Study Shows Couples Stay Together if They Watch Baseball Together

If you’re married and you live in a city that has a professional baseball you’re less likely to get a divorce than if you live in a city without a pro ball team, according to a study done by Professor Howard Markman, a psychologist and the director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, at the University of Denver.

When Denver was considering the financing to bring the Colorado Rockies baseball team to town I did a survey, just for fun. I wanted to see what the relationship was in the divorce rate between communities that had major league baseball teams and those that wanted them. What I discovered was, you’re 28 percent more likely to get a divorce if you live in a town that wants a professional baseball team,” the professor explained.

Markman admits there is a definite connection between where most of the major league teams are located in this country and the divorce rate. The Northeast is home base for most ball clubs. It’s well documented by the
National Center for Health Statistics and other studies by various universities that the Northeast has the lowest divorce rate in the U.S.

Markman took his baseball study one step further in his book “Fighting For Your Marriage.” He said Baseball is something couples can do together for fun. Baseball is a family-oriented activity, unlike the theater. If you talk while you’re at the theater they’ll kick you out. But you can go to a baseball game and talk to your heart’s content and nobody cares.

Markman concluded that couples who attend baseball games are more likely to stay together over the long haul than those who don’t. He says there is a definite collation between a healthy relationship and having fun with your husband or wife at the ballpark.

Dr. David Popenoe, a sociology professor and co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers, doesn’t put much stock in Markman’s baseball theory. There may be some lose coalition between divorce and baseball, as far as the geographical factors are concerned. But it almost like saying a lot of deaths occur in hospitals,” the Rutgers professor added.

Popenoe was more sympathetic to Markman’s finding that couples that attend baseball games have a better chance of their marriage lasting longer than those that don’t. If the University of Denver professor is saying that a couple has a good time attending baseball games get some marital benefit, he would agree. However, he added they would probably get the same benefit if they went fishing together or went bowling.

Dr. Roseann Samson, assistant superintendent of schools in Charlotte County, Fla., may be the embodiment of Prof. Markman’s divorce and baseball studies. When the Texas Rangers held spring training at the local ballpark in Port Charlotte, Fla. she and her husband, Tom, had box seats and were regulars. They’ve been happily married for 38 years.

When the Texas Rangers held spring training at the local ballpark in Port Charlotte, Fla., she and her husband had box seats and were regulars. When told about the professor’s baseball study she said, “That is just so funny. Tom and I just came back from a spring training game where the Phillies played the Rays. When the Rays come here to CharlotteCounty we’re going to get box seats again.

Asked if she thought baseball had helped keep her marriage together Sampson said, “I would like to subscribe to the professor’s ideas about divorce and baseball, but I have no idea about his scientific statistics.I don’t know if it’s done all that for our marriage. I kinda like my husband a lot with or without baseball,” Samson said.

Don Moore is a veteran newspaper editor and reporter who spent more than 40 years working at newspapers around Florida. He recently retired from the Port Charlotte, Fla., Sun-Herald. He can be reached at