Everyone knows that Virginia is for lovers.
Plenty of passion surrounds the baseball team as well. Record attendance numbers of 162,000 were set last year. Buckle your seat belts Ladies and Gentlemen, The Pedro Alvarez Show is set to crush that record.
Starting tonight it will be the spot for towering home runs and much joy begins tonight in Lynchburg. Watch the rising birth rate in Lynchburg this season, because fans are going to absolutely fall all over themselves when they see the PedroA Show.
But for the thousands of us Heartbroken Hostages in Pittsburgh (with all due respect )I hope Alvarez is in town for what amounts to a one night stand. Not being harsh, just saying. You take care of this stud like one of your own or the desperate divas of Pittsburgh will be on their way. Have your fling Lovely Ladies of Lynchburg, we got him for life. Get in and get out, kind of like a circus stop Pedro, you have places to be.
Lynchburg has been a minor league baseball town for more than a century. A massive renovations project to Lynchburg City Stadium, now called Calvin Falwell Field was completed for Opening Day 2004. Falwell is known as the “King of Baseball” in Lynchburg. He formed the LBC in 1966 and they were able to keep professional baseball in the Hill City. This grand facility now places itself among the very elite venues in the Carolina League and in all of Class A minor league baseball.
On the field, Lynchburg has been crowned Carolina League Champions on five seperate occassions. Current and former big league stars such as Dwight Gooden, Lenny Dykstra and Aramis Ramirez all won titles in the Hill City before advancing to the Major Leagues. In 14 seasons with Pittsburgh, Lynchburg has fielded two Carolina League Champions (1997, 2002) and has been in the postseason five times (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005) with four of those trips resulting in appearances in the Mills Cup Championship Series.
Late last year as we were enjoying the Steelers remarkable run, the Pirates extended their affiliation with Lynchburg into the 2010 season.
Tonight the Hillcats open with Potomac and RHP Matt McSwain will be on the bump. McSwain was a non drafted free agent in 2006 and began last year in the bullpen and was converted in July to starting role where combined for a 3.08 ERA in his 12 starts between Hickory and Lynchburg. He was 2-2 for Lynchburg last season with a 1.43 WHIP while striking out 23 batters in 37.2 IP.
Some of the roster notables:
Much discussed pitching prospect Bryan Morris will also begin the 2009 season with the Hillcats. Morris, a first-round selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2006 Draft. Morris is currently ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates system by Baseball America. The right-hander went 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA in three starts with Hickory, Pittsburgh’s low Class-A affiliate in 2008, following the trade.
Additionally, two of the Pirates top choices from the 2008 Draft will join Alvarez and Morris in Lynchburg for the 2009 season. Shortstop Jordy Mercer , the stud from (known wrestling power) Oklahoma State University, Mercer was selected by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2008 Draft. Mercer split last season between State College and Hickory and compiled a cumulative .250 batting average with five home runs and 20 RBI.
Infielder Matt Hague who played with Mercer at OSU, was selected by Pittsburgh in the ninth round of the 2008 Draft. Hague batted .322 with six home runs and 22 RBI in 64 games with the Spikes and Hickory in 2008.
Fresno State star of the 08 College World Series, Justin Wilson is a lefthander who was the Bucs fifth round pick in the 2008 Draft. The Hillcats also have plenty of experience Pitcher Ronald Uviedo and ten other players return to Lynchburg this year. Uviedo went with 3-1 with a 2.87 ERA and five saves in 40 appearances with Hickory and Lynchburg in 2008.
The Hillcats open the season with an eight-game homestand on April 9 against the Potomac Nationals
Live Passionately. Virginia. You crazy wild lovers…
My eyes will be on the Hillcats. In Lynchburg, Aramis Ramirez bobblehead is still a draw along with some other former players like Nate McClouth. Get a mold ready for Alvarez, his stint will be brief, but like all great ones, sometimes a glimpse is just enough…
Play passionately Hillcats and best of luck.