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More teams than ever before

Goldeyes to play nine opponents at Shaw Park this season

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The Fish will be heading south to get things started this season.

The Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team will open the 2012 campaign in Texas with a nine-game road swing against South Division opponents.

The Goldeyes, the defending North Division champions, announced their 2012 American Association schedule on Wednesday. The Goldeyes will meet opponents from all three American Association divisions and in interleague play with the Can-Am League this season.

The Goldeyes' 2012 home opener will be on May 29 when they host the Amarillo Sox for a three-game series at Shaw Park.

"We're excited to start the season for the first time ever in Texas and to start the season in a warmer climate," said Goldeyes general manager Andrew Collier, noting injuries occurring in cold May weather at the start of the season at home have long been a concern.

"Last year, I think it was two degrees (Celsius) at game time for our home opener, so that's not exactly how you want to open up the season."

Collier said this year's schedule will feel like a more compete season because the Goldeyes will face the most opponents in the history of the team.

"We're starting nine games in the south and then coming back for May 29 (home opener). We're playing 12 games against southern teams where we didn't play any of them (South Division teams) last year," Collier said. "Our fans will get to see nine different teams at home this year, which is an improvement over last year and a huge improvement over two years ago."

The 13 American Association teams have formed a partnership with the Can-Am League for interleague play. The Goldeyes will host the three-time defending Can-Am League champion Quebec Les Capitales for a three-game series from July 24-26.

"It's fantastic that our great fans will see nine different teams in 2012," Goldeyes owner Sam Katz said in a statement. "It's variety that's unmatched in independent baseball."

Collier said there was league-wide support for more inter-divisional play.

"The fans want to see a variety of teams coming to town and from a competitive standpoint, the managers and owners wanted to see more teams playing teams outside your own division and playing most of the teams in the league.

"So in the end, the four teams that make the playoffs should be a good indication of who has played the best overall against the rest of the league."

The Goldeyes also announced that the start time for home game will remain the same in 2012 with weekday games beginning at 7 p.m. There will be 11 a.m. starts on May 31 and June 13 and a noon start on July 26. Saturday games will be at 6 p.m. and there will be eight Sunday matinee games at 1:30 p.m.

Season tickets and nine-game mini packs for the 2012 season can be purchased by calling 982-BASE (2273) or at the Shaw Park box office.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 1, 2011 C6

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