Q&A: Jennifer Pendergraft, Assistant GM of the Visalia Rawhides

10 05 2011

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest hardships for minor leaguers is finances. This especially holds true for lower-level players, who earn as little as $850/month in their first season in professional baseball.

One of the ways that players look to save money is via host families. Several minor league teams offer players the chance to stay with a local family, who volunteer to house/feed the player for the season.

I had the chance to talk to Jennifer Pendergraft, who is the assistant general manager of the Class-A Visalia Rawhides, to learn more about how host families work. Jennifer took over the Rawhides’ host family program when she came aboard in 2008, and since then it has grown to about ten families (who host about fifteen players/coaches per season on average).

Why would a player want to opt into a host-family program (versus, say, splitting the cost of an apartment with teammates)?

Several reasons: 1) The season only lasts a little over 5 months, 5.5 if you make the playoffs, and almost all renting companies will take no less than a 6 month lease.  2) These guys don’t know how long they will be in town for, so they’re all leery about putting their name on a lease without being guaranteed roommates the entire time.  3) Many of these guys do not have cars.  4) None of these guys bring furniture or housing basics with them when they come, so that all needs to be rented.  5) Splitting utilities with any roommate is always a lot harder than it sounds.  6) After all that is accomplished, the team is on the road half of the season, so they don’t even get to enjoy their “home” the entire time. Read the rest of this entry »