Baseball fans ready to cheer for home team

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The excitement over bringing America's national pastime to Biloxi is certainly growing. During Thursday's festivities, more than 500 people put their names on a mailing list to receive season ticket information.

Baseball fans are ready to stand up and cheer. They arrived to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Biloxi stadium carrying signs, wearing jerseys and bursting with excitement to welcome baseball to Biloxi.

"Because I love baseball," Heather Baird said. "I just love baseball and we drive to Atlanta. We drive to Houston and now we don't have to do that. We can just stay here in beautiful Biloxi."

"I love it," said Winfield Swetman. "Just a couple of minutes down the road and you don't have to travel anywhere. No hassle and you get to have a nice night out."

Peggy Gore said, "We're going to have a local team to cheer for. I can't wait. We were originally from Virginia and we were Baltimore Orioles fans. We are so excited that Biloxi is going to have a ball team. We're so excited. We can't wait."

It's not just the homeruns and no hitters that people are excited to see. Fans are predicting baseball to bring new energy to the Gulf Coast.

"We used to live up in Jackson and went to minor league games there. We lived in Atlanta and went to Braves games over there," said Joey Bennett. "We're excited about this coming to Biloxi to make a difference down here. It brought everybody together. Something to cheer for. We love the Saints but good to have a local team that we can all get behind."

Former New Orleans Saint Deuce McAlister was at the event. He said watching pro athletes take the field encourages big dreams.

"Whether it's activities for kids particularly on a professional level it gives them the opportunity to see they can make it as well," McAlister said. "These guys will be staying here in the state of Mississippi playing on the Gulf Coast so I think it's great. They'll be in the community and they'll do different things in the community so hopefully that bond between the team as well as its fans will be very tight."

Irishman John Doran isn't a baseball fan but he'd like to be. So he's already planning a trip back to Biloxi.

"Never seen a baseball game in my life. They don't have baseball in Ireland," Doran said. "I definitely want to come back. I would love to see a game. I'd love to see the opening game."

The game plan is to throw out the first pitch in April 2015.

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