The Power of Baseball


“You’re telling me wrangling kids into a crowded stadium is your idea of calm?” I know, I know. But hear me out.

I grew up surrounded by the game of baseball. From watching my dad coach tee-ball games (hey, I never said PLAYING was my thing) to having games on in the background at home, I was exposed to the game early.

I attribute this to why now, even in a crowded stadium chasing around a toddler and trying to keep my infant occupied, I feel at peace at a baseball game. And thank goodness I do, because being married to a professional baseball player, I watch more baseball now than I ever knew was possible.

Sometimes when I’m watching a game with my almost 5-year-old son I think back to how fun it was for me when I was his age to be at a game in the Kingdome in Seattle. I had no real idea of the rules of the game, but I knew if I went, I’d be able to eat sunflower seeds, maybe get some bubble gum. If I was really lucky, a chocolate malt. My son’s version of these? Chips, Dippin’ Dots, and bubble gum from the dugout that he spits out after 3 seconds.

Over time, I did learn the game. I met the people who sat near us, and they became friends. Shoot, we even became buddies with one of the most legendary concession guys in the history of the game – “Rick the Peanut Man.” Getting a ball throw to us by one of the players was one of the best things ever.

In an ever-changing world filled with technology where everyone is always on the go, I wanted to create something that I’d hoped could bring a little joy to my kids in the same way the game has brought joy to me.

When my son was born, I looked for books or shows about baseball geared towards young
children and didn’t find anything. Because I feel so passionately about the positive impact that baseball, and sports in general, can have on children, I wrote my book “Max & Ollie’s Guide to Baseball.” Alongside of vibrant illustrations done by the award-winning John Steven Gurney, the book teaches the basics of baseball via a brightly colored trip to the ballpark. It has since developed into a full lifestyle brand featuring gifts and apparel for all ages – some of my favorite things include kid’s puzzles and notebooks featuring art from the book.

One of the most important things about my company is its connection to our family fund,
Monty’s Marvels. In 2018, while my husband was playing for the Chicago Cubs, we developed our charitable organization in an effort to use our platform to give back to people that inspired us – people who took care of others and made the lives of others better. A portion of the proceeds from every product sold give back to people and organizations doing amazing things for their communities.

When I became a mom in 2019, I developed what I now know was postpartum depression and anxiety when my son was about four months old. It was one of the hardest times in my life – but I was fortunate enough to have the resources to help me navigate it and despite my personal struggles, I was fortunate enough to never struggle to provide food or supplies to take care of my baby.

Thanks to my newfound understanding of what some moms experience, I asked the Kansas
City Royals if they had any recommendations on organizations in KC that supported women and children. They put us in touch with some great ones – including the Happy Bottoms Diaper Bank – which changed the trajectory of the work we had been doing. We began to learn about diaper need in America, and knew we had to do whatever we could to make a difference.

When we started working to support diaper banks in 2019/2020, approximately one out of every three families struggled to provide enough diapers for their babies. The implications of this can be huge – not only including health issues for the child and an increased risk of maternal depression, but an inability for the parent to send the child to a childcare facility. This can lead to the parent having to potentially miss work, therefore perpetuating the cycle. Most facilities require that a day’s worth of diapers is sent with the child. Diapers are not only expensive on their own, but in some cases (like in Arizona, where I live) they’re taxed at the full rate, as well. Diapers are also not covered by most government assistance programs.

After the pandemic, the national numbers have risen from one in three families to one in two families, which makes supporting diaper banks even more crucial. We’ve been extremely fortunate to have the support of many of the teams that we’ve been with – from the Royals to the Syracuse Mets. When my husband played for the Syracuse Mets in 2022, they partnered with us to put on a “Diaper Day” at the ballpark and gave away bobbleheads in exchange for diaper donations. Thus far, we’ve been able to help donate an estimated half a million diapers to diaper banks around the country.

I am beyond lucky to be able to own a company, create things in hopes they bring a little joy to kids (and grownups, too!) and give back in the process. Looking back over my life, it’s pretty amazing that something seemingly so simple like watching a baseball game could have a profound impact on my life and hopefully, the lives of others.

We all have our “thing.” The thing we love, the thing we’re good at, the thing we’re at expert at – whatever it is. And through the ups and downs, it may just be the “thing” that transforms your life. What’s yours?

Stephanie Montgomery is a Scottsdale mom of two, author/creator and wife of a professional baseball player. Thank you, Stephanie, for guest posting! When Stephanie married her husband (Mike Montgomery) and they started a family, she chose to pivot creatively so that their family could stay together during the baseball season - and Max & Ollie's Guide to Baseball was born. It's a picture book for young children, teaching them the basics of the game - and has been very well received. She published the book in 2020. New this year – she launched baseball-themed gifts and apparel, all to spread a little joy via the game of baseball and give back. Via their family fund, Monty's Marvels, a portion of the proceeds from every product sold go to charities supporting women and children - specifically spreading the word about diaper need in America. Diaper need is at an all-time high, and it truly is a silent crisis.


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