Imagine packing up a pick up truck with a couple bags of clothes, driving over 24-hours from South Dakota to Florida, to try out for a Minor League Baseball team, not knowing whether you would have to turn around if you did not make the team. For one Frederick Keys player, that was a reality.
Tanner Chleborad took his shot at making a professional baseball team.
“It’s nothing new, you don’t know what’s going to happen during a game, you don’t know if you’re going to start in a game, so not knowing what team you’re on or if you’re going to make a team, it’s just like another challenge,” Tanner said.
Tanner made the Frederick Keys roster back in March, but then a new challenge presents itself; where would he stay?
“The team usually puts together a list of people who are willing to take in players, which is really nice,” Tanner said. “It helps us out a lot.”
So in comes Karen Foust and her husband. They are long time season ticket holders who wanted to find a way to support the Keys uniquely.
“It’s like with our own biological children,” Karen said. “You do what you need to do and we’ll provide the baseline and that’s why we got involved.”
Foust took in Tanner and has made him feel right at home by giving him a room, a place to relax and access to her fridge and pantry.
“It’s kind of my time to just wind down,” Tanner said. “I do my own thing, which for a baseball player is kind of hard to do when you’re with 35 other guys for 142 days.”
Tanner’s own mother, who was visiting Labor Day weekend, says it is a relief to know her son is in good hands.
“He gets to come home and be with mom, home mom, and then comes back and can be with host mom,” said Tanner’s mom, Amy Chleborad. “And like I’ve said, if he’s not here, I can only hope and pray that he finds another host family that is the same caliber as this one.”
While Tanner can always get called up and have to move out of his baseball “Fouster” home, for now, he has a place to call home.
Tanner and the Frederick Keys wrap up their season with one last game on Monday and then he’ll drive back to South Dakota for the off season.