Peanuts are ready to "Play Ball!" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Peanuts are ready to "Play Ball!"

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May 7, 2007

Albany --  Spring training starts Tuesday for the South Georgia Peanuts baseball team, and members of the new team are excited about opening night.

But Albany hasn't always been good for sports teams. Will the Peanuts have more success?

Spring training hasn't officially started, but Pitcher Josh Cowles is already hard at work. "I had an opportunity to play over here."

Cowles, like many other Peanuts players, traveled across the country for an opportunity to play in the newly formed South Coast League. He recently played in the minors for the Angels. "He had nothing but good things to say so I said 'Sign me up, I want to come over here and play.'"

And he wants you to come out and watch. Many other teams have made a home at Paul Eames stadium, but their stay here was short lived. General Manager Keith Michlig doesn't think that will happen with the Peanuts. "We know the fan base is here and we know people here love baseball," said Michlig.

He says outside factors have caused other teams to leave, but the Peanuts will make their way inside the community to secure a home. "We are doing things out in the community to gain support," Michlig said.

For one, they've started the kids club, known as Goober's gang. All kids who sign up will get into the games for free, provided they are with a paying parent, of course. So far, more than 1,600 children have signed up. That's a good sign for the season.

"They come out here and watch these guys and have their heroes," says Matt Pauley. "Then they go out to little league and do the same thing."

In addition to counting on kids for a boost in attendance, the Peanuts will ride on the heels of the South Georgia Wildcats, who've had no shortage in attendance. "I think the success of the Wildcats is only going to help professional sports in this area," said Michlig.

"It just shows the community will get behind a team, they just need the right opportunity."

And that opportunity is now, so go ahead, have some Peanuts.  Season Tickets are now on sale. For more information, call 435-8900. The home opener is on May 24th.


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