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Miller Express still seeking billets with season a little over a month away

Team looking for homes for seven players in advance of Western Canadian Baseball League season opener at end of May
Miller Express billetts
The Miller Express honour their host families during their annual Billet Night in 2018.

The Moose Jaw Miller Express find themselves in a rather unusual situation for this time of year.

Normally at this point prior to the start of the Western Canadian Baseball League campaign, the team has things pretty much sorted out when it comes to their roster and finding places for players to live during their two months in the Friendly City.

But with just over a month until their season opener, the Millers are still looking for billets for seven players, a situation billet coordinator Rayleen Eberl hasn’t come across in the past.

“Pre-COVID, people were always ‘yeah, yeah, we'll do it’, but this year has been a struggle for whatever reason,” Eberl said. “I don't know if it's because people have slowed down a bit and are looking to do other things or if it's just because we're still in a pandemic, but there are still quite a few players we need to find places for.”

The process of becoming a billet is relatively easy. Simply reach out to Eberl or any board member and things will be put in motion, beginning with an interview explaining the expectations and such, followed by a home visit before finally being accepted.

Once the process is complete, billets will host their player or players for the two-month WCBL season, acting as essentially the player’s family away from home during their time in Moose Jaw.

And ‘family’ isn’t an exaggeration.

“We have so many families that have such positive relationships with their billets, they become really, really close,” Eberl said. “A lot of the players stay in contact with their billet families, too, which is always nice to see.”

That closeness can be seen during the team’s annual Billet Night, with the season-ending event often an emotional experience for both players and their families -- and especially if you have youngsters, with many a billet lauding the mentorship role the players took with their kids. 

All in all, it’s not much different than hosting a WHL or AAA Warriors hockey player, outside of the fact the Miller Express are college-age and as a result quite a bit more independent.

“They’re all older guys, and for the most part they can cook for themselves and things like that, so it's not a huge commitment,” Eberl said. “Plus they’re away most of the time, either at the park or on the road, four to seven days of the week they’ll be gone because of their heavy schedule.”

For more information on the Miller Express and the WCBL, visit their website at www.mjmillerexpress.com, and for more on becoming a billet, contact Eberl at (306) 630-8459 or by email at eberlrayleen10@gmail.com.

The Moose Jaw Miller Express open their 2022 campaign on Friday, May 27 when they host the Medicine Hat Mavericks at Ross Wells Park.