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Jumbo Shrimp to throw out first pitch in new digs

Wednesday first home game since name change

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp will take the field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Wednesday for the first time since new owner Ken Babby changed the team’s name.

The Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins will take on the Chattanooga Lookouts in their home opener. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Following the game there will be a postgame fireworks show.

That new identity, the Jumbo Shrimp, is a big departure from the Suns, the long-time name of Jacksonville's Double-A baseball franchise. Babby purchased the team from the Bragans, the local legendary ownership family of the Suns, but he's not entirely new to minor league baseball.

Babby bought the Akron Aeros a few years ago, then changed their brand to the Rubber Ducks, a nod to the community's history as the Rubber Capital of the World -- with the Goodyear, Firestone and Goodrich tire companies.

“Change is hard,” Babby said. “We know that there’s still folks out there that aren’t completely there yet.”

Babby said he wanted to create an environment that’s fun for families and fans of all ages. Babby told News4Jax that there will be lots of entertainment for kids, including the chance to play on the field after Sunday home games.

Babby said there’s also a permanent box office line for military members.

There are a variety of special promotional nights scheduled for the 2017 season such military appreciation “red shirt” Fridays.

Wednesday’s home opener, as well as Friday and Saturday’s games, will conclude with a postgame fireworks show.

Babby said the Jumbo Shrimp’s new mascot’s name will be revealed at the home opener.

Tickets for Jumbo Shrimp games start at $5.