Quick question – what is a stomper?

Did you answer someone who crushes grapes or perhaps one of the performers from the Transcendence Theater Company?

Let me tell you what I think of when I hear “stomper.” I think of baseball. A Stomper is a member of Sonoma’s independent professional baseball team, the Sonoma Stompers.

I know what a Stomper is because I am a proud host family to two of the players. I am also a fan of independent baseball, having been a season ticket holder of the Sonoma County Crushers. I took a leap as a host family, as there was an unfulfilled need for housing these players. I opened my house to host and ended up with two players.

My two players are not “just” baseball players, they are working toward making it to “the bigs.” They have chosen the path of independent baseball as their opportunity to play, and perhaps be seen by a scout. I won’t take up words explaining what a host family is expected to provide a Stomper player, but it is very little.

I wanted to explain what this means to me on a personal level. I have new-found friendships, not only with the players I am hosting, but all the team members. I was a fast-pitch softball player for more than 25 years and have always been passionate about the sport.

This opportunity to host has given me an insight into what it takes to make it to Major League Baseball – the struggles the players have had to overcome, dealing with injuries, being let go, traveling to different cities or even different countries. Their dedication is immeasurable and their hearts are driven to succeed.

I make it a point to go to every home game, as I know the players look into the stands. Most are looking for a scout, but then they see the familiar face of a fan and settle in to play baseball.

One last question – now do you know what a Stomper is?

Independent baseball only succeeds if the fans come out to support their hometown team. There is only one more six-game home stand and I know the players will be looking into the stands. Come on out and see why independent baseball has stolen my heart. One game, that’s all I ask. Go Stompers.

• • •

Elizabeth MacDonald is a resident of Sonoma.