By Griffin Epstein

After eight years of playing minor league baseball Brett Sullivan finally stepped onto the field at Petco Park as a San Diego Padre reaching his ultimate dream of making the big leagues.

In his VIP box of guests were some of the most important people in his life. His parents and his Power host family. 

“We were there for his debut … and we went in the special elevator and went down to the tunnel and it was really cool he gave me a big hug,” his host dad Eric Theiss said. “And then we went to the hotel afterwards and hung out and I had a beer with him.”

Eric and Dawn Theiss along with two of their children will always remember that day in April 2023. A magical night that would have not been possible without their decision to become a host family for Power players.

Host families have been the backbone of the Palm Springs Power for the last twenty years. They provide a safe and welcoming home in the desert for Power players without any financial or transportation responsibilities.

“We live in a country that is very divided,” Connie Golds said. “But I think we have more in common than we think we do. Opening your homes to people from other parts of the country, it’s a good thing to do.”

Golds has been a host family for both the Power and California Winter League since 2023. She’s housed players and interns both male and female. Golds lives with her dog and cat in La Quinta. Over the last two years she’s welcomed new members into her family.

In the summer of 2023 she housed Power players Kyle Mosley and Domenic Popa. After a summer of cheering on the players at the ballpark she was delighted in November to receive a cooking bouquet for Thanksgiving from the players. 

“It was most unexpected, and I just thought that was the sweetest thing,” Golds said. “And because they’re very nice kids from good families.”

One of the longest serving Power host families is Jeff Hermann and his husband Rich. Since 2013 they have brought players into their home in Cathedral City. 

Power pitcher Kyle Crawford was the very first player Jeff and Rich hosted. 

“Kyle ended up being the witness at our [wedding] ceremony that summer,” Hermann said. “Through baseball, that’s probably one of the biggest, neatest memories we have.”

Crawford has also served as the family’s financial advisor for the last decade. 

“The most rewarding [thing] is that you develop these relationships that can last, in kind of this organic way,” Hermann said. “And what is positive for me is that it’s allowed me to stay connected with a sport that I grew up playing and loving.”

Meaningful lasting relationships are a common theme in conversations with Power host families. The Thiess family have attended a birthday party in Las Vegas and two weddings for Power players they have hosted. 

The three Theiss children also made lasting memories with Power players by their side for numerous summers. 

“[My kids] were definitely inspired by seeing the college kids,” Theiss said. [The Power players] hung out with them at the house and gave them their batting gloves and balls. It is definitely something that they will have as a lifelong memory.”

Welcoming a stranger into your home can still be awkward but Hermann finds the experience enriching every summer. 

“I would tell [fans] to take the leap because it’s really quite rewarding,” Hermann said. “The kids are great. It’s a unique experience on both sides because for us, again, we had no kids. So in a way, it was sort of like they were our kids, they just became part of the family for those six to eight weeks.”

Theiss also has nothing but praise for every Power player he’s brought into his home. 

“You won’t regret it, we never had a disrespectful kid,” Theiss said. “We had nothing but great memories throughout the years.” 

The Theiss children are all grown up now but photos of them with Power players remain on the family’s fridge. Memories never to be forgotten.