03/07/2022 10:00 AM
Article By: Kaley Brown
The Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) is well-known for consistently producing Major League Baseball (MLB) talent, but seldom do the host families who house the young men each summer get recognized for the role they play in making that happen.
Lisa’s husband Eric, who doubles as the CCBL’s commissioner, echoes similar sentiments and acknowledges that there may be a transition period for both the family and the player during the first couple of days.
“Every year, it’s just funny how the player will say for a day or two, ‘Oh, it’s okay. Doesn’t matter, whatever you want to cook is fine,’” Eric says. “After a couple of days they realize, ‘Oh, I can tell you that I don’t like pasta’ or whatever. They just want to please their new host family as much as we want to please them.”
Eric reiterates the fact that it is not easy for some people to quickly feel at ease in a brand new house in a brand new part of the country, but when the player does feel that they are a family member, it is a lot of fun and very rewarding. Whether the player a family hosts is only there for a handful of days or the full 10-week CCBL season, Lisa and Eric say that the individual and those in the home become bonded.
“You’ll be surprised how attached you get to these players and how quickly they become a part of your family,” Eric says. “You’ll see how much it hurts when they leave, just like your own kid going to school or college when they leave the nest.”
The first player that the Zmudas hosted over 10 years ago only stayed in their home for one week, but it truly hurt to say goodbye to him when the time came. The young man spent Father’s Day with Eric and got him a gift for the holiday because they had grown so close.
“That was just the first kid!” Eric says. “After that, we were hooked.”
The family remains connected with all of the previous players they have hosted and have been thrilled to watch them grow over the years whether they remain on the professional baseball path or seek another career. While it would be a joy to have a player you host become a Major League Baseball (MLB) player, that is not the goal when it comes to being a host family. To the Zmudas, each player they host holds a special place in their heart regardless of the path they take once they leave the Cape.
“It’s all about the connection and continued involvement we have in their lives and they have in ours,” Eric says. “It’s about giving them the opportunity to further their careers and become whatever they’re going to become in their future.”
Host families are an integral part of the CCBL. Both the family and the player benefit immensely from the relationship they build over not only their time sharing a home, but also for the rest of their lives.
“It won’t be fun when the player has to go because you don’t want your family to leave, but that also gives the opportunity to meet a new player and have another person become part of your family,” Eric says.
If you are on the fence about becoming a host family for the Cape Cod Baseball League, the Zmudas have one message for you:
“You just have to try it,” Lisa says. “You get so much more out of it than you really have to work to put into it.”
“Do it,” Eric says, simply. “You’ll enjoy it. Just do it. If you're interested in becoming involved as a host family, take the plunge. You wouldn't regret it.”
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!