In baseball, the boys of summer are our heroes. They are the ones who hit the home runs, the ones that pitch perfect games, and the ones who make diving catches that take your breath away. In Wenatchee, backing up the best players in the WCL are the families of summer; the ones who make each and every year of summer collegiate baseball a success.
“If I wouldn’t have had a host family, I wouldn’t have been able to play for the AppleSox,” said 2014 pitcher Ian Buckles, who played his final summer of collegiate baseball in Wenatchee after spending time with Bellingham and Klamath Falls.
Buckles, whose baseball playing career is now over, lived with AppleSox host family, Peter and Rozanne Lind, long-time supporters (and “parents”) of AppleSox baseball.
“We’ve just had incredibly wonderful experiences with our players,” said Rozanne. Her husband, Peter, admits that he wasn’t the bigger baseball fan of the couple, but since joining the AppleSox army of host families, he has used his season tickets to engage with the game and local community.
“I didn’t know much about baseball ten years ago,” he said. “But now, not only have I learned a lot about the game, but I’ve also had the opportunity to share great experiences with the people that we see each night at the games. It’s not just about the baseball.”
For the players, having a host family also isn’t simple. It’s not about simply having a bed, but about having a family.
“Sometimes, as players, we wouldn’t get home until 11 or 11:30 at night,” Buckles said. “Often, my family would already be in bed. Rozanne would leave plates out on the counter and maybe a big pot of soup on the stove, and it was amazing to have things like that – a nice home-cooked meal to come home to. It was a homey feeling – like living with my parents. We got close in such a short period of time.”
Players also take on roles around the house, to help their summer family, who they only get to see for half of the better part of three months.
“We let them know to not be afraid to ask for help, and we’d do dishes and help clean up the yard and things like that. We can’t play baseball without them, so helping out is the least we can do.”
Families also tend to grow during the WCL summers, the Linds explained.
“We always call the parents of the players who will be staying with us ahead of time, and most often we meet them during the summer when they come to visit and have dinner once or twice,” Rozanne said. “We have a great time with the parents when we get to meet them.”
Off the field, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Just ask the Lind’s adopted grandkids.
“This year they’re 11 and 13,” Rozanne said. “The AppleSox players always love to have kids over. The kids think the AppleSox are superstars, so they’re pretty much in awe of them and love to play around in the yard with them.”
Buckles also remembers the kids – taking him back to being an older brother at his home in Kent, Wash.
“Having the grandkids over was a lot of fun,” he said. “They’d come over quite a bit, and we’d hangout. It was just a good time.”
The worst part about being a host family? That’s an easy one, say the Linds, who don’t look forward to goodbyes.
“We realized that we are their parents for the summer,” Peter said. “It’s hard when they leave us in August, it’s like sending your kids off to college.”
“There have definitely been more than a few tears shed,” said Rozanne.
Still the Linds will shed happy tears this summer, as they reconnect with Buckles, as many AppleSox families do.
“We’re planning on going to Ian’s wedding next month in California, that’s how much he means to us,” Rozanne said.
“They’re an ongoing part of my life now,” echoed Buckles.
Peter and Rozanne would give prospective families one piece of advice:
“Find out what it’s all about. We’d never trade any of the summers we’ve had with the AppleSox. It’s been a great experience.”
To find out about becoming an AppleSox host family, call 509-665-6900. The AppleSox are looking for families in Wenatchee, Cashmere, and Entiat.
Each Host Family receives two premium AppleSox season tickets ($430 value) or four general admission season passes ($460 value).
Players arrive around the first of June and leave around the 18th of August.
Players have games almost nightly over the 2 ½ month period, and for half of those games, the team is on the road.
Successful host homes have been: Young families with kids, couples whose children have moved away, seniors who enjoy company and help around the house, and many others!
There are many stories like the Lind’s, call the AppleSox today at 509-665-6900 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for the best summer of your life!