The Florida A&M University Baseball Team will begin their season mourning the recent death of former player, Antonio Burke.
The death of Burke will not stop the Rattlers from preparing for a victorious season.
Last year the Rattlers finished 24-29 overall and 10-8 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Rattlers hope to improve on their record this season.
Jared Jeffries, a junior Criminal Justice student from Lithonia, Georgia is guaranteeing that the team is going to have a record of over .500 this season.
As always the team will have returning veterans looking to improve on their performance from last season.
This season two new players, Heath Blackburn and Jimmy Terrell, are expecting to make an immediate impact on the team.
“They recruited me and I basically wanted to help out the program and I got a scholarship,” said Blackburn, a freshman from Tallahassee studying health science and physical therapy.
Terrell factored in education along with his desire to improve his game when choosing Florida A&M’s baseball team.
“I came to FAMU to expand my baseball horizons because I felt like at my other school I wasn’t getting the education that I yearn for,” said Terrell, a junior transfer student from Atlanta Christian College.
“I felt like coming here would help my attitude for the game to increase and also being around players that are better or are on my level. I felt like I could increase my game play by being around players like that.”
Veterans are also confident that the new additions to the team will be positive ones.
“There are a lot of key components from the new players,” said Jeffries. “They make the team better and they also provide a future for the team next year and the year to follow.”
Blackburn is expecting nothing less than total success with his new two.
“My personal goal is to get in as many innings as I can and being a freshman, just doing the best that I can to help the team out,” said Blackburn. “Just being a pitcher brings a lot to the team.”
The Famuan reported during the fall 2009 semester about issues with team’s work ethic and practice habits. The issues came to a head when head coach Robert Lucas chose to throw his own team off the baseball diamond.
“When Coach Lucas kicked us off the field, I think it opened our eyes,” said Terrell. “We have to take it more seriously and it did bring us together as a team. We had a couple of scoffs, but nothing physical. Through all the hard times it brought us closer together.”
The baseball team is now working harder than ever and looking forward to their upcoming season. Their first game is Feb. 19, 2010 against Richmond University.