After three days of preparation, the Jamestown Jammers will open the 2013 New York-Penn League season tonight at 7:05 at Mahoning Valley.
It is the opener of a three-game series against the Scrappers.
The Jammers, now a Pittsburgh Pirates' affiliate, will open their home season on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at Diethrick Park against the Williamsport Crosscutters.
Jamestown Jammers first baseman Jordan Steranka fields a grounder during the team’s last workout on Sunday night at Diethrick Park before it opens the New York-Penn League season tonight at Mahoning Valley.
P-J photos by Jim Riggs
Manager Dave Turgeon would not announce the positional line up for tonight's game, but the starting pitcher will be Isaac Sanchez, a right-hander who was 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in the Gulf Coast League last year. Then was called up to the State College Spikes of the NY-P League and was 0-2.
Tuesday night's starter will be right-hander Colten Brewer, who was the Pirates' fourth-round pick in 2011. He was 1-3 with a 3.24 ERA in the Gulf Coast League last season.
The remainder of the rotation will be announced later.
The Jammers held their final workout on Sunday night and it was the third since the team arrived on Thursday afternoon. When asked if three days of preparation was enough, Turgeon said, ''You never get everything you want done. For the guys that were with me in extended (spring training) it's probably the right amount. For the guys (draft choices) that probably haven't done much in two or three weeks, they probably need a good six or seven days. They're going to be sore on opening night. They were home working out, but they weren't playing. And the work volume is a lot higher here. It's practice daily on top of a game.''
Turgeon, who managed the Pirates affiliate in State College last season, is extremely pleased to be at Diethrick Park in Jamestown.
''I'm very happy that we're in Jamestown,'' he said. ''I like the facility very much. You can argue that surface is as good as any in the league. I like the bare facilities outside of the playing surface. The focus is about the work, not a lot of distractions.''
He continued, ''Personally, my staff and I are very happy we're in Jamestown. I think our guys coming from the higher-level D1 programs, they're going to eventually embrace it as we do. Not only do we love this place and enjoy this place, but this is a home-field advantage. As other teams come in here and they look at the conditions and may think otherwise, I think that works as a psychological advantage to our club.''
Unlike many of the newer stadiums in the NY-P League which feature high-tech video scoreboards and are almost mini-versions of a major-league stadium, Diethrick Park is a classic stadium that used to be the norm in Class A baseball.
''My first year (as a player) was in Oneonta and it was the same type of setup as it is here where you walk outside through the people and to the field before and after the game,'' Turgeon said. ''I think it's great for these guys not to have the separation, they're just baseball players.''
He added, ''This is going to be a great experience for a lot of these guys, they're not going to forgot it.''
When comparing Diethrick Park to the high-tech stadiums, Turgeon said, ''It's the day and age that we live in. I understand business and economics.''
But he quickly added, ''I feel very fortunate to be a part of pure baseball the way I grew up and I love it. I feel very comfortable here. I'm very glad these guys have a chance to be exposed to it.''
And many of those high-tech stadiums are in places such as Brooklyn and Staten Island surrounded with plenty of things to take players' minds off baseball.
''I try to treat them as men and I tell them if they're going to burn the candle at both ends, you're going to have to pay the consequences for that,'' Turgeon said. ''If you're going to be social, pick your spots. If there's a lot more temptations in front of you, it's a lot harder to pick your spots
He thinks being in Jamestown is a better place to pick your spots.
''They're going to have a lot thrown at them without having the social aspects challenge them,'' Turgeon said.
In the past, Jammers managers have preferred opening the season on the road because it gives the new players a chance to adjust to professional baseball before playing in front of the home fans.
''Don't have a preference, didn't as a player have a preference,'' Turgeon said.
But he does like opening at the Scrappers for personal reasons.
''I like the fact that we're opening in Mahoning Valley just because my wife's family is there,'' Turgeon said. ''I'm glad to get the chance to see my inlaws and nephews and nieces and all that stuff. That's nice for me.''
And there is another plus.
''I also get to see one my all-time mentors Ted Kubiak, the manager of Mahoning Valley,'' Turgeon said. ''When I came in with Cleveland in 2000, I was with Teddy for three years. I learned a lot from Teddy. An awesome person and mentor for me.''