THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
The Cooperstown Hawkeyes are still trying to find homes for players before the start of the team’s inaugural season in early June.
David Pearlman, the team’s Assistant General Manager for Operations, is searching for additional families with a little extra room in the house who would be willing to host a player during the two-month season.
``You could have a young man staying with you who’s going to end up playing Major League Baseball,’’ Pearlman said.
Forty-two players from the 14-team New York Collegiate Baseball League were chosen in the Major League Baseball draft 2009, Pearlman said, adding that Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek played in the league and still keeps in touch with the family who hosted him. He said Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge is another player who played in the NYCBL.
``Cooperstown is unlike any other place in the baseball world. These kids love the idea of coming here, they want to come to Cooperstown,’’ he said.
Lynne and Kai Mebust and their three sons, ages 10, 12 and 14 have signed on to host a player this summer.
``We’re a baseball family, we have three sons and we have extra space,’’ Lynne said Tuesday afternoon. ``We want to help welcome the team to the community.’’
Lynne said her family is excited about the new local team and had planned to attend the games. Having a player staying with them will offer added incentive to be at the games and help them feel more connected to the team.
She said she hopes other families in the community will also consider having a player stay with them. Pearlman said that player hosts will receive a $200 stipend to help offset costs they might incur feeding and housing a ball player. They will also receive a free family season pass to all the Hawkeye home games at Doubleday Field.
Hosts will not have to worry about transportation. Many players have their own car and the team will be responsible for transportation.
The team will also be in charge of laundering uniforms.
``The players just need a bed _ not even a whole room,’’ Pearlman said.
``These are all good kids.
We have a code of conduct that is strictly enforced _ no alcohol and no tobacco.
We expect them to be role models.’’
``It’s a way to get involved with a good kid who wants to be a Major League player,’’ added team president Tom Hickey.
Host families don’t have to live in the village. Pearlman said they would be happy to have people who reside in Fly Creek, Hartwick, Middlefield or Milford.
Basically, people living in the Cooperstown or Milford school districts _ anyone within a 15 to 20 minute drive of Cooperstown, he said.
If homes can’t be found for the players, some of them may end up in Oneonta at a Hartwick College dormitory.
That would be added expense for the team and driving time for the players, but more importantly it would mean the players would not be integrated into the community the way we would like them to be, Pearlman explained.
``We don’t want to sound like we’re pleading, but asking the community to support Cooperstown’s team. We’re trying to make this something the village can be proud of,’’ he said. ``We think this is a great opportunity that makes Doubleday Field not just a tourist attraction. It can finally be where our home team plays.’’
Anyone interested in hosting a player may contact Pearlman at 547-4186, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the team, go to the website www.cooperstown-hawkeyes.com.