Tammy and Eric Weech describe themselves as the
type of people who take in "strays," whether it's an abandoned dog
or a teen having a rough time at home. So when they heard about the
need for families to host players on the Schaumburg Boomers
baseball team, "it was kind of a natural fit for us," Eric
Four years later, the Weeches have hosted numerous
players, as well as some wives and girlfriends, in their Itasca
home. They currently have two players, outfielder Sean Mahley and
pitcher Tyler Ware, living in their busy household, which also
includes their two grown daughters, a son-in-law and two
grandchildren (ages 4 and 1)-plus their dogs Rocky and
"We've been used to the house being busy," Eric says. "Now
as we're getting a little older and the kids are starting to move
away, it reminds us of our whole life and just being filled with
stuff to do."
Most minor league teams in the Chicago area recruit local
families to host their players. The Boomers simply ask families to
provide a separate bedroom and bathroom for the player. Other
chores, like cooking and laundry, fall to the player.
The Weeches' players always have been "really capable" at
taking care of those things, so Tammy and Eric see their role as
being parent figures, providing a place of respite from the
sometimes-crazy world of professional sports.
"We're trying to give them a sense of normalcy," Eric
says. "They can come here to a safe haven and get some normalcy. If
they just want to play PlayStation, they can play PlayStation.
Whatever the dynamics are to keep their sanity."
It also sometimes involves providing support and
encouragement-especially when a player's had a bad game or gets
traded or cut from the team, which frequently happens at the minor
The Weeches have stayed in touch with many of their past
"You develop a relationship," Eric says. "It's not, `your
tenure here is done, see ya later.' If we bond with you, you're
part of the family."
It helps that they say they've only had great ballplayers
so far-respectful adults who enjoy being part of family
"They're good role models," Eric says. "A family with
younger kids can see someone who's going for their dream... They're
doing a great thing for someone who's up and coming"
Most hosting gigs come with season tickets, so baseball
fanatic families can enjoy highly interactive, lively games, plus
the thrill of seeing someone you know out on the field. But the
Weeches say the intangible perks outweigh any number of game
"You're proud of what they've accomplished and you hope
for nothing but the best," Eric says. "It's nice to see that you
can be a part of someone's journey."
Elizabeth Diffin is the senior editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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