“Right now the focus is on this season, especially with us coming off a championship last year,” said Mains, the Twins’ general manager. “We’ve been fortunate to have pretty good baseball teams on the field year in and year out. And for our community, baseball has played such a major role every summer. I can feel the excitement as we get close to opening day.
“That’s the way I see it. And from what I’m hearing from the fans, the situation of what happens after this year is something we heard last year, too. So we’re just focusing on the upcoming season.”
The Twins will begin with a three-game home stand against the Burlington Royals on June 19. Last year’s title was a league-record 11th for the Twins.
Elizabethton’s players will board a bus in Fort Myers, Florida, on June 16 and make the long journey to their new home.
“The staff is looking forward to getting out of Fort Myers,” said Mains. “It’s pretty hot this time of year.”
A team meeting will be held on June 17 as the players will learn about what the Twins’ organization expects from them.
Each year, Mains and the Twins have to sort things out to find places for most of the players to live.
“It’s like a puzzle,” said Mains. “And we don’t know who will be coming here until maybe two days out. That’s when the players find out they are coming to Elizabethton.”
That’s one area where the “veterans” have an advantage, as the returning players already have contacts with families.
Either way, there are a lot of details that have to be worked out, Mains said.
“Some may have transportation and some don’t,” said Mains. “Some may want to stay with families, and some may not. But we have a community that loves this team. We can really count on families, some who have kept players throughout the years. They’ve built relationships with them that go on for years. They’ve received a big blessing from it.”
Mains said a lot of the Twins’ promotions are centered on the community.
“The parks and recreation department has been doing this for 40-plus years,” said Mains. “We have a farmer’s market night, faith nights, church nights, and hometown-heroes night where we recognize law enforcement. It’s a very good schedule that really focuses on the community, and what Elizabethton is all about.”
One again, Ray Smith will be the manager. He has guided the Twins to eight titles in his 31-year tenure.
Jeff Reed returns as the hitting coach while Luis Ramirez is the pitching coach.
Takashi Miyoshi is also a coach while Tyler Blair is the trainer and Chuck Bradway is the strength coach.