WINNIPEG -- Play ball!
The red and white bunting is in place and right-hander Ace Walker, the 2009 Northern League pitcher of the year, has painted an "Opening Weekend" script behind the plate at Canwest Park.
Oh, and the weather? It's going to be perfect for baseball.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes kick off their 17th season when they take on the Lake County Fielders tonight at the Fishbowl. Winnipeg, 55-41 a season ago, will send right-hander Matt Kniginyzky to the hill against Fielders right-hander John Brownell.
And the staff at Canwest Park have been busy getting the Winnipeg Goldeyes' home ready for visitors.
"The last week has been pretty crazy on our end," said Sarah Kyrylchuk, promotions manager. "All the departments are putting together the last pieces of the puzzle and collecting prizes, and stock for concessions, and painting."
"It's definitely a group effort," Kyrylchuk added.
"Goldie's nice and shiny and clean, he's been doing lot of exercise," said Kyrylchuk, referring to the team's bright yellow mascot.
"We definitely have the sumo suits, brought back by popular demand," she said of the fan-involved games. Also up this season is another fan favourite, the mattress race. There's even one for the kids that promotes recycling.
Winnipeg's line-up is expected to consist of LF Dee Brown, CF Aharon Eggleston, RF Kevin West, 1B Jeremy Hamilton, 2B Josh Asanovich, SS Wes Long, 3B Vince Harrison, and C Luis Alen. Juan Diaz will be the designated hitter.
Lake County, owned in part by actor Kevin Costner (the movie Field of Dreams inspired the nickname) is one of two expansion clubs in the NL this season. The Rockford RiverHawks come over from the Frontier League to be the eighth club. Also new to the Northern League this summer is a schedule of 100 games, up from 96 a year ago.
The Goldeyes open the 2010 season with an eight-game homestand. Following the four game series with the Fielders, the Fish host the Joliet JackHammers for four more starting Monday.
Game time is 7 o'clock and fireworks will help kick off the season tonight. Tickets are still available at all Ticketmaster sources and the game with be broadcast on both Shaw-TV and 1290 CFRW.