BRISTOL - Since the beginning of the season, the Bristol Blues players have had a 32-man group chat on their phones going throughout the summer.
Each time someone leaves the team and a new player arrives, the guys remove the former player and add the new one into the chat.
“It’s like a revolving door,” Blues second baseman Kyle Maves said.
Later in the season, it seems like that door was spinning at warp speed, but due to the Blues’ welcoming nature, the transition has been easier for new arrivals all season.
“The guys who have been here the whole summer, any time we bring another piece in, they accept him with open arms,” Blues manager Ronnie Palmer said.
In July, the Blues released 10 players from the team, most of them due to injuries, and the organization signed nine players in their place. That includes signing five new pitchers during a one-week span in early July and the latest signings of pitchers Noah Budzik, Shane Bogli and Jagger Duquette.
“It’s obviously tough to come in when a team’s three-quarters of the way through the season and try to have an impact and be with the guys who have been together all summer,” Maves said. “But I think they’re doing a good job getting acclimated. … I think they’re doing a really good job of just getting to know the guys and stuff like that.”
The new players have also smoothly entered the clubhouse because of what had already been established this summer.
“It’s just a really good camaraderie and culture we have,” Palmer said. “I think that makes it easier when you have these pitchers that are just getting here this week or last week. They feel like they’ve been here all summer because that’s how the guys have treated them.”
One of the reasons, of course, some of the players could be more welcoming at times is if the players are doing their job effectively and efficiently. That’s one of the reasons Blues outfielder Brandon Miller was impressed following a 14-0 win over the Nashua Silver Knights on July 24.
“We welcomed them with open arms. You come in, do your job, and that’s pretty much it. Most of them have been doing a good job,” Miller said. “We had the new dude today. It was absurd. That’s just what we need out of those guys.”
The “new dude” Miller was referring to could have been one of two people, either Tyler Boisvert or Peyton Stephens.
Boisvert threw six two-hit innings and did not allow a run while firing six strikeouts and allowed just one walk that night, and Stephens pitched two hitless innings and racked up six strikeouts with three walks against Nashua.
Either way, both were impressive after having recently been brought onto the roster.
“They don’t really know any of the guys here. They’re just coming in here and they’re just ready to play,” Miller said of the new arrivals. “You’ve just gotta show up, lace the cleats up and play the sport you know how to play.”
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org