Foster families, a boon for players like the Angels’ Carlos Estévez, are falling by the wayside

Carlos Estévez was 20 years old when the Rockies organization sent him to Grand Junction, Colo.

This was in 2013 and Estévez, now a fan-favorite Angels closer with 12 saves, was navigating the early years of his pro career at the time. He spent the previous two years in the Dominican Summer League, then was sent to Tri-City, formerly the Rockies’ affiliate, but was there for a few days before being traded to Colorado.

“I just showed up,” Estévez recalled. “I didn’t have a host family, I didn’t have (housing). But one of my teammates told me ‘they’re looking for someone to be with them’. And I said, ‘well, I guess that’s where I’m going.'”

The same day Estévez arrived in Grand Junction, he introduced Stephanie to Bruce Hagen and Josh Hays, their youngest child (they also have a daughter, who was away at college at the time). Estévez only spent about a year with the Hagens, but he formed such a strong bond with them that when he was ready to make his major league debut in 2016 in Denver, a four-hour drive from Grand Junction, he called to make sure. be there

“Yes, of course we are coming. When is it?’” Stephanie recalled the conversation. “‘Today? OK.’ He says, ‘I’ll have tickets for you.’” The Hagens are looking forward to seeing Estévez again this season, when he and the Angels travel to Colorado for a series in June.

Forming this type of connection between a player and a fan was essentially meant to be the best part of the host family program, providing a home for players who couldn’t afford their own hotel room or apartment away from home.

Carlos Estévez, left, and Stephanie Hagen. Estévez spent about a year living with the Hagen family in Grand Junction, Colo., while playing in the Rockies’ farm system.

(Stephanie Hagen)

The minor league players were unionized under the Major League Baseball Players Assn. they ratified their first collective agreement with umbrella and team owners in March, including guaranteed housing and salary increases. With that new CBA, foster families are not allowed.

“While the players sincerely appreciate the many fans who welcomed the players into their homes, they are excited about the first minor league CBA this spring, including improvements to salary and housing policies,” the players’ union said in a statement. .

The foster family program was not a perfect system. Estévez’s experience was not the same for every minor leaguer across the country. Estévez was like family to the Hagens, who took him wherever he needed to go or let him use the family car when they couldn’t.

Carlos Estévez, left, smiles for a photo with Josh Hays during a minor league game.

Carlos Estévez, left, smiles for a photo with Josh Hays during a minor league game.

(Stephanie Hagen)

“They really helped a lot,” recalls Estévez. “As soon as I got there they said: ‘Hey, whatever you need, tell us…’… If I didn’t have a good comfort level, I don’t know how I would have done it. beginner ball And I did very well.”

Estévez, who is from the Dominican Republic, also said living with Hagen gave her mother peace of mind, knowing she was in a good place despite being so far from home.

The minor league baseball host families were volunteers and received season tickets or discounted tickets and merchandise from the minor league team. The basic requirements for hosting previously specified that families simply had a place for players to sleep, with no rules regarding living conditions.

The Hagens began hosting players in 2011 with Grand Junction before the team lost its Rockies affiliation after the 2019 season when MLB restructured the minor leagues. They said they became a host family because of the opportunity for their son to meet people from different countries and cultures. They remained a foster family with Grand Junction when it transitioned to an independent league not subject to the new CBA.

But Stephanie recalled home inspections that began in 2013 after a report that a player with another family spent a season living in the kitchen.

“They didn’t screen people hard enough and see some problems,” Stephanie said.

Despite the positive experience for Hagens and Estévez, they are not surprised that the program is being phased out.

The Rockies' Carlos Estevez, right, and Nick Hundley won in 2016, the year Estevez made his MLB debut.

The Rockies’ Carlos Estévez, right, and Nick Hundley in a 7-3 win over the Giants in 2016, the year Estévez made his MLB debut.

(Ben Margot/Associated Press)

“He can go anywhere,” Estévez said. “Some boys who had a host family (for example), didn’t have a car and the house was far away. … Now that the teams are paying for (housing), it will be fine.

“But we’re going to miss that (opportunity) to bring people closer.”

Source link

Related posts

The Galaxy has finally won, but the boycott and the fallout from the cheating scandal remain a problem


This time Russia’s target is Izim


Chris Taylor delivers the muscle, Dustin Maye in the Dodgers’ win over the Padres


Leave a Comment