We’re sort of in the dog days of sports in Osceola County. The high schools don’t report for pre-season practice until the end of the month, and local fans of college and NFL teams will have to wait until next month for those camps to open.
And while we have started running our pre-season football previews for county schools this week (Gateway this past Thursday, Harmony today), I wanted to mention a little about baseball and our very own Florida Fire Frogs while there is still time.
The Fire Frogs are the Atlanta Braves advanced Class A affiliate in the Florida State League and they play their home games at Osceola County Stadium, the former home of Houston Astros spring training.
Starting on July 19, the Fire Frogs will have roughly 23 home games remaining in the 2019 season. I bring this up because they most likely will be the last professional baseball games played in Osceola County in the foreseeable future as rumors continue to fly that the team may not only be for sale, but will most likely relocate in time for the 2020 season.
And that’s a shame on a lot of levels.
First, baseball has been a part of the county’s fabric on and off for many years. It was sad when the Astros moved out and now all of professional baseball appears headed out the door.
But the county will also be losing reasonably priced entertainment option as the Fire Frogs are a lot of fun. The franchise enables the local populance to watch some of the best young talent in the Braves farm system.
The Braves have one of the best young teams in major league baseball and have hovered at or near the top of the NL East standings for the entire season. Would you be surprised to learn that close to a dozen of those players making contributions at the big league level have played in Kissimmee for the Fire Frogs in the past two years?
Those players have included major league breakout stars Austin Riley (.257, 16 HR and 41 RBI at the All-Star Break) and All-Star home run participant Ronald Acuna (.292, 21 HR and 53 RBI), both of which played most of the season for the Fire Frogs in 2017.
Pitcher Jasseel De La Cruz, who fired the first no-hitter in Florida Fire Frogs history on May 14 and catcher William Contreras are two players who started the 2019 season with the Fire Frogs but are already been promoted to a Class AA as they work their way to the major leagues.
But the opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow is not the only reason to support the Fire Frogs. Chief Operating Officer North Johnson, Asst. GM Adam Whitlow, Marketing/Promotions Director Keith Hellebrand and Food and Beverage Director Pete Jones have developed a great mixture and balance of promotions, game presentation elements, and food and drink specials to make Fire Frogs game the place to be for entire families.
Public Address Announcer Afredo Muente and promotions field director Jamia Ebn keep things lively both on the field and in the stands as each Fire Frogs game features a wide variety of in-game fan participation promotions.
“We’ve had a lot of players go through here and reach the major leagues in the last three years, not to mention the players from other teams that have played here and advanced,” Whitlow said. “We have a hard-working staff dedicated to putting on a great show for all fans and believe Fire Frogs baseball is a great family value.”
For more information on game dates, tickets, promotions and team information log on to FloridaFireFrogs.com.