Story by Chris Graham
Pete VandenBout admits to being a “little nervous” when he showed up to play baseball in Waynesboro a couple of years ago, not so much because of the baseball, but because he didn’t know the first thing about the family that was going to put him up for the summer.
“Right off the bat, we had a big barbecue cookout the first day everyone got there, and I could tell right when I met them that they were really nice people, and everything was probably going to be just fine,” said VandenBout, now a senior at West Virginia Tech, who ended up coming back for a second season with the Waynesboro Generals, and the McDevitts, in 2008.
“The boys part of our family. Just about as soon as they walk into the door, they become part of our family,” said Beth Tipton, who with her husband Scott McDevitt has hosted Generals players for 10 years running, and for the past several years has been in charge of finding local housing for the entire 28-man Generals roster.
It’s a summer-league tradition that teams like the Generals in leagues like the Valley League and the Cape Cod League up in Massachusetts provide housing for the college players who spend their summers away from home working on their games and trying to attract the attention of Major League scouts.
“A bed, a bathroom and access to laundry” is all that is required of host families, Tipton said, though many families, the McDevitts included, take things a step or two beyond what is expected of them.
“Steak dinners were a big thing” at the McDevitt house the last two summers, VandenBout said.
“We’re definitely part of the family. We got pretty close. We hung out with the family, played around with the kids,” VandenBout said.
The McDevitts make it a point to attend as many Generals games as possible, rarely missing a home game and going on some of the road trips. They also keep up with their boys when they get back to school, setting aside weekends every spring to see their college games.
“We probably remember them more than they remember us,” Tipton said, “but they all send pictures and posters back, and we have a little contest going to see who has the biggest picture on the wall.”
Host a General
Contact Beth Tipton at email@example.com for more information on hosting Waynesboro Generals players for the summer.
– Story by Chris Graham