The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Newport is now in the rearview mirror which means the Newport Gulls are less than three months from another season of baseball at Historic Cardines Field. A major aspect of season planning is recruiting Host Families and volunteers for the team’s Grounds Crew.
“Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Gulls organization”, said the team’s only year-round employee Michael Falcone who serves as the Gulls Director of Baseball Operations. “It would be impossible to operate without Host Families, Volunteers, and College Interns”, Falcone continued.
Beginning on June 6, the Gulls embark on their 22nd Season with an away game against the Mystic Schooners. Newport opens at home the following night against the Bristol Blues. However, there is still a lot to be done before the Gulls take the field; including building a Grounds Crew and adding quite a few Host Families to the group already committed to hosting.
Newport’s roster consists of “The Major League Stars of Tomorrow”. Collegiate Student-Athletes from the nation’s top colleges and universities play a 44-game season as they chase their dreams of becoming Major League Baseball Players. These players live with local families during their time with the team.
Players will arrive in Newport the first week of June and depart after the playoffs wrap up at the beginning of August. “The guys are very rarely home,” Falcone said. “We are so grateful for our host families opening their homes and want to respect the family’s space, so although there is plenty of time to bond on off days, the players are constantly on the move and not playing video games on the couch while you are getting ready for work.”
In addition to playing games six days per week, players conduct an elementary school reading program, and a middle school health and wellness program, provide instruction at a youth summer camp and make other community appearances, consuming much of their free time.
Home Games are played at Historic Cardines Field in the heart of Newport. One of America’s Oldest Baseball Stadiums, the City of Newport owns and operates the facility. However, after the City gets the field ready for the Gulls, the team has its own Grounds Crew to get the diamond game-ready after pregame batting practice and warmups. The Crew also touches up the playing surface during the 7th Inning Stretch.
Newport is also seeking individuals interested in volunteering their time at the ballpark this summer. Games are played on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. The first pitch is at 6:35 PM and gates open at 5:00 PM. Grounds Crew members are asked to arrive just prior to 5:00 PM.
Falcone noted, “We run into the same scenario for the Host Families as we do with the Grounds Crew. There is always attrition. Folks move out of town, start new jobs, and other reasons make them unable to help in the capacity they have in the past. We are forever grateful for their assistance but need to fill the voids to operate.”
Post-game meals after all 44 games, laundering services for their uniforms, and transportation to each game are provided to players by the Gulls. Most players have cars, but the team sets up a carpool system for those who don’t, so Host Families do not have to provide rides for their player(s).
Being a part of the Gulls Family as a Host Family or Volunteer makes for a special summer. The Gulls encourage all who are interested in helping in either capacity to contact Michael Falcone at email@example.com, or by calling 516-729-3735.