As we build up to the Opening Week of the 2013 British baseball season across the six BBF leagues, we will be speaking with the managers of each of the Herts teams.
With the Herts Falcons starting their NBL campaign this Sunday, we spoke with Manager, Lee Manning.
We are just days away from Opening Day. Do you feel ready or has the bad weather in March affected preparations?
Lee Manning: I don’t think any British team can be ready after the poor weather we’ve had. The only good thing is that all teams are in the same boat. The Falcons have shown amazing commitment this season with guys hitting the batting cages and even taking time off work to train mid-week to get to the level they want to be at.
What are your main goals for this season?
Lee Manning: We all want to go one better than last season. Winning the championship is a must for all of us.
What win-loss percentage would be seen as a successful season for the team?
Lee Manning: We will look to finish the season with a record of .750 but the main goal is to get everyone in enough games to play in the post season.
Will the entry of the Herts Ravens in the AAA League affect your team’s chances this season by diluting the strength of the Herts rosters across a larger number of teams?
Lee Manning: No. We are probably the one team in the club this expansion will help. Every year we rely on players stepping up to the NBL level from the lower leagues and choosing from a AAA roster rather than a AA roster will only make the Falcons stronger.
Who are the players we should look out for this year?
Lee Manning: We have a strong roster and with all team sports it takes more than one player to win a game. Last year we added 15 new players to the Falcons and it took us a few months to get to know each other. This year we have added again but the core of the roster from last year team is returning. I’m really looking forward to watching all of these great players in Herts uniforms pulling together for one clear goal – winning it all.
Which of your opponents in the league are likely to be the biggest challengers for the national title?
Lee Manning: Hard to say at the moment but it’s got to be Harlow Nationals, Southampton Mustangs, Lakenheath Dbacks and maybe the London Mets.
Which league game are you looking forward to most?
Lee Manning: The old rivalry between Essex and Herts is great and is one I personally like to play in but the Falcons vs. Nationals is the best baseball game on the British isle right now. Both teams always seem evenly matched and we hope our new players will give us the extra edge this year.
The postseason playoffs will be played at the brand new Farnham Park. Will this act as an even greater incentive for players to reach the postseason?
Lee Manning: I was heartbroken we couldn’t win the championship at our ground last year in front of our fans but we don’t really mind where the playoffs/NBC will be played. Winning is winning and we want to win every game we play. I’ve been to the new park and it looks great. I can’t wait to see how it plays after all the hard work that has been put in by everyone connected to the project.
What is your message to Herts Baseball fans ahead of Opening day?
Lee Manning: Get your thermal on and bring your chair. It’s going to be an exciting season which begins this Sunday.