Catcher Clint Sammons is in his third year as a player for the Triple-A Braves. He is also going into his second year of playing in a unique situation - playing professional baseball in his hometown.
"It's pretty neat," Sammons said. "There are not a whole lot of people that get the chance to do something like this. Whether I'm here or in Atlanta, it's an easy drive for my parents and all my family and friends that want to see me play."
Gwinnett County, GA is the home to some of the top high school sports teams in the state and Sammons is very familiar with it. He played at Parkview High School along with current Gwinnett Brave Tim Gustafson and former Atlanta Brave Jeff Francoeur.
"It's just fun to have friends around," Sammons said. "Guys that you're familiar with from a while ago and who have known you for a long time. My first time going to Atlanta and having Francoeur there, with him being a big friend of mine, it made the transition easier because I felt like I had somebody up there that could take care of me and show me what I needed to do. I try to do the same with [Gustafson] and hopefully we can play in the big leagues together at some point too."
Being that Sammons has been around longer than other players in the locker room, he is seen as a leader is the clubhouse and a spokesperson for the team to fans.
"I think it helps when you've got a few guys that have been around for a few years that can make these younger guys more around the clubhouse and can show them the ropes of the league," Sammons said. "Obviously being from around here, people tend to know your name more - especially in my case being from Gwinnett. I think that there are a lot of fans that have known me a lot longer than some of these [players]. That just kind of comes with the program."
When asked to compare this year's team to last year's, Sammons seemed excited about the possibilities.
"I think this team is interesting," Sammons said. "We've got a lot of young talent. With Freeman and Hicks and those guys here, I think it's exciting to have some youth going through the clubhouse. We had a really good team here last year. Talent-wise I think we can compete with that team this year as well."