When the Fayetteville SwampDogs take the field every night, they do so with roughly 25 young men from all across the United States. Some of them came to Fayetteville knowing no one, while others came here with some familiarity of a few of the players and coaches. But every player on the roster can agree that they came to Fayetteville with some sense of uncertainty.
After all, they were starting a two and a half month journey with teammates from all across the nation that they had never met. Even though the journey just started a few weeks ago for many of the players, they are starting to feel more comfortable with every passing day.
First baseman Corey LeVier is one of three players on the 2010 SwampDogs roster that came from the west coast. LeVier, who has signed to play baseball next season at the University of San Diego, says the atmosphere in the clubhouse continues to improve.
“Over the past week everyone has gotten to know each other and we are becoming one big unit,” LeVier said. “We all have the same goal in mind and that’s to make the playoffs and win a championship.”
SwampDogs assistant coach Ben Quinto also made the long trek from California to Fayetteville. Quinto says each of the players has a unique opportunity, which should make the transition much smoother.
“We (coaches) made a decision from day one that we want guys here that live for baseball,” said Quinto. “Every single one of the players has a chance to play professional baseball. This is a great opportunity for all of them.” For many of the players, including LeVier, the weather and time change has been the biggest obstactle to overcome.
“The weather has definitely been different than California,” says LeVier. “I’m used to a beautiful 75 degrees every day and not this humidity. The time change has also taken time to get used to because of the difference between California and here (Fayetteville).”
Over the years, big reason why the SwampDogs players have been able to settle in after a short period of time has been due to the help of the host families. Each player on the team is housed with a host family for the summer, which has proven time and time again to be a positive experience. The SwampDogs realize that this team wouldn’t be able to function without the help of its great host families.
As the players begin to settle in their new homes for two and a half months, the 2010 SwampDogs continue to look to take full advantage of the opportunity they have been given — the chance to showcase their skills every night in front of professional scouts on the grand stage of summer collegiate baseball.
“I know this chance is going to allow me to develop my skills and have even a better chance of getting to the next level,” said LeVier.
The SwampDogs play in the Coastal Plain League, which has had more than 700 players looking to make it to “the next level” and play minor league baseball. Meanwhile, 35 former Coastal Plain Leaguers have made it to the Major Leagues, which every young man in the league would tell you is the ultimate goal.
When it comes down to it, the roughly 25 young men in Fayetteville for the summer are here because they want to be the next success story. They want to be the player that fans talk about for years to come.