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SUMMER SLUGGERS: Pit Spitters Host Family Knows All About Lending a Helping Hand

Being a Host Family

Bill and Jennifer Parker along with their 13-year-old daughter Brooke and 11-year-old son Bryce have hosted a Pit Spitter the last four seasons.

“I’ve been involved with baseball for many years as a minor league umpire,” said Bill. “I talked to Jennifer and said, ‘hey, how about we host a baseball player? You know, kind of give the kids a role model to look up to’.”

“I was very hesitant to have a college aged kid in our house,” said Jennifer. “But they they’ve been great and very respectful and the kids love having them every year. It’s a lot of fun.”


Not only has the Parker family given Pit Spitters a place to live, but they have also created a lifelong relationship with the players.

“Josh [Rebandt] does a great job of the character of the players that he brings in,” said Bill. “We’ve kept in contact with them like even this past month while they’re playing for the Big Ten Tournament. They’ve become friends now of the family.”

When the players have the time, they will join the Parker family on their boat or explore Traverse City with them. Bryce’s favorite memory is tubing over the big waves with the players.

When it comes to the logistics, the family fills out an application and they are paired with a player.


The host family will know which player is staying with them about two weeks in advance and are given a food list prior to the player’s arrival. Jennifer stated that the requests can be interesting and vary each year.

“Some of the players are super into nutrition so they want kale shakes and fruit smoothies,” said Jennifer. “Then other ones are like, ‘I’ll just have goldfish and Cheez-Its’ so it’s just one extreme to the other. It’s kind of interesting just to see their personality before they even get here.”

Serving the Community

Bill Parker is the fire chief at the Blair Township Fire Department. He started his career 26 years ago and spent 17 of them in the Traverse City area.

“Whether it is helping those coming in to stay with us from the Pit Spitters or here in the community that call at their worst time,” said Bill. “Just being able to help others is something I really enjoy.”


He says his most rewarding part of the job is coming to find how much of an impact he made while helping those who are in an urgent need.

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