Welcome to the Biloxi Shuckers

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Southern League’s newest franchise unveiled its name and logo on Monday night, as the “Biloxi Shuckers” were formally introduced to the gulf region and the baseball world.

The Shuckers are the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, and moved to Biloxi from Huntsville after the 2014 season came to a close.

The Suns and Shuckers are scheduled to meet for the first time next April, as it appears Jacksonville will be the first visitor to MGM Park in Biloxi.

For more information on the newest Southern League club, here is their official news release, and welcome Shuckers!

The new Biloxi professional baseball team revealed their identity today as the Biloxi Shuckers took center stage during a ceremony inside Biloxi’s historic Saenger Theatre. The Shuckers will begin play in the Southern League next April as the new Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

“We are very excited to introduce our name and logos to the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” stated Shuckers President Ken Young. “The anticipation in the community has been tremendous. Our logo depicts the fun and exciting atmosphere that Minor League Baseball is known for throughout this country. We think that kids are going to love it. The seafood industry is so important to the entire region, and we wanted a name that meant something to the community.”

The team name was selected after nearly 60,000 votes were cast after the month-long “Name the Team” contest yielded six finalists. The Shuckers will host a separate event to select the winner of the “Name the Team” contest.

A tenacious oyster is the centerpiece of the identity, seen both in the club’s primary logo, home and alternate caps. The letters “BS” to make up the road cap designation. Fans will love seeing the Biloxi Lighthouse logo, resiliently rising above historic storm waters. Gulf Blue, Sand, Coral, and Black make up the club’s new official colors, paying tribute to the Gulf Coast. The Shuckers are the first professional sports team to use this color combination. The logos and color scheme will be seen throughout the home of the Shuckers, MGM Park.

Official Shuckers merchandise is available immediately at the Shuckers Team Store, which is located inside the Biloxi Coast Transit Authority Building at 820 MLK Jr. Blvd, Suite B. There is also a tremendous selection of merchandise available on the Shuckers’ official website, www.biloxishuckers.com.

The Shuckers will unveil their new uniforms for the 2015 season at a later date.

In addition to the Shuckers website, the Shuckers can also be followed on Twitter (@biloxishuckers) and Facebook (Biloxi Shuckers).

The Shuckers’ look was brought to life by Brandiose, an industry leader in team identity creation. The development process began in March when Brandiose’s partners Jason Klein and Casey White met in Biloxi with fans, staff and community members to learn about the stories, history, and personality of Biloxi. Brandiose developed the logos and is dreaming up elements of new fan experience.

“Biloxi is one of the most resilient cities in America,” said Klein. “Our goal is to integrate Biloxi folklore in the Shuckers brand, and to create the most legendary entertainment experience on the Gulf Coast.”

#MarlinsMonday – November 24, 2014

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Giancarlo Stanton were all smiles last Wednesday at the announcement for Stanton’s new contract. Rob Foldy Getty Images

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

#MarlinsMonday is back! Apologies for the delay the past week and a half, college basketball season is off to a roaring start but there are plenty of Marlins headlines to get to.

First of all, the Jacksonville Suns announced that they will host the Miami Marlins in an exhibition game on April 4, 2015 at 2:05 p.m. at Bragan Field.

It will mark the first time that a major league team has played in Jacksonville since 2010 when the Suns also hosted the Marlins.

It should be an excellent event just days before the Marlins open their season in Miami, and will give Suns fans an early taste of baseball before Opening Day on Thursday April 9.

The announcement came on the heels of the Marlins making their biggest transaction of the offseason and possibly the decade, when former Sun Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13-year, $325 million deal to stay in Miami. Stanton’s signing not only takes away the biggest question mark about the organization, it also proves that the Marlins are willing to spend money to put a winning product on the field at Marlins Park.

The Marlins also adjusted their 40-man roster before December’s Winter Meetings and the Rule 5 draft, and four former Suns made the list: LHP Justin Nicolino, C Austin Barnes, RHP Matt Ramsey, and LHP Adam Conley.

We’ll do a more detailed look at the new members of the 40-man later this week, plus see which former Suns did not get Rule 5 protection from the Marlins.

