaching those dreams with some commentary about sports and life plus some videos too.
"Strive for the impossible because it makes the possible seem effortless." -Matt Beaty