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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:00 am 
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(Jacksonville) -- If there was any trepidation as to how the Featherheads' season will go, it couldn't be found yesterday during Fan Fest at Farmers Field in downtown Jacksonville. Indeed, the Featherhead faithful are raring at the bit to get the season started after the extravagant spectacle that announced the roster.

Activities were set up for youngsters to run the bases, hit balls off tees, see the locker rooms and broadcast booth and of course meet their favorite players for autographs and pictures. As a small example, this reporter spotted a star-struck young fan beaming ear-to-ear with a shirt emblazoned with the signatures of Danny Burton, Miguel Yanez and Alfredo Hinojosa. “They’re so big,” he said breathlessly.

The other big event of the day was the annual press conference that revealed to the public (and the press) the final 26 players that will be on the opening day roster. Per their usual flare for the dramatic, the Featherheads marketing team had set up an elevated stage in the Kevin Lewis lot of Farmers Field which featured a large screen covered with an equally as large Featherheads-red felt curtain draped over top of it. GM Ken Hannahs took to the stage to give a speech to the fans and press assembled the team.

Wearing large aviator sunglasses and his signature Florida Featherheads floral-print hawaiian shirt, he began to speak. “I’m so excited -- maybe almost excited as all of you -- to get our newest campaign underway here in Jacksonville. I want to thank all of the staff, trainers, and players for getting us to this day. We’ve been putting in a lot of sleepless nights to make sure we’re ready to give the city of Jacksonville another season of unforgettable baseball.” At this a large cheer went up from the attending fan-base. “Without further ado, Mr. Streets, let’s show them what we’ve got!”

At this, owner of the Florida Featherheads Drew Streets ran on stage sporting his iconic red-tinted sunglasses and matching hawaiian shirt, waving at the audience. He approached the gold-fibered rope and pulled the giant covering away, revealing the players -- each with their own highlight reel and photos.

On the list were mostly recognizable faces, but others who even those most adroit followers of the team may not have ever even heard of.



It comes as no small surprise that Atílio Gaivo has won the coveted fifth spot in the rotation. Gaivo was the first selection in the 2020 rule 5 draft for the Rio Grande Valley Ocelots (now San Juan Coqui) where he split duties as both a starter and relief pitcher over six years of play. 2027 was the toughest year of his career, posting a forgettable 6.01 ERA over 29 starts. After such a paltry season, it was no surprise that Gaivo found himself without a team heading into his seventh season of major league ball. With an otherwise consistent track record, Hannahs and Co decided to see if 2027 was just an aberration. “When we met with Atílio, one of the first things we all took away was his humility. It’s not every day you talk with a player with his sort of insight. It’s that awareness that got him into Spring Training, but it was his performance and work ethic that got him the rotation spot.” And perform Gaivo did. Over 12 innings, Gaivo struck out 10 and pitched to an impressive 3.00 ERA. He coupled his strong on-field performances with an equally as striking penchant for being open to learning. “Normally when you have a guy with six-plus years in the league, they’re kind of stuck in their ways -- Gaivo has been great because he’s always curious and always learning. If he sees something that he likes, he wants to figure it out, too.”

The impressive left-hander’s first start as a Featherhead will come at London home opener at Wembley Stadium. First pitch at 2:05 pm EST.

The other surprising pick-up for the Featherheads is Pedro Marquis, the left-handed finesse pitcher who literally no one had heard of until he was invited to major league camp by the Featherheads a mere six weeks ago. While there’s much we still do not know about the 26 year-old native Panamanian -- whether due to the language barrier or by him simply not wishing to divulge his past -- it is clear that Marquis is all smiles now. Already ingratiating himself with his teammates, many long-time Featherheads have already grown attached to the baby-faced pitcher and were thrilled to learn that he had made the team. Jose Diaz and he quickly became friends due to their home country’s proximity and mutual love of gallo pinto -- a nicaraguan dish of beans and rice.

“[Featherheads scout] Ed McDaniel was crazy for Marquis right out the gate,” said Hannahs. “He basically came in with the kid’s scouting reports and said that he may be a solid reliever -- possibly even a starter for us in the future. He was so insistent on it that I felt like I had to give him a shot. And wouldn’t you know it? Kid’s looking real good so far.”

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:18 am 
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Great update Ken - Street's always been a colorful owner!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:31 am 
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:clap: Exciting story lines Ken. Bravo.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:22 am 
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Great story, and gallo pinto, too! Well done, sir.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:01 am 
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Nice review.

"signature Florida Featherheads floral-print hawaiian shirt" <- where are these sold? I need a good hawaiian shirt!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:04 pm 
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Leones wrote:
Nice review.

"signature Florida Featherheads floral-print hawaiian shirt" <- where are these sold? I need a good hawaiian shirt!


:lol: We have a laid back front office culture here in Jacksonville!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:07 pm 
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Thanks for all the responses, guys! Really excited for the season.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:52 pm 
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Leones wrote:
"signature Florida Featherheads floral-print hawaiian shirt" <- where are these sold? I need a good hawaiian shirt!

I think there's a need for League approved Tommy Bahamas or something...

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