New season, new skipper as Timber Rattlers open 2022 campaign
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A new year with plenty of new faces this year for the Timber Rattlers.
“These guys are going to play hard every day. They work hard in practice, and it carries over into the game. And some interesting personalities to say the least. It’s going to be fun group here, I promise you that,” said Jon Ayrault.
The biggest change is in the dugout. That’s with Jon Ayrault taking over as manager for Matt Erickson, who left to take a position with the Brewers big league club.
“Well the first thing I said was, number one, not one player in that clubhouse is wearing number eight. He’s a legend around here. I’ve got his jersey up there in my office. Same mentality, we’ve both been in the game for a long time. I’ve been in the game for 30 years. Big shoes to fill, but I kow Matt and I are on the same page. We’re going to get after it,” said Ayrault.
Ayrault’s philosophy is pretty simple. Just win. That’s something he’s done over the last decade in the Brewers minor league system with stops in Helena, Brevard County, and most recently with Carolina. There Ayrault became the winningest manager in Mudcats history.
Proving that even in a league where developing players to move up the latter is the end goal, it’s still possible to have plenty of success at the same time.
“As far as development and win second, but I don’t like to lose at cards to my kids. The players know that. This is a good group, they’re going to play to win every night,” said Ayrault.
The Timber Rattlers new manager is a new face for the Fox Valley, but not some of the biggest names on his roster. That includes Brewers top prospect Sal Frelick and fellow outfielder Joe Gray Jr. Both of whom played for Ayrault already in the Brewers organization.
“Honestly makes you feel good. Joe was my first manager, I guess, in professional baseball. I was with him in North Carolina last year and had an absolute blast. I know a lot of the boys are really fired up to have him here,” said top prospect Sal Frelick.
“He definitely knows how to relate to his player, but also knows how to bring the hammer if he needs to. Just to get us to understand, because we’re still young. We’re not big leaguers yet. There’s still a long ways for us to understand and to get a grasp on some of the things when it comes to baseball,” said Joe Gray Jr.
The timber Rattlers open the season against Peoria on Friday night. First pitch set for 6:40 p.m. at Fox Cities Stadium.
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