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Beers, Brats, and Baseball

By: Travis Cornwell

Springtime is here, which means the smell of the baseball diamond is back. Not only that but, the smell of hotdogs and brats as well. The community in Bradenton can’t wait for the Marauders season to start. The Low-A Southeast League Champions start their title defending season on April 8, facing the Dunedin Blue Jays. Their home opener is scheduled for April 12, where they take on the Lakeland
Flying Tigers.

Last season was one to remember as the Bradenton Marauders won their second league championship in its franchise’s history, the first since 2016, as they defeated
the Tampa Tarpons last September. They finished with the league’s second-best record, behind Tampa at (71-48). Endy Rodriguez led the league in hitting, as he became the second player in franchise history to do so. These accomplishments
were possible due to the amazing coaching staff. Jonathan Johnston secured the franchise’s first-ever Manager-of-the-Year award.

With last season not starting until May, the changes made in the front office, and the first year for the Marauders playing in Low-A, the season looked very different early on, especially having many players that were younger and coming off the
postponed season of 2020. However, the Marauders made the most of
the situation and prevailed.

This upcoming season, fans have many exciting things to look forward to. The Marauders plan on having many of the different promotional nights back
for the 2022 season. “To name a few, there will be several fireworks shows, Military Night, and Margarita Night, which is my personal favorite. That’s a really fun night at the ballpark with live music and Hawaiian-themed jerseys,” said General
Manager Craig Warzecha. Another fan favorite was “Bark in the Park,” which will be rebranded to “Paws and Claws” this year as White Claw has agreed to sponsor that event.

Fans around the community can anticipate more of the promotions being heavily favored for more of the Friday and Saturday home games throughout the year. Their Tuesday night home opener will feature many different door prizes that will include the new championship logo. That opening weekend is where the organization plans to do something special to showcase the defending champions.

With the start of the season slowly approaching, General Manager Craig Warzecha said, “There seems to be more clarity on how our season is going to look compared to the last offseason, where more things were still up in the air.” One thing is clear, the Marauders are champions and the buzz around LECOM Park is approaching.

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