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story.lead_photo.caption Megan and Matt Strahm (from the left) Maddi and Logan Moon, and Mauricio and Kylee Ramos pose behind the plate after a Naturals game June 19 at Arvest Ballpark. - Photo by J.T. Wampler

When they first met, Mauricio Ramos couldn't even talk with Kylee Olson -- let alone imagine she'd become his wife a little more than a year later.

Ramos, a native of Colombia, was playing third base for the Idaho Falls Chukars in 2013 when he was introduced to Olson. One of his teammates was dating her cousin and decided they should meet.

Mauricio and Kylee Ramos

Married: Sept. 6, 2014 in Idaho Falls, Idaho

Age: Mauricio, 24; Kylee, 23

Notable: Signed by the Kansas City Royals as a nondrafted free agent in 2010. … Selected to play in the Texas League All-Star Game this season and among Naturals top hitters.

Matt and Megan Strahm

Married: Sept. 26, 2015 in Chanute, Kan.

Age: Matt, 24; Megan, 24.

Notable: Selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 21st round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft and signed for a $100,000 bonus. … Left-handed pitcher ranked as the No. 8 prospect in the Royals organization this year by Baseball America. … Missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Logan and Maddi Moon

Married: Feb. 20, 2015 in Kansas City, Mo.

Age: Logan, 24; Maddi, 23.

Notable: Selected by the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and signed for a $5,000 signing bonus. … Blue Springs, Mo., native played three seasons at Central Arkansas before transferring to Missouri Southern to play his senior season. … Maddi played soccer at Central Arkansas and played professionally in Australia.

"He didn't speak any English," Kylee said. "Mainly, we used Google translator on our phones to talk when we first met."

The couple were married at home plate of Chukars' Melaleuca Field on Sept. 6, 2014. Baseball brought them together, but it's also kept them apart. Ramos played the 2014 season in Wilmington, Del., and made it back to Idaho Falls just two days before the wedding. He left to play winter ball in Colombia less than a week later.

They spent much of 2015 apart with Kylee working in Idaho Falls and Mauricio playing in Lexington, Ky. But the couple is living together this year in Springdale in Ramos' first season with the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Ramos is one of three Naturals who are married and settled in for the summer in Northwest Arkansas. He is joined by outfielder Logan Moon and pitcher Matt Strahm, and both of them are in their first season here and in their first year of marriage, too.

Logan and Maddi Moon met in college at Central Arkansas, while Matt and Megan Strahm crossed paths at Neosho Community College in Megan's hometown of Chanute, Kan. All three players agreed their wives are incredibly supportive -- even if they don't live together -- as they chase their dreams of making the Major Leagues.

Megan Strahm works as an LPN in Fargo, N.D., but makes the 11-hour drive to Northwest Arkansas every few weeks to visit her husband. Matt Strahm acknowledged it's not easy being away from his wife, but technology allows them to communicate daily and even see each other, thanks to cellphone apps like FaceTime and Skype.

"It's tough, yes, but I get to see her every night," Matt Strahm said.

Megan Strahm admitted it was difficult not being with Matt at certain times, specifically when he was injured and underwent Tommy John surgery. She's also made up her mind to be with him next season.

"You never know what's going to happen in this baseball life," she said. "I think I realized I want to be there and physically be a part of that lifestyle. It's so unique, I really should be there."

Having that support is particularly important since failure is such a big part of baseball, Logan Moon said.

"If I have a bad game or something, not just 0 for 4, but like 0 for 20, I don't just sit there alone and look at the TV," he said. "She's awesome at keeping me positive."

He also pointed out that his wife played soccer in college and professionally, which gives her unique insight into his career.

"She played at a very high level, and she's very supportive of my dream," Logan Moon said.

The Moons, like the Ramoses, had to find an opening in their busy schedule for a wedding, especially since the Royals wanted Logan to go play baseball in Australia in the offseason last year. But Maddi hooked up with a pro soccer team Down Under and went, too.

So the Moons' wedding date was set for late February, just before spring training.

"We thought of eloping in Australia, but our parents would have murdered us," Maddi said with a laugh. "So the season ended there in January, and we got back Feb. 3, and we were married Feb. 20. He left for spring training on Feb. 25. We like to joke when people ask, 'Where did you go on your honeymoon?' I tell them I went to spring training.

"We'll take a trip or a cruise or something after the season's over."

All three couples also agreed there's plenty of misconception about the amount of money minor league baseball players make. Some receive large bonuses when they are drafted, but the reality is their salary barely passes for minimum wage. They get $25 per diem on the road for meals and deal with 8- to 10-hour bus rides at times.

The Ramoses are sharing an apartment with teammate Jack Lopez and his girlfriend. The Moons are staying in Rogers with the parents of Andy Couture, Logan Moon's teammate at Central Arkansas.

"The reality is they're making about $1,000 a month, and you don't see them much even if you're living with them," Maddi Moon said. "It's a lot of commitment, a lot of trust.

"You can't believe how excited I was when they had a 4 o'clock game. We had an actual date."

The uncertainty of their husbands' futures also is a challenge. Megan Strahm got to see it up close last year when Matt was unexpectedly promoted in the middle of a visit.

"She was there to help me pack up my apartment, and we had to switch her flight," Matt Strahm said.

The Ramoses got some news recently that will alter their lives even more. Kylee is expecting their first child in December.

"Our life's going to change, there's no doubt," Kylee said. "But it's not going to change that he's going to keep playing. But we won't really know where we'll be."

Sports on 07/10/2016

Print Headline: Marriage in the Minor Leagues

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