TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - UPDATE: The Tucson Saguaros say they had great response after this story ran on Monday, May 16, and that all the players have found host families.
Baseball is back in the Old Pueblo, but the players need a place to hang their hats when they're not wearing them at the field.
The Tucson Saguaros, part of the Pecos League, play their home opener at Kino Sports Complex on Thursday, May 19. Before then, several hopefuls will be cut, and most of the remaining roster will need to connect with a host family.
The Hupp family has already stepped up to the plate. They have their own Saguaro staying at their east-side home. They met Mike Morris, a utility player for the team, on Friday, May 13.
He said the Hupps are the fifth host family he's lived with since he started playing ball professionally.
"I love it," he said. "I love being here. They've taken real good care of me, they feed me, they've just been great people for me."
And the Hupps hope the Saguaros will be great for Tucson. Namhee Hupp said she was interested in hosting a player because it helped her feel more connected to the community. It didn't take much to convince the rest of her family.
"My husband and son they love sports," she said.
Her sun, Chris, is already an accomplished tennis player. Now that there's a pro athlete in the house, Chris wants to learn a new sport.
"I'm very interested in playing baseball, figuring out how to play it, the statistics to it," he said. "It's cool having a baseball player here."
The Hupp family will enjoy discounts on tickets and merchandise, but most importantly, they'll provide shelter and serve as a home away from home for a professional baseball player.
The Pecos League doesn't pay much to players, but it offers them a chance to keep their dreams alive of playing in the big leagues. Morris said the paycheck isn't even a second thought.
"I keep the dream alive, you know, all of our goals is to make it to the major league," he said. "It's like the coolest job ever."
Morris and the rest of the Saguaros will be clocking into work plenty this summer with a full schedule of games across the southwest United States.
Anyone interested in hosting a player or two should contact the program coordinator at 575-491-3216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found on the Tucson Saguaros website.