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!