I'm going to save the numbers for the article, but today I wanted to expound upon one of my favorite quotes from it:
"We had 12 players, two wives, and a baby staying with us all at once."
The quote is from Barbara Rothstein. Residents of Norwich, Connecticut, she and her husband served as a host family for the then Double A affiliate of the Yankees, the Norwich Navigators. As knowledge of her services grew, more and more players wanted to live with her to save money, and every sole was welcomed.
You might be thinking that a mansion would be needed to house all of these players, but in fact, they live in a normal looking, 3 bedroom ranch-style home. So, where did all the players stay? In a Hooverville in the backyard? Or perhaps they brought in a mobile home for the summer?
The full basement is partially furnished, with storage on one side and a long open space on the other. As you walk down the steps today, you'll see an older big screen TV on the far wall, but something else will immediately grab your attention: there are futons everywhere.
Almost all of the players stayed in this room--some with their wives--all of them sleeping on the futons in the cave-like darkness of the basement. It made for a strange sort of communal living that would even procure a look of disbelief from an anthropology student. They did so because their paychecks were so low and because Barbara kept them so well-fed. She even ran a shuttle-service back and forth to the park for them.
If you're in the minor leagues for long enough, you'll hear a lot of stories such as this. Though this is one of the more extreme examples, it isn't an isolated incident. Many players live in less than desirable conditions and yet play in front of 5,000 or even 10,000 people everyday they go to the park.
Now you know a small part of the "what." We'll talk about an example from the "why"s category in the next post.