(These unidentified but no doubt wholesome gents would be happy to shack up with you this season)
I get emails from the Beloit Snappers. I must have signed up for their newsletter when at Pohlman Field during my one and only visit to that ballpark. First off, the ballpark’s a dump but there’s baseball and beer, so support your local baseball team and check it out. Anyway, most of the time I just peruse these emails briefly or if I’m not in a generous mood, I’ll just straight-up delete them without a glance. Today’s email was ‘snappy’ enough to grab my attention, however. The Beloit Snappers are wondering if you’d be interested in housing and providing clean bedding for their players this season, and maybe you could wash their clothes and allow them to ransack your fridge, if you don’t mind. Also, they may arrive or be up late at night, so hopefully you’re not averse to potential disturbances.
I suppose it shouldn’t be a shock that players in low-level leagues like the Class A Midwest League don’t have a ton of dough to spend on housing. These players are just kicking off their professional careers and aren’t big earners. Per the Snappers, perks are offered for housing a player (or two), such as access to special events, public recognition and discounts. It’s also a pretty cool thing, I guess, to brag to friends, acquaintances and total strangers that your roommate is a professional baseball player.
The Snappers are now an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics after previously being attached to the Brewers and then Twins organizations. Midwest League baseball is a lot of fun; it’s a 16-team league, and I’m really glad we have this kind of thing in the Midwest (Go Wisconsin T-Rats!). I’ve seen games at Midwest League stadiums in Cedar Rapids (or Cedar Crapids, as John C. Reilly’s character Dean Ziegler says in the film Cedar Rapids), Burlington and Davenport, Iowa. They are great road-trip destinations or pit stops. Cedar Rapids and Davenport have particularly nice parks. Beloit’s park, on the other hand, opened in 1982 and woefully needs replacement.
In the meantime, however, if you are a Beloit resident, it would certainly be an interesting experience to apply for the Snappers’ housing program and see if you can score your very own Snappers player for the season, which starts in April. But is it just families or can adults adopt a player?
The article contains a link to a questionnaire to help whittle down the candidates. They ask about proximity to the ballpark. Perhaps this could be like Lambeau Field and a player could borrow a bike once in a while? They ask about whether anyone in the home uses tobacco products. So, I guess smokers need not apply. Accommodations and space limitations are discussed. Then this:
Should the player(s) provide their own transportation, or will you help get them to and from the ballpark?
Interesting. It would be helpful if you have a minivan.
Will they have kitchen privileges?
Well, now! Am I expected to feed the player, too? And what kind of specialized and expensive diets do modern baseball players have?
I also like these questions:
In most cases, you will provide bed linens and bath towels. Will you wash these or expect them to do so?
In other words, don’t get your hopes up. You will be doing the dirty laundry.
Can they have friends over?
Then there are questions about late nights and language preferences and whatnot. Really, this is all very pragmatic and makes sense. That doesn’t mean it’s not a little bit funny, though. It does strike me as slightly odd that this campaign kicks off in March, mere weeks before the season starts. The whole practice brings up notions of old-school baseball traditions, back when players didn’t make more money than the economies of small countries. Can you imagine if they did this for major-league players? Well, these guys could be major leaguers one day!