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links:

Jacksonville Suns: Suns Host Major League Exhibition Game in 2015
Marlins.com: Samson: ‘Great hope’ for Marlins after Stanton deal
Marlins.com: Nicolino among five to join Marlins’ 40-man roster
Sun Sentinel: Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton on record deal: This is not a lottery ticket, it’s work
Miami Herald: Greg Cote: Giancarlo Stanton deal could help repair Jeffrey Loria’s image
Fish Stripes: Fish Bites: Marlins lose out on LaRoche
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Reports: Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval finalizing deals with Red Sox
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Mo’ne Davis to release memoirs in March
The New York Times: Ray Sadecki, Who Helped Cardinals Win World Series, Dies at 73
ESPN Los Angeles: UCLA honors Jackie Robinson, retires No. 42


Suns to Host Major League Exhibition Game in 2015

Suns v Marlins3

By Casey Nichols / Jacksonville Suns

JACKSONVILLE, FL – In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the Jacksonville Suns announced that they will host a Major League exhibition game featuring the Miami Marlins before the 2015 regular season. The 2014 Southern League Champion Jacksonville Suns will take on the Miami Marlins in a special pre-season exhibition matchup at Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at 2:05PM.

The Suns have been an integral part of the Marlins’ player development system winning three Southern League Championships in the six seasons affiliated with the Marlins. A number of Suns made the jump to the Marlins roster over the course of the 2014 season, including Andrew Heaney, Anthony DeSclafani & J.T. Realmuto.

Tickets for the exhibition game are on sale now at the Suns box office and online at www.jaxsuns.com. Dugout Box seats will be $38.50, Homeplate Box seats will be $28.50, Reserved seats will be $22.50 and General Admission tickets will be $16.50. Tickets are expected to be in high demand, based on the success of the team’s previous Major League exhibition games against the Marlins in 2010 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006.

Season tickets for the 2015 Suns regular season are also currently on sale through the Suns Box Office at (904) 358-2846, or online at www.jaxsuns.com. Tickets plans begin at $120 per seat. Sponsorships and group packages are also available. The 2015 season is presented by Everbank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. The Suns are the reigning 2014 Southern League Champions and the Double-A Affiliate of the Miami Marlins.

Former Sun Stanton Inks Historic Deal With Marlins

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

Former Jacksonville Sun Giancarlo (Suns fans knew him as Mike) Stanton has agreed to a historic contract with the Miami Marlins, announced by the Suns’ parent club earlier today.

Stanton has agreed to a 13-year, $325 million contract, a deal that also includes a no trade clause, the first given out by the organization.

This is the largest contract in professional sports history, and will keep Stanton in Miami until he is 38 years old.

This season Stanton led the National League with 37 home runs, and he was also first in slugging percentage and total bases.

Since he was called up from the Suns to the Marlins in June 2010, Stanton has hit 154 home runs and driven in 399 runs in his five major league seasons.

Stanton played in 132 games for the Suns in 2009 and 2010, blasting 37 homers with 105 RBI while helping the Suns win a pair of titles.

The Stanton signing may also prove to help other former Suns sign long-term deals with Miami, with Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna among others that are believed to get new contracts in the next few years.

Now that the Marlins’ biggest offseason priority is taken care of, the front office will continue to look for players that will improve the roster, as the “hot stove” league continues to heat up.

New Role for Barkett with Marlins in 2015

Andy Barkett is the new assistant hitting coordinator with the Miami Marlins. Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

There will be a new role for Andy Barkett with the Miami Marlins organization, according to a Marlins.com report last Friday.

Barkett, who managed the Suns from 2011-14 and a Southern League championship this past season, will now be the Marlins minor league assistant hitting coordinator.

For more on Barkett’s role: Joe Frisaro wrote:

Barkett will work closely with position players at the lower levels. At Jacksonville, he is credited for playing a big role in catcher J.T. Realmuto‘s progression.

The move ends Barkett’s four-year tenure as Jacksonville manager. The Suns never had a losing season with Barkett at the helm, and compiled a record of 294-262 along with the 2014 Southern League championship.

2015 will be Barkett’s first season not as a minor league manager since 2006 when he was the hitting coach of the GCL Braves. Before his time in Jacksonville, Barkett managed in Oneonta (2007) and the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers (2008-10).

Barkett had indicated near the end of the 2014 season that it would be his last year in Jacksonville.

“I’m pretty confident that this will be my last year managing the Suns,” said Barkett on September 1 before the regular season finale. “It’s been a pleasure doing it, it’s been a great experience for me. Jacksonville has become a home away from home for me, there’s probably not been if any better places to manage in the minor leagues than here in Jacksonville. For me the Southern League is a grind, the travel is really tough, especially from where we are. My kids are getting older, I’d like to spend more time at home if possible with a coordinator’s position if possible or something in pro scouting – you never know in baseball.”

Barkett has indicated the change to his new position on his Twitter page, and he is currently managing Águilas Cibaeñas in the Dominican Republic.

