Blue Sox, Starfires seeking host families for 2023 season

Independent league baseball is starting soon, teams like the Valley Blue Sox and Westfield Starfires are still looking for families to voluntarily host players.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 2:10 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 2:11 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WGGB/WSHM) - Independent league baseball is starting soon and while there is hype for that, teams like the Valley Blue Sox and Westfield Starfires are still looking for families to voluntarily host players for the summer.

We know one thing for sure: all Valley Blue Sox players will be able to play ball starting next month to kick off the 2023 New England Collegiate Baseball League season. However, team president Matt Drury told us there is still a bit of an issue off the field that needs to be tended to before the team plays 44 games in 60 days.

“We have a great base of host families, but we are looking to fill those last few holes, last few spots for beds for players this year. It’s a big push for us in the last couple of weeks,” Drury explained.

Each summer, the team has players from all over the country who are currently playing at high-level Division I colleges and universities and, usually, families within 15 to 30 minutes of Mackenzie Stadium host those athletes including Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, Longmeadow, Northampton, Hadley, and South Hadley. Drury told Western Mass News that six beds are needed and the hope is to get them filled soon before the organization looks at other options.

“We can look at some dorms and something like that, but that’s not really what the league has always envisioned and something we look at as an organization. The whole point of it is to bring them into the western Mass. community and have them feel like they’re part of the organization and the community,” Drury added.

For families looking to volunteer, all you need is a private space for the player, as well as food options and access to a kitchen. Those host families will receive multiple incentives including free general admission to all home and away Blue Sox games, food vouchers for every home game, season long access to live game radio, a 40 percent discount on all merchandise, and free transportation and tickets to the Boston Red Sox game on June 12.

The Blue Sox, though, have not been the only team searching for hosts. Westfield Starfires owner Chris Thompson shared his team’s housing status on Western Mass News: Getting Answers with Dave Madsen.

“We still need, probably, two or three more beds…It’s a cool experience for both, both the player and the families, and we hear stories all the time that they do keep in touch with these college players after they graduate and they go see them play at their university. They’ll make a road trip with the family, so they have that special bond,” Thompson added.

Both the Blue Sox and the Starfires hope to have all of the players housed by the first weekend of June.