April 18, 2014

Elyria
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Baseball players in need of good homes

AVON —What do you get a houseful of rabid Lake Erie Crushers fans besides game tickets, baseball caps and a nice summer night at the game?

How about a ballplayer?

The Crushers are once again seeking friendly families to open their homes to host players for the upcoming 2013 season.

Families who agree to open their homes to Crushers’ players do so on a strictly voluntary basis, according to Kim
Deanovic, who is in charge of pairing ballplayers with host families.

“It’s especially designed for players who live out of state and are looking for a nice, comfortable place to live,” Deanovic said. “By staying with a family, they’re able to get a home-cooked meal every once in a while (during homestands).”

No one is paid for housing athletes, but participating households do receive special consideration for game tickets
as well as activities and promotions at Avon’s All Pro Freight Stadium.

The idea behind the host family concept is to provide a relaxed, home-like environment for players who would otherwise wind up living out of hotels for the duration of the season, according to Deanovic.

“It puts their minds at ease,” she said of players fortunate enough to spend the season with a local family, especially
those whose homes are considerable distances away, as in Florida or the Dominican Republic, where a few Crushers players hailed from during the 2012 season.

Most team members hosted by families arrive in early May to start their abbreviated spring training in preparation for Opening Day on May 17.

With their time taken up by training, long games and road trips, most athletes aren’t looking for any grandiose living arrangements or making demands on their host family beyond a warm place to live and an inviting home atmosphere, Deanovic said.

With most players averaging three to five years with the club, some wind up “bunking” more than one year with the same family.

This “repeat” business of sorts leads to closer relationships between certain players and families.

“Some keep in contact during the offseason,” Deanovic said.

Some families put in requests to the Crushers to host the same athlete for more than one season.

“The players do become like a family member,” Deanovic said. “They spend a good chunk of the
summer with them, and enjoy hanging out together, especially when there are kids in the house.”

The Crushers have about 15 families signed up for the 2013 season, but more are needed to accommodate
the team’s 25- to 30-man roster.

Anyone interested in hosting a Lake Erie Crushers’ player for the 2013 season is asked to call Deanovic at (440) 934-3636 for more information.

Interested households may also fill out applications and mail, fax or email them to Kdeanovic@lakeeriecrushers.com.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.