Bucks ready to play ball in 2023: Need housing for players
Housing, housing, housing.
It’s the annual challenge for team managers of the Shelter Island Bucks and this year has been no exception. That’s the assessment of General Manager Brian Cass.
The team still needs two beds for June and five for July, but add to that three more because three Islanders who are housing Bucks in July won’t be available to continue to host them beginning July 20.
The Bucks season starts June 16 with a game against the North Fork Osprey’s at Cochran Park in Southold. The home opener at Fiske Field will be played against the South Shore Clippers on June 23. The Bucks are due to end their regular season against the Clippers on July 23. But if the team makes the playoffs, players could need housing for another two weeks.
Throughout the years, hosts have offered glowing reviews of their experience, The late Carol Galligan wrote a column in the Reporter in 2019 noting she had hosted Bucks since the team joined the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League in 2012.
“First of all, it’s fun,” Ms. Galligan wrote. Host families receive a small stipend for helping out and aren’t required to provide anything more than a bed, access to a washing machine for the players and room in the refrigerator to store their food.
It’s not about the money, but the involvement with community and connection with players that makes the experience satisfying, hosts have said. Hoot and Joanne Sherman, who have hosted for many years, have been quick to endorse the experience, noting that they have some long-term relationships with the players.
Although many hosts invite Bucks to join family meals when the players are around, that’s not required. Many meals are hosted by others for the team and on off days, team members often go with one another for meals.
Nor do host families need to provide transportation since many players arrive with their own vehicles and share rides with their teammates.
Players know the rules and what’s expected in terms of their behavior. Even the best of players aren’t guaranteed they will last the season if they break rules. It has happened in rare cases, but when necessary, action by team managers has always been swift.
The Bucks give back to the community in many ways, volunteering with local organizations and running clinics for young players who want to learn the best techniques to improve their own games.
There are also opportunities for Island youths as bat boys or girls.
They have to be at least 10 years old as of March 31, and covered by their parents’ insurance, Mr. Cass said. They need to wear shoes, not flip flops or sandals, have their own batting helmets and be prepared to work, he said. Responsibilities include stocking home and visitor dugouts with water jugs and cups; cleaning out dugouts after games; and other tasks as needed.
They must be able to work at least 75% of home games.
In return, they get tips from Bucks players and will have a wonderful summer experience, Mr. Cass said.
Parents with children interested in taking these roles can reach a member of the management team. Their contact information is listed below.
Once again, the Shelter Island Lions Club will be manning the food stand at Fiske Field and this year will be handling concessions as well. There are a number of new items that will be for sale — new hats, mugs and canvas bags, Mr. Cass said.
The schedule provides for 18 home games and 18 away games in the regular season.
The schedule appears on the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League website at: hamptonsbaseball.org.
If you have space and are willing to share it with a Buck, please contact a member of the management team and discuss the possibility. David Austin is at 415-613-1991, or email him at [email protected]. Frank Vecchio is at 516-317-8687, or f[email protected]. Mr. Cass is at 631-445-0084, or [email protected].