Monday, April 02, 2007

On rubber ducks and baseball

Today is the true opening day in Major League Baseball (one game on Sunday doesn't count), which means minor league opening day isn't far away – Thursday to be exact.

The Dugout has always found minor league opening day be like that duck pond game at traveling carnivals, where you pick a duck and get the prize that’s on the bottom of the duck. You are guaranteed a prize, you just don’t know how good it’s going to be.

Fans of Major League Baseball have a pretty good idea of who's going to be on their teams well before opening day. That's not the case with minor league fans. Take the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League.

The Big League Marlins' housecleaning last season left Jupiter unsure of its opening day lineup until the days prior to the opener. The young, mostly unrecognizable roster didn't fare well. The personalities never seemed to click and the team failed to captivate the fan base.

What a difference an off-season makes. The Hammerheads have yet to announce their roster, but it appears it will boast five pitchers drafted in the first round and another early second-rounder. One of those aces, Chris Volstad, is a hometown kid, which should help build the fan base.

So relax and enjoy today's MLB openers. And get ready for the carnival to start this weekend.

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