Frisaro’s report also details other changes on minor league coordinators, which are important jobs from a Suns perspective as all coordinators check in with the ball club several times throughout the season.

Charlie Corbell, who had been the pitching coach at Triple-A New Orleans, is now the minor league pitching coordinator. Previous pitching coordinator Wayne Rosenthal is now the rehab coordinator based out of Jupiter, while previous rehab coordinator Jeff Schwartz will be the assistant pitching coordinator. John Pierson, previously the field coordinator, is now the hitting coordinator whom Barkett will assist.

Among those changes that may have an impact on the Suns coaching staff is the Triple-A pitching coach vacancy. John Duffy has been the Suns pitching coach for the past five years, and would presumably be a candidate to be promoted to New Orleans. Duffy has been with the Marlins organization for the past nine seasons.

The Suns coaching staff is typically announced by the Marlins sometime between December and January, as we’ll learn who will skipper the Suns in 2015.


#MarlinsMonday – November 10, 2014

Casey McGehee was named the 2014 National League Comeback Player of the Year over the weekend.

Casey McGehee was named the 2014 National League Comeback Player of the Year over the weekend.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

Awards season continues to go well for the Marlins, as a former Southern Leaguer picked up one of the game’s most respected honors over the weekend.

Casey McGehee was named the 2014 National League Comeback Player of the Year by Major League Baseball on Friday, capping a whirlwind season for the former Tennessee Smokie.

McGehee, signed by the Marlins last offseason after playing in Japan in 2013, played in all but two games for Miami while hitting .287 and picking up 76 RBI.

McGehee has also been named the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year by The Sporting News and the Players Choice Awards.

There was also news that impacted the Marlins minor league coaching situation that impacts the Jacksonville Suns as we’ll discuss in a future blog post later this afternoon.

By #FishFriday we should know whether or not Giancarlo Stanton will be a National League Most Valuable Player, as the award will be announced on Thursday.

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links, again check back for an update this afternoon on Marlins minor league coordinators:

Marlins.com: McGehee wins NL Comeback Player of the Year
Marlins.com: Marlins shuffle Minor League development staff
Fish Stripes: 2015 Marlins Offseason Plan: Opportunities
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Joe Maddon thanks Tampa Bay with ads in two newspapers
Fox Sports: Rosenthal: Could A-Rod face further discipline by MLB?
Baseball America: Giants A Dynasty? By NL Standards, Yes
ESPN Los Angeles: New Dodgers GM plans to study rival Giants
ESPN: MLB announces all-star roster for Japan tour
Grantland: Five MLB Free-Agent Bargains: When to Buy the Generic Over the Name Brand



#FishFriday – November 7, 2014

Giancarlo Stanton picked up his first Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award last night. Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

It’s award season in Major League Baseball, and two former Jacksonville Suns picked up excellent hardware.

On Tuesday, Christian Yelich became the first Marlins outfielder to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, after committing only one error in 262 chances.

There was also good news for Giancarlo Stanton on Tuesday, as he was named a finalist for the 2014 National League Most Valuable Player award. Stanton will be up against former Jacksonville Sun Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and last year’s NL MVP Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates. The MVP award will be announced next Thursday Nov. 13.

Stanton’s good week continued last night when he won his first Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award after leading the league in home runs and slugging percentage in 2014. The Marlins have also began a dialogue for contract negotiations with the slugger, in what will be the most important move the front office can make before the 2015 season.

The Marlins also saw Stanton and Casey McGehee pick up Players Choice Awards earlier in the week, so it’s been a good few days in terms of accolades for Miami.

Elsewhere, we learned former Sun Alex Rodriguez admitted to PED use in January when he met with the DEA, fueling more speculation about what the Yankees may do with his contract.

The Tampa Bay Rays are on the hunt for a new manager after Joe Maddon became a free agent, and they are being very public with their interview process:

Here are today’s #FishFriday links, have a great weekend!

Marlins.com: Marlins open contract negotiations with Stanton
Marlins.com: Fernandez progressing; Marlins seek starting pitchers
Miami Herald: Alex Rodriguez’s DEA confession: Yes, I used steroids from fake Miami doctor
Sun Sentinel: Marlins focus on signing Stanton over free-agent pursuit
Fish Stripes: Most depressing moment of the 2014 Marlins season
ESPN: Sandoval seeks 6-year deal; Giants engaged
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Kris Bryant sends fan autographed bat after learning one was selling for $850
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Rays name eight potential managers, including not-yet-retired Raul Ibanez
Baseball Think Factory: Dodgers to hire Gabe Kapler as farm director
Hardball Talk: The Breakup