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From the Stands is a series where WAGS share their journeys in baseball.
Stephanie was a senior at the University of Miami, and Harold Martinez was a sophomore third baseman at UM when they met.
Stephanie explains the two met through a group of friends after…a baseball game, of course.
“We didn’t see each other for a little bit,” Stephanie said. “We reconnected through friends again, got to know each other and have been together ever since.”
Harold was drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2011 draft after his junior season. “At the end of a dream season Harold’s sophomore year, he got hurt and never really felt the same during his junior season,” Stephanie said. “So, going into the draft we weren’t really sure what was going to happen. When the Phillies reached out in the second round, we were really surprised but excited and grateful. And then began the craziness of minor league baseball.”
Following the 2011 season, Stephanie and Harold got engaged. The following offseason the two were married — Nov. 2012.
In 2013, Harold started the season in High-A. “High-A was interesting. He could never seem to get out of there for different reasons,” Stephanie said. “I’ll never forget when I left a few days before spring training ended, and they still hadn’t posted the team assignments. Everyone had been talking to him like he was going to AA. We knew you couldn’t really plan on anything in this career, but then he called me and told me he was going back to Clearwater (High-A) for the third time. It was really frustrating.”
Harold faced several injuries and other setbacks. Stephanie says they realize how those hard times really made them stronger in their relationship and in their relationship with God.
“Without our relationship with God, it would have been impossible to make it through everything.”
When Harold left for the 2014 season, Stephanie was pregnant. They welcomed Aaron into the world in Sept. 2014. “I was worried Harold wasn’t going to make it home in time for the delivery,” Stephanie said. “I had the athletic trainer’s number just in case something happened. But he made it home about a week before.”
The Martinez family hadn’t bought a home yet because they weren’t sure where Harold was going to be from season to season. They lived with Harold’s parents which Stephanie called “such a blessing.”
Stephanie talked about how difficult the goodbye was when Harold left for the 2015 season. “It’s hard to say when the hardest time was, but definitely at the top of list was when he left for the 2015 season,” Stephanie said. “It was really tough because our son was six months old, and he felt he was going to miss out on so much and he really questioned if he should keep playing.”
Harold was called up and played the majority of the season in AA that season.
Stephanie and Harold decided she and Aaron would travel with him during the 2016 season. “I told him I would do whatever it took for our family to be together that season.”
Stephanie has a degree in communication. She applied to several remote jobs and one stuck with a company who assigned her projects that involved rewriting resumes, helping build a resume, etc. “It was really like a now or never thing. That was the best opportunity for us to get to travel so let’s just do it.”
Stephanie, Aaron and their dog (along with driving help from her dad) made the 19-hour drive to meet Harold in Pennsylvania (AA). “We had a two-bedroom apartment,” Stephanie said. “At one point we had an air-mattress in the master bedroom closet, one air-mattress in the kitchen area, one in the hallway. One of greatest memories is the guys we lived with playing with my son pretending to be Spiderman or taking my dog for a walk. And it sounds crazy to live with a baby, a dog and three guys, but I got to know those guys so well and other wives and people so well. That season holds a special place in my heart.”
After the 2016 season, Stephanie landed a job as the communication specialist for Restaurant Services, Inc., and they bought a house. “We decided I was going to stay in Miami while he played his last season of his contract before entering free agency.”
Harold split time in AA and AAA during the 2017 season.
Stephanie says there has been some interest from teams, and the Phillies wanted him to sign and become a pitcher. “He is at the point where doesn’t want to be start this whole process over again in a new position. A position that he would have to learn all over,” Stephanie said. We are pretty much expecting him to be finished with baseball at this point in free agency.”
Harold has already started giving lessons, is a part of the coaching staff of a high school baseball team and is finishing his last year of school. “We just decided to be at peace and happy with whatever happened because God’s will is going to be done.”
Other notable advice from Stephanie
Biggest learning lessons: “A few things come to mind. The season I traveled I learned really how to be independent and just do things on my own. Harold still had road trips or was at the field majority of the day, so I really learned to just handle everything myself. (2) For a while I had this mindset of what a great testimony it would be if Harold made it to the major leagues. I admire Harold’s mindset so much through this process because he always tried to set an example in his faith. No matter if he wasn’t playing and didn’t understand why there were so many setbacks. I really learned what we think is best is not always what God says is best. (3) Just lean on the other girlfriends and wives you meet. Even if they are just visiting, talk and get to know them because those are the relationships I cherish the most still and definitely relied on during the season and my visits.”
Advice for long distance: “Find some time to talk and connect because sometimes you just feel so disconnected. Our schedules were completely different. So even if it was just a few minutes, we tried to always set aside time to connect over a TV show, Bible study plan, book or whatever it may be. And don’t get discouraged if one day it’s harder to find time than others because it’s not that they don’t have time for you they are just doing what they can. Also, just doing any little things you can for each other such as care packages or little notes.”
Process of free agency: “Harold is very laid back and just had this mindset of whatever God wants is going to happen. His agent told him he would keep us posted on anything that came up. I’ve known some guys to make highlights and send them out and have their agents be really proactive. But a lot of times it’s always a wait and see process. Everyone has different wants, mindsets and stories when it comes to free agency.”
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