The Miami Marlins minor league system offers fans a chance to see stars of tomorrow while experiencing a unique way to watch a baseball game.
Thursday night the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Miami Marlins Double-A Minor League affiliate opened their 2019 Southern League season by hosting the Jackson Generals. The outcome was not what the ballclub or the fans in attendance at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville wanted with a 5-0 loss.
But for this fan, the experience was more important than the outcome. Minor League baseball is something every fan should take in at least once in their lifetime. The Jumbo Shrimp offer “Affordable Family Fun” in an atmosphere that is laid back and unrushed. You can thank Ken Babby, the owner of the team and his staff for helping to continue the traditions of years past here in our city, where the likes of Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, and Randy Johnson all made history at one time or another.
If the confines of Peter Bragan Field could talk, they would tell you and a relationship with Minor League baseball and the Marlins that has brought Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich. J.T. Realmuto and for a brief encounter, Jose Fernandez from the home team’s dugout.
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While winning has not been as consistent as the Double-A affiliate would like, having watched players before they were a “big deal” means something to this community.
I’ve personally had the opportunity to see current Marlins Brian Anderson, Pablo Lopez, Tayron Guerrero, and Drew Steckenrider in the four years I have been covering this organization professionally. Coming to the ballpark is an honor and treat, like a child who gets his first glimpse of the field and the smell of the fresh cut grass.
For me, the fan not the writer, the baseball field is a hallowed place for peace and comfort. It links generations because of the sports everlasting union.
My father would attend games at this ballpark when was a child. And now, I pass that along to my family.
The Jumbo Shrimp, like the Marlins, have time to grow and develop. The Minor League system is better and stronger than it has been in years. Fans can thank Derek Jeter and the parent club’s front office for that.
Tomorrow is a new day and there is still plenty of baseball to be played. I cannot wait to get back to the ballpark. Not because it’s my job, but rather because it still gives me the same feeling I did as a child. It’s something I cannot explain. It’s something everyone should experience for themselves.