With this season’s version of the Biloxi Shuckers, spectators really will need a scorecard to keep track of the players.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ Double-A affiliate will see a lot of turn over with a few crowd favorites moving up and a passel of potential stars joining the team. But even with these changes Chris Harris, communications director and game announcer, still feels optimistic about the new season.
“We’re going to have a lot of players that should be playing at a higher level,” Harris said. “That makes us look a lot better on paper.”
One of those potential stars is Mauricio Dubón, a 22-year-old shortstop acquired in a trade with Boston. Last year, Dubón hit .339 with a .909 on base slugging percentage (OPS) and stole six bases for the Portland Sea Dogs, the Red Sox Double- A affiliate. Baseball America called him the best defensive player in Boston’s 2013 draft and if called up, he would become the first native Honduran to play major league baseball.
His presence on the Shuckers’ infield will provide something that Harris says the team was missing last year.
“We lacked consistent play up the middle and didn’t make some of the plays we should have...but his glove is really good and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action,” Harris said.
The clubhouse takes a hit with the loss of star outfielder Brett Phillips. A fan favorite for much of the last two seasons, he is now on his way up to Triple-A.
“The second most popular guy in the entire Milwaukee Brewers organization right now is Brett,” Harris said. “He is considered one of the premier young outfielders.”
The Shuckers kicked off their inaugural season back in 2015 with a 54-game road trip, so fans had to support them from afar. Some baseball-starved fans actually followed them, going from ballpark to ballpark to take in the games.
The completion of MGM Park meant the team finally had a place to call home.
“When we finally arrived at the field, it was kind of like a rallying cry for everyone,” Harris said.
Since then, the Biloxi Shuckers have been a symbol of recovery for coast residents post-Katrina. The team made it to the finals of the Southern League playoffs in their first season and had a winning record in 2016.
Now Harris says he’s excited to get on with the new season.
“I’m ready to get back into the grind. It’s a brutal schedule. We play 140 games total but when we get into that routine, it’s a lot of fun.”
Shuckers radio broadcasts will again be on 1240-AM and 100.9-FM this season.