Bucks need housing as baseball season looms

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Before you know it there will be baseball back at Fiske Field this summer and the Bucks are looking for help from the community.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Before you know it  baseball action will be back at Fiske Field this summer. The Bucks are looking for help from the community.

After a brutal winter, it’s likely most Islanders are looking forward to the boys of summer — those Shelter Island Bucks returning to Fiske Field for a third successive year. But one of those responsible for bringing collegiate baseball to Shelter Island, Dave Gurney, is reaching out again to the community because he needs housing for players and coaches.

He has commitments to house 10 people, but needs 26 to cover both players and coaches.

He has so far reached out to about half of those who have opened their homes to the team in the past and will be reaching out to the others. But he knows that some who have housed the Bucks for two years need a respite and others, as happened last year, have summer plans that would prohibit their repeating as hosts this year, he said.

It’s a totally new coaching staff for the Bucks this summer and in the hiring process, organizers let the new coaches know that they “need to be on top” of the young college-age players.

“We’re a tight community” that won’t abide negative behavior from players, he said. The first year the Bucks were here, one player was sent home for violating the rules.

Hosts often become more involved with players, but their basic obligation is to provide a bedroom, some space in the refrigerator for a player to store some food and the ability for players to wash their uniforms. They don’t have to provide transportation for players, Mr. Gurney said.

In the past two seasons, hosts have generally provided some meals and usually formed a bond with players that has transcended the baseball season.

The Bucks, in return for Island hospitality, not only provide entertainment by playing at Fiske Field, but hold various clinics to work with local students on their baseball skills. And more than one host family has been grateful for a Bucks player taking the time to work with their own budding baseball player on a one-on-one basis.

If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of hosting a Bucks player or two this year, call Mr. Gurney at 433-1502.

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