Host families aid in making minor leaguer' dreams possible Jun 12, 2018 18:47:47 GMT -8
Post by Nevadanut on Jun 12, 2018 18:47:47 GMT -8
This should be interesting and warming to the heart.
I've wondered many things about the nuances of on this site, the sports we cover and teams. And so forth. What happens when a player is signed by a team and has to move to an unfamiliar area? I had thought there may be team housing or something of that sort. In some instances, that is the case. However, if what I'm about to go into might be common knowledge, the please indulge me.
In researching the Normal Cornbelters, the Hillsboro Hops and Spokane Indians, I found something really cool, including a testimonial by one baseball fan in Central Illinois.
I'm talking about host families. When a player is signed, even in training camp, by one of those teams (as well as many others), some can find apartments. Maybe that's through the teams, local members of their families or friends. Several players need a little bit of help when they are moving as far away as from another coast. That's where the host families come in. Minor league baseball fans rock. They are so into the teams and into the players who are playing in their city. Each team has a program where a family can host a player during the season. I would imagine that sometimes it could be an incredible adjustment.
Typically, according to what I've read, the host family provides a room for the player. He is responsible for meals, transportation and communications (e.g. cell phone or long distance calling card). Certainly, if the family wants to include the player at dinner, drop them off at the stadium or take them sightseeing around the area, it is fine and even encouraged.
The Cornbelters, Hops and Indians all feature host families.
The following is the Hops' description of their host family policy:
Looking for a way to get more involved with the Hops? Open your home to a Diamondbacks prospect and become a 2018 Hops host family.
Host families share their home with a Hops player from June to September. The Hops ask that you live within 10 miles of the stadium and have a spare room and bathroom for the player to use. You are not required to provide transportation but are certainly welcome to if possible. The same goes for meals and other household amenities. You may ask for rent to be paid but rent payment is set at your discretion. If you decide to ask for rent payment, the average rate is $200 per player.
If you would like more information about becoming a host family, are interested in hosting a Hops player for the season, please contact Preston Toulon at 503-640-0887. We ask that all interested host family candidates fill out the Host Family Application and email it to PrestonT@hillsborohops.com, or return it by mail to:
Hillsboro Hops Baseball
4460 NE Century Blvd.
Hillsboro, OR 97124
The Indians have some similar guidelines, and even propose the idea of two players per host family:
Spokane Indians Baseball Season: Host families should be aware that the season is short, running from early June until September. Host families are required for Indians' players beginning around June 10, and players will leave around September 10th.
Spokane Indians Players: Indians players are currently playing at universities and college from around the country. Although the players are drafted from across the United States, they share at least one thing in common - baseball. This requires discipline and dedication, and you rill fine that this translates into college players that are admirable young men. They are polite, respectful and grateful. The Indians play approximately 76 games in three months; half of those on the road which means they are away for significant stretches of time. While in town, they are are expected to attend practices and workouts.
Host Family Expectations: The principle role of the host family will be to provide accommodations. Accommodation if first and foremost, with the players at the field (spending) so much of their days playing an aggressive schedule. It is nice for them to be able to relax at their home away from home. To a lesser degree, host families will be expected to provide some meals. Players with special diets will be asked to purchase their own food. Assistance with transportation (such as dropping a player off at the stadium) would be helpful. For the most part, players tend to make their own transportation arrangements, either with their own vehicles or with teammates.
How Many Host Families Are required? The Indians will need to find housing arangements for approximately 12 players, if possible. It is preferred that players be "doubled up" with two players per host family. We have found this to be easier both for players and the host families. A room with two beds is ideal.
The Cornbelters also have the program. Their official website focuses on a testimonial from Dan and Lori Cooper, who have hosted at least two Cornbelters pitchers of the past few seasons:
The Life of Hosting a CornBelters Player During the Season (by Dan and Lori Cooper)
A few years ago while attending a Normal CornBelter’s baseball game our daughters discovered the “Host Family” program. Being a baseball loving family, we were intrigued with the idea of hosting a professional baseball player. We were also a little hesitant, some of our friends and co-workers said, “how could you just let a total stranger live in your home?” Exactly, how can you do that especially with two young daughters?
A little over a year ago we decided to apply for the program and interviewed with the CornBelter’s General Manager. He explained, they try to match families and players who have similar interests and personalities. Still being a little apprehensive, we agreed to allow a player to stay in our home for a couple weeks during spring training and then again during the post season. This would give us an idea of how the program worked for our family. What we never imagined was just how much these young men would impact our lives.
Our first player was a pitcher from Ohio, Chuck Ghysels. Our girls' felt as if they found their long lost brother. They rode 4 wheelers, swam in the pool, watched TV and played video games together. He became a part of our family in a matter of a couple weeks. Early into the season however, Chuck was released. The bond we developed didn’t end there though, we stay in contact and he visits when in town. After Chuck’s release, we had an opportunity for a second player and again you have the same sort of apprehension. We were pleasantly surprised by pitcher Stephen Frey, a wonderful young man from downstate New York. Stephen just fits with our family, we enjoy discussing the daily news, going to the movies, and watching baseball together. Stephen is just another member of our family, so we invited him to live with us for an entire season. Our girls love having a big brother they can cheer for.
It never ceases to amaze me the ambition and dedication to the sport of baseball these young men have. They don’t give up on their dreams, nor should they. Most of us dream of doing something we love, and we don’t always get that opportunity. These young men have a chance to make it and as a host family we can be there to support them and encourage them no matter what happens. As much as you enjoy having them around, you also hope they’re signed by an affiliated team and get that chance to make the big leagues. If you can be a part of their dream, all the better.
This, to me, is what makes sports great. It also tells me that we have some great people in our country. To those host families in Normal, Hillsboro and Spokane (and other communities we've yet to cover), they have my deepest respect and admiration. I'm sure this is not mind boggling to most by any stretch of the imagination. At the same time, this is something which can make us realize how good as a people we can be.
As this is a sports website, I feel this is prevalent. This makes us a little closer. I can only imagine what these players will report back to their families back home about their temporary adopted families. I wonder about the contact between the families with the players whom they have seen move on. Only they can tell you that.
My goal with this was to highlight this dynamic. I think it's wonderful. I salute both the families, and the players. I hope, that as the players move forward, they keep in contact with their new families.
This is the periodic blog of According to Heidi on SCtoC. She is the Assistant Head Coach on this site and a recent college graduate with a B.A. in Music and a Minor in English. She now lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
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