BRISTOL - The Bristol Blues are out to one of its best starts in the clubâ€™s brief history.
And while, the Blues have been able to put together a good product on the field, off the field, they look like a team that has played together for years, regardless of who is in the game.
â€śItâ€™s just a really good chemistry and camaraderie with the guys,â€ť Bristol manager Ronnie Palmer said. â€śThey show up every day ready to play baseball and if theyâ€™re not playing, theyâ€™re cheering the other guys on when theyâ€™re in the game. Itâ€™s just been a real pleasure so far to be around these guys.â€ť
Palmer joined the Blues last season and has the difficult task of finding a way to get players from a number of different states and college programs to get along, when most have never played with each other before. But he admitted he and his staff have had a surprisingly easy job so far this season.
â€śIf youâ€™re in the dugout or in the locker room or on the bus with us, youâ€™d see what we see as a coaching staff,â€ť Palmer said. â€śItâ€™s just a really good group of guys that are college baseball players that genuinely love coming to the park. If you didnâ€™t know any better, you would think they were a team that was around each other year round.â€ť
The positive atmosphere surrounding the Blues was evident in the teamâ€™s 5-3 comeback win over the Worcester Bravehearts last week. Despite struggling for most of the game, Bristol continued to have a confidence that they would find a way to win, which they did with a sixth-inning rally that had the Blues jumping out of the dugout.
â€śI think it just speaks volumes about our team and how much we trust each other,â€ť Bristol second baseman Ian Ostberg said. â€śWe know that we can get the job done. Even if we are struggling, we donâ€™t get down on each other or ourselves, which is very important.â€ť
Closer Neal McDermott believes that trust is vital for a baseball team, especially him having to rely on his fielders to make plays behind him. But he doesnâ€™t see any issues with trust on this Blues team.
â€śIn baseball, you canâ€™t go on the field and not trust the guys youâ€™re playing with,â€ť McDermott said. â€śI know that those are my teammates, regardless of if Iâ€™ve been playing with them for a few weeks or not. But I know theyâ€™re going to give 100 percent for me, and Iâ€™ll do the same for them.â€ť
While the Blues are always looking for results, the players came to Bristol to play baseball, a sentiment they can all agree on.
â€śAt the end of the day, we are all here because we love baseball,â€ť Ostberg said. â€śWe feed off of each other in that aspect, so itâ€™s always a lot of fun.â€ť
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org