BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Birmingham Barons' visit to MGM Park this past week seemed like just another road trip for some, but not to their starting right fielder, Mason Robbins.
"It's been a good experience," Robbins said. "My family only lives about 45 to 50 minutes away, a lot of people who haven't seen me play since I was in high school and college get to come and see me play."
The former George County and Southern Miss standout making his first professional appearance on the Coast, truly bringing his baseball career full circle.
"I would say (it's come full circle)" Robbins said. "A lot of guys don't get that opportunity, they're always playing hundreds of thousands of miles away from home. I'm just blessed, really, to be able to come so close to home and be in a league where we play at three or four places that are within two hours from home and they get to come see me play."
Robbins' success should come as no surprise. The 2011 Mississippi Mr. Baseball was a key force for the Rebels at the plate and on the mound, earning himself a 20th round draft pick by the New York Mets before heading off to Southern Miss for college.
One of his George County coaches, Brooks McKay, saw Robbins' potential early on.
"There was no doubt," McKay said. "Mason started in eighth grade for George County High School, obviously he had a great career at George County High School. There was no doubt from a very young age that Mason was going to be a huge success in baseball."
"It was great," Robbins said of his formative years in South Mississippi. "I had great high school coaches growing up, and I had a great coaching staff at Southern (Miss) too. Some of the best coaches and the best people you can ask for."
Going in the 25th round of the 2014 draft, Robbins now finds himself in his fourth season with the White Sox organization, batting .272 with with 26 runs batted in.
"I'm loving it every day," Robbins said. "Any time you get to wake up every morning and play baseball, it's a fun opportunity. Just gotta take it day by day really, and just try to do better than you did the day before."
"You're so proud for him and you know how much hard work they put into it to get there," McKay said. "It's great to come out here and get to see him showcase his talent here in Double A. I can't take any credit for his baseball skills. He's a natural-born baseball player."