AUBURN — While the front office hosted an open practice, it was business as usual on the field for the Auburn Doubledays.
The team played a simulated game for a little more than an hour, which is normal for day two or three of minicamp, at Falcon Park Tuesday. For Doubledays manager Jerad Head, it's all about following the process to get his team ready for opening night Friday against Batavia.
"We just came out here today and got a lot of work in. It's a beautiful day," Head said. "We're making sure the pitchers see live batters and get used to the field, the mound, etc. and we're getting our guys some live at-bats. Overall, it went well and we'll do another short one tomorrow."
Head is in his third season at the helm for the Doubledays. Each season's minicamp has followed roughly the same pattern with some minor tweaks.
"Obviously, you're going to be more comfortable as the time goes on in a certain spot," Head said. "We were talking about it today, and this was basically the same schedule we had in year one. Going into it, I'm probably a little more comfortable as a manager, but at the same time we're taking care of business and doing stuff every day to try and get these guys better."
Off the field, the Doubledays front office welcomed in fans for the open practice. Auburn general manager Adam Winslow and his staff showed off the expanded deck, the new party platforms and some of the other changes heading into the 2018 season.
Winslow estimated the crowd to be around 60 people, but he said it was a success even if only three people showed up.
"Really the goal was to get the staff acclimated to their surroundings. As you know, we've got new staff every year," Winslow said. "It got us to hustle a little bit, but at the same time, we gave a little bit of a taste to any fans who wanted to come watch and see what we've had."
Winslow, who was rehired by the Doubledays before the 2017 season, believes his staff is further ahead than last year because they've had more time to prepare. Still, there's some fine-tuning to be done before they open the gates — and even after that — on Friday.
"Friday is coming whether we like it or not in the timeframe it's coming," Winslow said. "We'll definitely be ready — I don't think there's any question. Will there be some behind the scenes stuff we'll need to improve on as the night goes on and the staff learns on their first day here? Of course. That's what it's all about.
"We'll put on a nice show for everybody. There's no doubt."