Long trips across the country to compete in high profile tournaments are the staple of traveling baseball teams. With tournaments like the Connie Mack World Series, which lasts about two weeks, players are expected to stay much longer than just a weekend and have to deal with finding short-term housing.
Fortunately for many of these teams, foster families take the players in during the tournaments and do everything they can to make the visiting athletes feel comfortable while far away from home.
Farmington resident Chad Silseth and his family are one of these foster families. Silseth has been hosting players at the Connie Mack World Series for 15 years. What exactly does a foster parent do for a bunch of elite high school baseball players?
"You are their mom and dad for the whole week," Chad Silseth said. "You feed them, make sure their clothes are washed, get them to the field, get them to practice. They are your kid for a week or week and a half. They're family and we take care of them."
Chad Silseth's son, Piedra Vista graduate and Farmington resident Chase Silseth, has grown up with ballplayers living with his family each of those summers. The Connie Mack World Series has been a part of his life from early childhood, as he spent summer as a batboy before being offered the chance to play for the Midland Redskins from Ohio. This is his third year playing with the ballclub — and he's enjoyed the whole experience.
"Sharing homes with these boys is fun all summer," Chase Silseth said. "It may be weird for players who are doing this for the first time, but we go to foster families all summer in Cincinnati and when we come here we're used to it. Once you get here, it's a blast."
For Chase Silseth, it's the time he gets to spend with these players away from the ballpark that he remembers best. After all, not many people can say they've been able to talk smack to a future MLB All-Star who is sitting on the couch right next to him after destroying them in a few rounds of video games.
"Keeping the players I've kept is my favorite memory," Chase Silseth said. "(Current MLB players) Eric Hosmer, Matt Harvey and Cameron Maybin have all stayed at my house. It's just awesome to be able to say I played PlayStation against Maybin and Hosmer. I can say I beat them."
Ethan Bosacker is one of those players hoping to make it to the MLB. A Minnesota resident, Bosacker will play for Xavier University next season and has enjoyed his first year with Midland.
"It's amazing to meet new people, especially my buddy's family and hanging out with them every day," Bosacker said. "It's an awesome experience. It's definitely an adjustment, but they're definitely making it fun for me."
Bosacker added that while he's in New Mexico he's looking forward to an evening off when he can sample the Hatch green chile New Mexico is known for.
Matthew Asher can be reached at 575-628-5524, email@example.com or @Caveman_Masher on Twitter.
Past Connie Mack coverage:
Tuesday: Connie Mack World Series scores
Monday: Connie Mack World Series scores
Sunday: Connie Mack World Series scores