Connie Mack foster families still a need ahead of World Series

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — As the countdown continues towards opening day of the Connie Mack World Series, the need for foster families grows stronger for out-of-state players.

The CMWS, which opens with on-field play July 21, is not only a massive event for sports fans in and around San Juan County, but it also provides the opportunities for families in the community to open their homes to participants from across the nation.

"It's a really special opportunity for families to connect with the players, and for the players, it takes a lot of the pressure off them knowing they're going to be taken care of during their time here," said Kacy Snyder, who has been serving as chairperson for the CMWS foster families committee for nearly five years.

The responsibility of the host family is to ensure reliable transportation for players to and from games, as well as team and tournament events. The families also welcome the players into their homes for the duration of their stay.

Evan Whiteaker of the Midland (OH) Baseball Team prepares to deliver a pitch in the first inning of their pool play game, Saturday, July 24, 2021, against the Albuquerque Baseball Academy in the Connie Mack World Series.

The tradition of the foster families has been an integral part of the tournament since it began here in 1965. Families around San Juan County have been hosting players for as long as 20 years in a row.

"Every year, we find new people anxious and wanting to be a part of the foster families," Snyder said. "Some families host as many as five kids during one tournament."

With City League action already underway, there are currently about 75 foster families across San Juan County which have signed on to host players for the upcoming World Series. But there is definitely room for more.

"If we can get up to 100 families, I'd personally be thrilled," Snyder said. 

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Because of the current economic situation and rising costs on things like fuel, food and essentials, the CMWS committee is offering a $250 financial incentive for foster families this summer.

"The cost of everything has just gone up so much, so that stipend really helps," said Farmington's Ben Lyons, who along with his wife Marohn, have been hosting players in the tournament for the past couple years. "As a host family, you take on all those financial responsibilities for these kids and it will definitely help a bit.

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Lyons has enjoyed the experience of being a host family for the World Series, as it has provided his family the chance to build lasting relationships even beyond the tournament.

"We just went to the wedding of a player we hosted a couple years ago, and another who came back to visit during their spring break," Lyons said. "It's more than just inviting strangers into your house for a week, they really do become lifelong friends."  

SoCal Renegades Jordan Kang on his way to third base and eventually scoring in a 9-run fifth inning against the South Troy Dodgers in pool play action for the Connie Mack World Series on Friday, July 23, 2021 at Ricketts Park.

There are still openings available for those interested in becoming a foster family for the World Series. Snyder said that in years past, some families have come into the program at the last minute.

"It's an ever-changing puzzle, that's for sure," Snyder said. "But the more families we can get, the better for the tournament and everyone involved." 

For those interested in becoming a Connie Mack World Series foster family, contact Snyder via email at conniemackfamilies@live.com or by calling 505-327-3120.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.