Baseball billets become family during Regina Red Sox season

This baseball season, Susan Genaille is billeting players from Oklahoma and Texas while they play for the Regina Red Sox.

Susan Genaille is getting used to an American accent in her home

Jesse Baird, on the left, and Tyler Shumpert are both pitchers for the Regina Red Sox. (CBC)

This baseball season, Susan Genaille is billeting players from Oklahoma and Texas while they play for the Regina Red Sox.

Genaille, who has opened her home to players for six seasons now, is getting used to accented voices in her house.

"Over the years, it's been 'Yes, Ma'am,' because they're from the states," Genaille told CBC News. "Most of the time though they either call me Host Mom, Billet Mom or Mom."

Genaille learned about the billet program from one of her daughter's high school teachers, who also coached the Red Sox.

"It's been great," she said. " Our summers are filled. The players that we get are fantastic."

She said one of the best parts is learning about different parts of the world. She has met players from several different states as well as Australia.

One of the players' biggest fans is Genaille grandson, Zehdyn, six, who couldn't wait to meet this season's billets.

"He was waiting at the house for them," Genaille recalled prior to the arrival of Jesse Baird and Tyler Shumpert. "And he kept going back and forth between in the house and out the house looking for them. And when Tyler pulled up first, he was like banging on the window, as if he'd known him before. And he met him at the door and says, 'Do you wanna play catch?'"

Even though the Red Sox keep the players busy, they do find time to show Zehdyn a few pointers.

"I have a little brother myself," Shumpert, 19, who is from Texas, said. "I'll just have fun with him all summer and just show him how to play baseball. And if he needs any help, I'll just help him along."

Even though the billets have been in Regina for only a week, they are already settling in.

"I just feel really welcomed," Baird, 23, from Oklahoma, said, adding Genaille is a gracious host. "She's a good cook. She treats us well.

The Red Sox home opener is set for Sunday afternoon, against the Swift Current Indians.

With files from CBC's Rikkeal Bohmann


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