Baseball Star Prince Fielder – First the Slump or First the Divorce?

mlb-Prince_FielderPrince Fielder, Detroit Tigers first baseman and star batter, has been in a slump professionally.  He also just filed for divorce from his wife of 8 years. 

Media reports draw a connection between the two.  But is it cause and effect and, if so, which one was the cause and which one was the effect?  Or is it just a coincidence that the two came about at roughly the same time?  And is it really publicly known exactly when his decision to divorce was made?

Commentary generally has it that the divorce caused the slump.  Things weren’t going well at home.  Maybe disagreements about how much emotional support one was giving the other, how much time one was spending with the other, how much time each one was spending with the kids.  Maybe arguments about money.  Then, the commentary goes, Fielder’s focus wavered from playing his best to thinking about the unhappy atmosphere at home.

But chances are the slump came first.  Even outstanding athletes have slumps.  Bad luck.  Poor coaching.  Health problems that aren’t outwardly apparent or are misdiagnosed.  Conflicts with teammates.  Not focused, which could result from a general feeling of malaise about his home life, or could result from other factors.

And then second came filing for divorce which would ‘solve’ his performance problems.

What is the reasoning on the athlete’s part here?

It could be the athlete is thinking–“If I get rid of my home problems [even if an outsider would say the ‘problems’ are no more than occur in any marriage], then right away I’ll do better on the field”.

Or it could be the athlete is thinking, maybe subconsciously, “I’m a great athlete. This lower performance is not due to a lack of talent and hard work.  Blame it on my marriage. That’s what’s holding me back.  Put that reason out there and people will once again say I’m a great athlete”.

Or it could be that there is another woman whom the athlete has his eye on or possibly is seeing secretly.  His thinking may be “If I could be with this woman, my performance will shoot right back up. I’ve got to get divorced so that I can be with her.”

This is speculation and we will probably never know which came first and if one caused the other unless new information comes forth. But we shouldn’t assume just because teammates and friends say so that the divorce came first.  This is part of the usual outside story.

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