JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jumbo Shrimp were the talk of minor league baseball last year with their unique merchandise, record-setting attendance and a team in the playoffs.
The challenge to follow that up begins Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m at the Baseball Grounds when the Jumbo Shrimp have their home opener vs. Mobile.
The Jumbo Shrimp averaged just over 5,000 a game last year, second in the Southern League to Birmingham, that's 1,000 more per game than the Suns last year in 2016.
General Manager Harold Craw, who was named the Southern League Executive Of The Year, is ready for the challenge.
"I'm excited for baseball to get going," Craw said. "Last year was exciting for us and one thing we learned is people enjoy Jumbo Shrimp and I know they enjoy Jumbo Shrimp baseball. We're excited to have the fans flood in. We had some good talent on the field as well with that second half playoff run. Hopefully we can do that again."
Randy Ready returns for his second year as the Jumbo Shrimp manager. Ready admits that while the playoff push and winning are fun it's not his main job.
"We try to create that winning environment," Ready said. "Keep it as positive as we can but the name of the game is development. This is the Double A level and we try to get them ready for Triple A and ultimately the major leagues."
The Jumbo Shrimp host Mobile through Sunday, April 15. After a 10 game road trip they return to the Baseball Grounds Thursday, April 26.