Host Family Experience Creating Baseball Fans
03/15/2022 9:00 AM
Article By: Kaley Brown
If you had asked the Anzuoni family how they felt about baseball 10 years ago, they would have said they couldn't care less about the sport. They would not have even been able to tell you what the Cape Cod Baseball League is.
"These kids know what they need to do,” Tracy says. “They’re here to play baseball. And, they’ve been in college for at least a year and they know what they have to do. You have to treat them like the adult that they are.”
Once the Anzuonis welcome their hostee into their home, Tracy lays a couple of basic ground rules.
First, do not leave dirty dishes in the sink. Make sure to put them in the dishwasher. Otherwise, she will call you out. Second, remember to turn the lights off if you are leaving a room.
“Three strikes and you’re out,” Steve says with a laugh.
“If you leave them on a fourth time, we’re kicking you out,” Tracy jokes.
Once the player has settled into the Anzuoni home and they ensure that turning the lights off becomes a habit, dinner time at the dining table is something that everyone in the house looks forward to.
At the start of the meal, everyone will discuss the baseball game that was played that day for a few minutes before the conversation veers off into an hour-long discussion about anything and everything but the sport. Tracy says that those nights eating supper and talking for so long are some of the fondest memories that players they have hosted have of their stay.
“That time alone means more than anything to me,” Tracy says. “They remember things I can’t remember!”
Both Steve and Tracy cannot emphasize enough that the players they host every summer become like their adoptive children the second they step into their home.
“This is their home from the minute they step in here, it’s also their home for the rest of their lives,” Tracy says.
The young men, as well as their own families, are like the Anzuonis’ extended family. They remain in touch with all of the players that have lived with them and many of their real parents, too. Keeping in contact with the players, watching them mature and pursue their dreams whether they be baseball-related or not, are the most rewarding parts of being a host in Tracy’s eyes.
This September, Steve and Tracy will be attending the wedding of the first player they ever hosted for the Cape Cod League. That is just how close the host parents are with those they have opened their doors to.
One of the most eye-opening aspects of being a host, aside from the bond that the Anzuonis have fostered with the players they have hosted, is the level of respect and appreciation that not only the young men, but also their own families have shown toward them.
The players are always sure to greet both Steve and Tracy, ask them how they are doing and give them hugs, and the players are always sure to let the Anzuonis know how grateful they are that they are allowing them to live in their house while they chase their dream of continuing to play baseball at the next level.
The young man’s families are also extremely thankful that Steve and Tracy were kind enough to open their doors to their son, but the Anzuonis do not think twice about it.
“Hosting is a great experience for both the players and for us,” Steve says. “We’re always learning how to be better host parents.”
“It’s as much of an experience for us as it is for them,” Tracy says in agreement with Steve.
Steve and Tracy have met countless new friends through attending Bourne Braves games over the years, whether they be fellow hosts or simply people who love Cape Cod Baseball and attend all of the games for fun.
Similarly, the Anzouonis know that through the players they have hosted over the years, and the families they have gotten to know through their hosting, that they have a place to stay in many states across the country. If they wanted to go to California, they have a number of different houses they would be able to stay at. The same goes for Florida, Arizona and more.
Tracy explains that she and her husband have lived in their home for 35 years but only became aware of the CCBL the year they began hosting. They also referenced the fact that there are still people who live on the Cape and do not know what they are missing out on each summer.
“We love this level because you’re up close and personal,” Steve says. “You’re seeing the future stars right in your own backyard.”
Steve and Tracy are two of the best ambassadors for hosting players for the Cape Cod League.
“Do it,” Tracy says to anyone who may be considering becoming a host but is still on the fence. “You won’t regret it.”
“We never thought we’d be doing this for this long,” Steve says. “Now, there’s really no end in sight. They really are kind of our kids and adoptive family.”
Just a little over one decade ago, they hardly knew that the Cape Cod Baseball League existed. Now, the couple does not know what they would be doing every summer if they were not housing players and creating lasting connections with them, their families and those they spent endless hours with at the ballpark.
The Cape Cod Baseball League has relied on a community of host families to provide housing to young ballplayers from around the country for decades. Host families play a critical role in making the league everything it can be.
We're excited to be approaching the 2022 season, but we need your help to make it the most memorable yet. If you want to learn more about getting involved as a host family for either of our ten team, email [email protected] and include your location on Cape Cod!