The Daily Times in Salisbury has a collection of stories on the Shorebirds as they open the season at home this weekend.
VIDEO: Meet the Shorebirds
STORY: Birds up to Bat (quick info on series)
STORY: Pitched Battle Begins - Staff is full of starters, so some players may not like bullpen duty
STORY: Big bats, fleet feet have potential to be potent - Offense probably will play aggressively
STORY: For 11 'Birds, all games will be banner day - Team inaugurates Walk of Fame
Highlights from the articles...
SALISBURY -- This time of year, the pitching always seems to be a bit ahead of the hitters, especially at the minor-league level.
But for the 2008 Shorebirds, with seven position players who played together last year at Aberdeen making up a key portion of the lineup, along with a few other talented players, this group feels like it could be just comfortable enough to get hot early at the plate.
"The way it looks I know we have a lot of good arms on (the roster)," first baseman Anthony Martinez said, "so if we can start of the season with everything clicking offensively at the same time, it would be hard to beat."
"When I was with the Mariners last year," said Tony Butler, who will be in the Delmarva rotation and was one of the five players the Orioles organization acquired in the off-season trade for Erik Bedard, "one of my close buddies, one of my close teammates, he had been a starter his whole life, and then they threw him into the 'pen. Now they have him being a starter again. It's hard for someone's body to go back and forth. Those guys, I think it's one of things where whether it's me or one of the other guys going to the bullpen, they just have to understand that's their job and that's what's needed for the ballclub and whatever they can do to give us the best chance to win.
"If you're a starter, you go every fifth day. If you're a reliever, you can look at it that you throw every other day and you can consider, hey, I helped the team win each day. For them, it could be exciting. It just depends on how they want to take it."
Drop by Arthur W. Perdue Stadium this year if nothing else to see the Walk of Fame, where the club has recognized 11 former Shorebirds, including Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Orlando Cabrera and Ryan Minor, now a field coach for the Shorebirds.
With 13 years of Shorebirds history to look back on, the banners go back to the first season, when the team was affiliated with the Montreal Expos and had Orlando Cabrera, who went on to win a World Series with the Red Sox.
"This is good for the regular fans to reflect back on the stories and memories they have of these guys," Bitters said. "And for the dads or moms to be able to show their kids, 'See Nick Markakis played for the Shorebirds' or 'See here, Brian Roberts played here.'"
More banners could be added in the future because there were a handful of guys who didn't make the initial cut who could gain future consideration.
I'll be at Saturday's game working the 3rd base concession stand for my kids' swim team. If you go, I'll be the one pouring beer. Tough gig, I know...