MACON, Ga. — It's time to start the sizzle, and the only thing left to do now is crank up the heat!
“College summer ball has the longest offseason in all of the world,” team president Brandon Raphael said, “So we've been waiting since August 10 for this moment.”
A new paint job and new speakers spread all around historic Luther Williams Field will greet Bacon fans returning to the ballpark this summer – and a whole lot plan to.
“You think about a young man from California making a decision to come here or from New York or Wisconsin,” Raphael said. “They might have played in front of a couple hundred fans. It's different when you get 3300 people in here asking for autographs. It's pretty awesome so we're excited to show them a good time.”
And that's what makes this summer special -- college ballplayers from every corner of the country.. Coming together with one goal in mind.
“Help the Bacon win,” Mercer outfielder Antonio Brown said. “Just help the Bacon win.”
And for the guys spending their first summer in Macon, i's those returning players now showing them how to fry it up.
“You meet guys from different walks of life and different colleges and kind of bounce ideas off of them,” Brown said. “So you get to make yourself a better player every summer and create lifelong friends throughout it. Some of these guys I met today and we're already best friends so it's cool.”
With the college baseball season still wrapping up around the country, the Bacon’s roster will continue to change in the coming weeks, but some familiar faces are already back in town.
“It's all special, playing in front of the home crowd, in front of my family,” ETSU pitcher and former FPD Viking Austin Emener said. “Really just representing Macon because I grew up here. We've already clicked. We're firing on all cylinders as a team. Everybody's just trying to get their reps in, trying to get better. It just creates a brotherhood that's tough to match.”
This year already marks the sixth summer of Macon Bacon baseball at Luther Williams Field and with each of those summers, attendance numbers have continued to increase. The Bacon are now hoping to make this summer the biggest and porkiest yet.
“67 percent of the counties in Georgia represented last summer, 41 states,” Raphael said. “It has been absolutely amazing and we can't thank our fans enough. They're going to see a lot of entertainment. That's everything we strive for, from the moment you get out of your car to the moment you get back in your car, you're going to laugh, you may cry, hopefully out of excitement and not out of sadness, and hopefully cheer our Bacon on to a victory.”
The hay is in the barn, or rather, the Bacon is in the skillet.
It all gets sizzlin’ with the 2023 home opener on Friday night at 7 p.m. against the Lexington County Blowfish.
The 2023 schedule includes 26 home games played at Luther Williams Field and 19 different promotional nights including “Star Wars Night” and “Country Night.”