ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Students from Longleaf Elementary school welcomed Pensacola Blue Wahoos players Griffin Conine and Will Banfield, hitting coach Matt Snyder and their mascot, Kazoo, at Thursday morning’s assembly.
Members of the team came out to promote literacy week, which starts next week for Escambia County Public Schools.
The students read the Pensacola Blue Wahoos book Kazoo Makes the Team with the help of the team’s mascot.
“Just being around kids, they have the most pure enthusiasm for baseball,” said outfielder Conine. “For everything, really for life. So it’s just fun and refreshing to get to be a part of it. To get to be a part of the energy.”
As part of the team’s reading program, students at participating schools are given bookmarks with first, second, third and home bases, advancing to the next base each time they finish a book. Finishing four books and earning a ‘home run’ allows the students to trade in their bookmark for a free ticket to a Pensacola Blue Wahoos game, growing the fan base one book at a time.
“The fan base is crazy,” said catcher Banfield. “Crazy supportive. We’re out there every single day and they cheer us on, and they make sure we know they’re there every single time, so can’t thank them enough.”
The Blue Wahoos will be hosting their second annual Fish Fest Thursday night with stadium tours and an opportunity to meet with the Miami Marlins prospects.
“Hopefully we can inspire some enthusiasm and get them out to the park,” said Conine. “Especially living in Pensacola with such a great stadium and team to get behind. I Just hope we can foster their enthusiasm.”
The Blue Wahoos will open their season at home on April 7 against the Montgomery Biscuits.