By Kennedi Holder
Tuesday, April 2nd, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp players and coaches spoke to members of the media during Media Day at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. It was the first opportunity for the media to speak with players and coaching staff prior to the upcoming season. Athletes and coaches took questions on season expectations, team chemistry, and playing their first season with new manager Kevin Randel.
Randel is no stranger to Jacksonville after winning Southern League championships with the club as a player in 2009 and hitting coach in 2014. “I’m glad to be back in Jacksonville,” Randel said. “I love everything about what’s going on in Crustacean Nation.” Randel was optimistic for a winning season following 2018’s last place Southern League record of 27-42. “We’ve got a lot of speed,” Randel said. “We can play the game and play it the right way.”
Joe Dunand is an infielder who was selected in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft by the Miami Marlins. He’s also the nephew of 14-time All-Star and 3-time American League MVP Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez had some advice for Dunand after playing for Jacksonville in 1994.
“He actually called me when I first got called up and told me some of his experiences,” Dunand said. Dunand also shared some local recommendations his uncle had for him. “I think Metro Diner was one of them,” Dunand said. Aside from the local cuisine, Dunand is excited to get the season going. “It’s an honor to put this uniform on,” Dunand said. “I’m excited to play here in Jacksonville and I’m ready to work on getting more consistent.”
Members of the media were also able to sample new concessions that will soon be offered to fans in the upcoming season such as fish and chips, steak and shrimp bites, pastrami sandwiches, and cheesecake among other items.
The Jumbo Shrimp open their season Thursday, April 4th at 7:05 p.m. as they take on the Jackson Generals in the first of a five-game homestand.
Fans can purchase tickets at https://www.milb.com/jacksonville/tickets/.