It’s finally here….Opening Day!

Well we have arrived to the day that every baseball player looks forward to since last season ended: Opening Day.  This is on of the most exciting days of season for not only the players, managers and coaches, but also fans, family and front office staff.  It is the beginning of a new journey with a new set of teammates and for most people a new city.

I happen to be back in AA in Jackson, MS.  Surrounded by familiar faces in the stands and still as close to home as I will get, it is bittersweet to be back.  We begin our defense of the Southern League championship today, and we hope to get off to a better start than last year’s 6-20 April.

Our team is loaded with talent from Myrtle Beach’s 2008 team that won the most games in Minor League Baseball.  Gorkys Hernandez will leadoff for us, I think, and he is electric.  The guy can flat out play.  I’ve never played with him before, but the comparisons to Jordan Shafer are fair.  They are similar in a lot of ways.  Brandon Hicks will be our SS and we are all looking forward to see what he can do in a full season of AA baseball.  Travis Jones will play 2B and he adds another power bat in the lineup.  It’s also nice to have another guy on the team that isn’t a giant (he is 5’9″ like me).  Willie Cabrera will man RF tonight.  I can’t think of another guy on the team that I’d like to have at the plate with the game on the line than Willie.  He is as clutch as they come.  Eric Campbell is our 3B this season, and he is definitely ready to put the past behind him and focus on what he has to do to be successful on the field.  That bodes well for us because he is one of the purest hitters on the team. 

As for the returners, KK will man 1B and hit cleanup for the Mississippi Braves this year.  He is swinging it well right now, and we are looking for a hot start from him this year.  I will be patrolling LF tonight and more than likely hitting second.  We have a great mix of new guys and returners this season.  There is a buzz around the clubhouse that everyone can feel and we are all ready for tonight.  Johnny Venters will take the bump for us tonight.  The last time he pitched here, he was busy throwing Game 5 of the SLCS.  He dominated then and we are hoping for the same thing tonight.

I remember sneaking away to catch the Rangers Opening Day a couple times in high school.  It’s almost a holiday for any baseball fan.  It’s the start of another chance for your respective team to win it all! The phrase, “Wait til next year” has come to fruition.  It is next year and all those hopes and dreams are hanging in the balance.  It should be an exciting year for all the clubs, and I hope to report a bunch of wins as the season progresses!

Thanks for taking your time to read my Opening Day blog.  Wish us luck. Go Braves!

Three Weeks Later…

Hello again Braves fans.  I’d like to apologize for the lengthy hiatus between blog entries.  It’s been a little hectic on this side of the world.  Minor League games began this week and the AAA team isn’t doing too well.

We all know this time of year is for getting ready to play the next six months, but it’s never any fun losing games.  We are 2-4 so far this spring, but our roster is far from complete.  With pitch counts and guys needing at bats these games are more about preparation than winning.  With that said, our roatation is looking better by the day (unfortunately). 

Tommy Hanson and Jo Jo Reyes got sent down to minor league camp today.  It’s definitely a bittersweet time of year when you start seeing your friends and former teammates come over from big league camp.  All of us on the minor league side were rooting for both of those guys.  We all know it’s only a matter of time til they’re back over there though.

As for me, my swing is feeling pretty good.  The hits aren’t falling as often as I would like, but it’s more important to get ready so that they fall in April.  The position change isn’t much of a change at this point.  I get my early work in at second base and take infield there after my outfield work, but I have yet to play a game there.  I feel like it’s another bullet in my holster and am happy where things are right now.

On an offensive note, Reid Gorecki (OF) is swinging the bat well so far in spring.  He has prbably been the most consistent hitter for us.  Joe Borchard (OF) is also swinging the bat with authority.  Coming off surgery he looks good at the plate right now.  Barbaro Canizares (1B) continues to rake down here.  He seems to be good for a hit a game.  It’s incredible how that guy hits!  The rest of us are up and down.  Nobody is really struggling & no one else is really on fire.  That’s the AAA offensive update. 

Thank you for all your comments.  I will do a better job of responding as the season progresses.  I’m still getting my feet wet with this blog.  I’ll also do my best to be more prompt with my next entry.

On a personal note, the New Mexico Lobos (my alma mater) are ranked 21 in the country!  Great job guys! Go Lobos! 

Spring is in the Air

Well we are almost a full month into spring training and the excitement is still building down here in Orlando, FL.  We are definitely looking forward to a big season from not only the big league club, but our minor league affiliates as well.  With the signing of big names like Garrett Anderson and Tom Glavine, the Braves are poised to get back into the playoffs & it’s pretty cool to be a part of it.

On the minor league front, the second wave of guys rolled in a couple days ago.  It’s nice seeing some new faces after two weeks with the same guys.  It was like Groundhog Day down here for a while!  Everyone is ready to get this season started already, but we are having to remind ourselves that we still have almost another month before that can happen.

Most of us have had the opportunity to go to the big league side and backup in a couple games already and I have to say that it’s an experience.  Every chance we get to go over there is a huge blessing and opportunity to be around those guys and learn as much as possible.

Mini camp was a good time, but it’s nice to see some live action again.  We sent a lot of guys to the WBC, so I want to wish them all good luck.  Minor league games start soon so these posts will definitely be more exciting as the season progresses.  That being said we have a couple guys, myself included, going through the process of learning new positions.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how that goes.

In the mean time feel free to ask any questions.  I’ll get to as many as possible.  Thanks for reading and Go Braves