By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Bluefield welcomed another Appalachian League season as 1,009 fans entered the gate of historic Bowen Field to witness the first game of the 2013 Baby Blue Jays.
Interns greeted each fan with a magnet schedule and steps away souvenir programs were being sold as fans lined up at the Bird Feeder for the famous Bowen Field hot dogs and other refreshments.
A banner stretched above the Blue Jays’ first base dugout read, “Welcome to Bowen Field.”
Fans continued to stream into the ballpark as waitresses took concession orders from box seat holders and many people who may not had seen each other since last baseball season waved, shook hands and exchanged hugs.
Public address announcer Trey Wilson introduced first the Greeneville Astros who lined up on the third base line, then the home team along the first base line, after with Daily Telegraph Senior Editor Bill Archer rendered both the Canadian and American national anthems as the local Marine Corps League presented the colors.
After the teams went back to their dugouts Bluefield manager Dennis Holmberg, Greeneville skipper Josh Bonifay and umpires Chase Eade and Brad Polk met at home plate to exchange lineup cards and review ground rules.
Following their meeting the Blue Jays, dressed in their home whites, ran to the field and moments later another Appalachian League season was underway in Bluefield.
“It’s a good crowd starting out,” said first-year Bluefield GM Jeff Gray. “I think expectations are high, but I think we will meet those expectations with flying colors.”
Gray also gave kudos to the group of interns working this summer for the Blue Jays.
“The interns are integral. Without them we would have a much tougher job,” he said. “They put in the long hours to get everything ready. Having them is crucial to the success of baseball in Bluefield.”
With game one in the books 33 regular-season games remain for the Blue Jays at Bowen Field.
— Contact Bob Redd at