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CornBelters Start Search For 2014 Host Families

NORMAL - It's a part of the game of baseball we don't often think about: traveling and housing.
NORMAL - It's a part of the game of baseball we don't often think about: traveling and housing. For minor and independent leaguers, it's commonplace. But that doesn't mean it's always an easy task.

With temperatures in the 20s, many people aren't thinking about baseball. But with less than six months to go until Opening Day, the Normal CornBelters are already looking forward to next season.

Mike Rains is looking to continue a strong tradition of finding host families for the Belters.

"When you're only here from mid-May to mid-September, finding a lease for that amount of time can be difficult," said Rains.

The CornBelters are entering their fifth season of existence, and Scott and Tari Evans are entering their fourth year as host families. With their children out of the house, they've enjoyed the company of the new guests.

"Initially, I wasn't really keen on the idea but finally got around to it, and it's been fun and I've enjoyed it," said Scott Evans.
      
"It's a great experience for them," said Rains. "Because it gets them much closer to the team and the players and and one of the benefits of being a host family is you get full season tickets with that."

The team requires a host family that has a private bedroom with a bed for players. The Evans family makes it a priority to spend time with their guests, often having dinners together or going on outings, so each one feels like a part of the family.

"At noon every day, we need you to take him for a walk and they were always open to it, and you know, you'd come home and find them both asleep on the couch," said Tari Evans.

They've even made a few road trips to support their guests.

"He was from Colorado, and his parents couldn't be here. So, as his adopted parents, we chose to go support him," said Tari Evans.

"We drove up there and surprised him. He turned around and saw us in the stands and said, 'what are you doing here?' It's like, 'we came to see you pitch, what else?'," said Scott Evans.

"We picked up the program and all the little stuff that Mom and Dad would want. So, when they came to visit in July, we gave it all to them," said Tari Evans.

There are more than memories from these seasons, there are friendships.

"That's their dream to play in the major leagues. So, to help them achieve that goal just makes you feel good," said Tari Evans.

And it's a decision they'd make again.

There's no hard deadline for host families, but the CornBelters are looking to fill their slots as soon as possible. For the spring training season, which starts in April, they’ll need about 20-25 host families. When the rosters are set for Opening Day, it’ll drop to about 15 or so. If you're interested in becoming a host family, here is a link.

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