(WFRV) – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are ready to get back on the field after missing all of last season.
It’s not exactly the same but the feel, and yes even the smell, of baseball is back.
“The first game at spring training, when the ballpark opened, fans were in the stands. You could smell the ballpark, the concession stands. I think that’s my most vivid sensory memory of opening day at spring training,” said Timber Rattlers manager Matt Erickson.
Back from spring training in Arizona, it’s the minor league’s turn for opening day. Like any year there will be some new names ready to take the field as the season gets underway. In 2021, that includes the Brewers top prospect and first round pick Garrett Mitchell.
“A lot of our higher round picks may have a certain tool that jumps out that is more elite. Garrett’s a guy who comes suited with quite a few things,” said Erickson.
“I talk about a guy who can come out there and play at 100 percent all the time. You never know what’s the most important pitch. I hope that in those moments that I can come in and do something for us as a team,” said Garrett Mitchell.
The rookie out of UCLA turned a lot of heads while with the big league club during spring training. Now he’s ready to build on that success in the minor leagues with the Timber Rattlers.
“When you’re not playing for as long, pretty much a year of not really playing, to be able to go out there and do what I did was definitely really good. I try not to focus too much on that specifically. Just because that was just a small portion size versus going through the next 120 games,” said Mitchell.
There are plenty of familiar faces on the roster as the Timber Rattlers get set for opening day as well. With the team making the move to High-A, instead of Low-A, there are players that missed last season but still moved up in the Brewers minor league system at the same time.
In all there will be 13 players from the 2019 Timber Rattlers that are back in Grand Chute to start this season.
“When I got my working group this year, it was really nice to recognize the faces. They know my expectations. Being able to build on that right away is enjoyable,” said Erickson.
The Timber Rattlers open the 2021 season against Beloit on Tuesday night at Fox Cities Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. with limited fan attendance.