Don’t swat, team asking families to keep and feed short term
By Elsa Maxey
Before the Skeeters team players arrive in about three months, an adopt a player campaign will have been underway in hopes that families will host each of the players by housing them. There will be 25 team members on the roster and each is intended to be in a local area home after they report on April 12 for the opening of the ball playing season.
Skeeters Marketing and Communications Manager Brian Hodge said that “open your home to a Skeeter” campaign has been on their website since about mid-December and a press release with details will soon be released.
Any other places with teams in the Atlantic League do that?
“Yes, all of the other teams do it, as well,” said Hodge. He said the photo on the team’s website about the hosting program is from their Lancaster team, and York (from Pennsylvania and the first team to play against the Skeeters) does it, as well.” He said the family hosting is common in minor league baseball. The Skeeters along with seven other teams is in the Atlantic League.
So how long will the Skeeters players stay with the families? “Anywhere from a week to a full season,” said Hodge about the length of stay indicating that the season starts in April and ends in September. On the website reference is made to a player’s spouse and possibly children visiting and staying for short visits. “Normally, in most cases, it’s just a player,” said Hodge. He also said the players have their home and families elsewhere.
The way that the team organizers see it, this arrangement is beneficial to host families since they already know about the minor league baseball team and support it, and for the player, he doesn’t know how long he will be with the team, and as Hodge puts it, he “won’t be tied down to a lease or bills, which takes away from the stress when he has a place to stay.” Akin to being with a second family, “he gets to focus on playing baseball.”
On the Skeeters website, it states that the host family program is extremely important to the entire baseball operation. Also, that by hosting a player, a family will give that player, who is otherwise many miles away from their home environment and loved ones, a sense of home during the course of a long season.
Apartment housing or other short term housing a viable alternative?
“I am not sure if other leagues do it with apartments that way or not, but we prefer host families,” said Hodge.
If you’re interested there’s an application online, SugarLandSkeeters.com, to host a family or just call the Skeeters office at 281.240.4487.
The 2012 inaugural schedule for the first pitched game at the recently renamed stadium, now called Constellation Stadium, is set for Thurs., April 26. There will be 70 home games, and 70 road games will take place against the other seven teams of the Atlantic League.