Firebirds Seeking Host Families For Cape League Season

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: Cape Cod Baseball League

The Orleans Firebirds are looking for host families for this summer. BRAD JOYAL FILE PHOTO

ORLEANS – With just about a month and a half remaining before the Cape Cod Baseball League hosts its Opening Day on June 12, the Orleans Firebirds are looking for Lower Cape residents who are interested in hosting players for the upcoming season.

“We ask host families to open up their houses to a player or players, most families like to take two players,” said Nancy Nickerson, the Firebirds’ assistant general manager and housing director. “It’s an eight- or nine-week period and it’s just such a joy. You really get to bond with them and you make these lifelong friendships and watch them chase their dream.”

Nickerson said this year has been a little easier to attract players than last year because many families decided they wanted to continue to host Cape League players.

“I have a lot of host families that return and have been returning for years,” said Nickerson, “but it’s always a struggle to get 30 beds. You always get down to those last two, three or four beds.”

It can be a thrill to interact with future big-league players, though Nickerson also noted it’s enjoyable to get to meet their friends and families who often visit over the course of the summer.

Each host family receives a weekly stipend that is used to purchase groceries for the players.

“We ask our host families to have some snacks in the house and some breakfast foods and then the team actually feeds the players after all of the home games,” Nickerson said. “When we go to Falmouth or Wareham, which is far away, we’ll take them out for pizza or grab something on the way home.”

Although each team is different, there is a league code of conduct and a team code of conduct players must follow. That includes a curfew, according to Nickerson.

“They are so focused on baseball because they know this is their big chance to be seen by the scouts,” she said.

In addition to seeking host families, Nickerson is also in the process of organizing the team’s youth clinic, which is hosted by the team’s manager, Kelly Nicholson, and Firebirds players.

“The players actually work the clinic, so you really get to know them,” Nickerson said. “And then a couple of our coaches do specialty clinics — one does hitting once a week and one does pitching once a week.”

Clinics run weekly beginning June 20 until July 25 and take place at Nauset Middle School adjacent to Eldredge Park.

Visit Orleansfirebirds.com for more information about the clinics or becoming a host family.

General manager Bob O’Donnell said the club is eager to return to Eldredge Park and that the organization will be dedicating the 2022 season in memory of Dave Mitchell, an Eastham resident who died March 9 after serving as the Firebirds’ treasurer for more than 30 years.

“He was a fiber to making sure our seasons in the 80s and 90s were successful,” O’Donnell said. “He was known by many as a true gentleman and an all-around great guy. He loved his baseball.”

 

Email Brad Joyal at brad@capecodchronicle.com.

Twitter: @BradJoyal