“Every Christmas and birthday, I am met with sweet messages from our former Pippins players,” says Kristi Foster (second from right), whose family has hosted players since 2014. “These messages will never get old, and it is just a small part of the joy the Pippins Host Family program has brought to my family.”
YAKIMA, Wash. – As the Yakima Valley Pippins gear up for their fifth season at Yakima County Stadium, the team is also seeking additional host families to house players while in Yakima.
“One of the questions we’re often asked is where do players stay during the summer,” Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said. “With players coming from all around the country, we also get that question a lot from parents.”
Host families have been a critical part of the organization’s success from Day 1, Garretson said. “Without our great hosts, we wouldn’t be able to operate. It’s as simple as that.”
Families interested in hosting a player can apply online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PippinsHostFamily
Garretson estimates about 30 beds will be needed for this summer.
Although host families “adopt” their players for less than three months, many of them keep active ties with players long after they’ve left Yakima.
“Our family has been expanded, thanks to the opportunity we have had to host several Pippins players,” said Kristi Foster, whose family has hosted players since the team’s inaugural 2014 season. “We have not only added the players to our extended family, but their families as well. The host family program has initiated lifelong relationships that have even taken us to California where our former Pippins families were able to host us as well.”
Host families provide free room and board during the West Coast League season, a family environment to help players adjust to a new community away from their own families, and, in some cases, transportation to and from the ballpark. Typically, players arrive in late May and stay through mid-August.
In return, host families receive a Stadium View season ticket for each member of the immediate household, a full-season parking pass, 20 percent off team merchandise during the season, on-field recognition during Fan Appreciation Night, and more.
“We expect our players to represent their colleges and their families well while in Yakima, and host families have contributed to their growth, too,” Garretson said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll see major leaguers in coming years who have played for the Pippins and have grown up with adopted brothers and sisters here in Yakima.”
“Our boys consider many of these former players almost like brothers,” Foster said. “Long after the players go back to their respective homes, I find my boys texting or Facebook messaging them. Whether it be a baseball-related question, something they saw in the news, or just a “Hey how’s that anatomy class going?” these guys truly become a part of your family.”
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