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In the sixth installment of this series, Derrick Loop, a pitcher in the Padres organization, returns to talk about a housing option available to many minor-league players, the host family.

DERRICK LOOP:

Making a rather menial wage, ball players look for many ways to save money while they play. What many teams have turned to are host families. These are typically families that love the game and are willing to take in a player to live with them during a season. You are typically treated like part of the family, with a few rules, most of which are just common courtesy.

In my first pro season, I was 2,500 miles from home and didn’t know anyone. The person in charge of finding each of us a host family merely handed me a crumpled sheet of paper with a couple of names and numbers scribbled on it and said to me, “Here, I have no idea who these people are, but call them and see if they will take you in.” Without going into detail, I wasn’t too happy with this guy. Having only three days in the hotel, time was running short.

With only one day left in the hotel, my team hosted a pre-season “fan appreciation day” for season ticket holders. While schmoozing around, I ended up chatting with a very sweet woman who claimed to make it to every home game. As we began to chat, it came up that two other teammates and I had not found a place to stay yet. Ironically, this woman and her husband had three spare bedrooms at their home. While they had not intended to host players that season, a short conversation with her husband led them to change their mind, and all three of us were accepted into their home.

As the season progressed, we all got to know each other very well. The family could not have been any more hospitable. We were very spoiled while living there, eating very well and having a car provided to us for transportation. I personally developed a great relationship with them and the rest of their family. While it has been four years since I have lived there, we still keep in close contact to this day. I have found myself a second family. Even though my baseball career has not taken me through that area since then, I still feel welcome there any time that I decide to visit