JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Each week during the offseason Suns radio and television broadcaster Roger Hoover will catch up with a member of the 2013 Jacksonville Suns to get their memories of baseball at Bragan Field this past summer.
The next guest is a player that made plenty of headlines in 2013, outfielder Jake Marisnick. The native of Riverside, Calif., joined the Marlins organization this past offseason as part of the 12-player swap between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Marlins.
Although he began the season on the disabled list, Marisnick shined during his time with the Suns from early May to late July. In 67 games, Marisnick hit .294 with 12 homers and 46 RBI and was named to the 2013 Southern League South Division All-Star Team, and participated in the Home Run Derby at Bragan Field.
Among the highlights of Marisnick's season was a two grand slam game against Pensacola on May 31 that landed him on ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10 Plays, and a walk off homer against the Blue Wahoos in Jacksonville on July 2.
Marisnick was called up to the Marlins on July 22 along with Suns teammate Christian Yelich, and in 40 big league games hit .183 with a homer and five RBI.
Here is this week's "My Season as a Sun" with Jake Marisnick:
Hoover: First of all Jake it was a big offseason for you, making the transition from the Blue Jays to the Marlins with the trade. What were you doing when you heard about the trade and what was your reaction to joining the Marlins?
Marisnick: I was actually in the Arizona Fall League when it happened. I was with a lot of Blue Jays guys and I got a call when it was put together and they broke the news. It was just very surprising, very shocking.
Hoover: Then you got to spring training and started to get to know your new Marlins teammates and playing in some big league games, how did you feel about breaking in with a new club?
Marisnick: It was a good time getting to meet all those new guys. Anytime you get a chance to meet new people and see a different organization it's a cool feeling; seeing how they go about their business and seeing a different culture as opposed to when I was with the Blue Jays.
Hoover: In spring training you also got hurt and that delayed the start to your season, was it frustrating not getting to carry over the positive momentum from your play in big league games to a field right away in April?
Marisnick: Yeah it was definitely pretty frustrating. Like you said I was feeling good at the plate in spring training and for that to happen it was pretty tough. In the long run it didn't affect me too much, I was able to get back out and get my feet under me and get after it.
Hoover: We heard all offseason about the possibility of "dream outfield" of you, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna playing with the Suns, and even though we never saw all three of you out there together at the same time with Jacksonville, what were some of your impressions of those guys when you did get to see them?
Marisnick: I had seen them in spring training a little bit, and my first impressions of them were awesome. They are both great players and the best part about them is they are both great people, good to hang around with.
Hoover: You made it to the Suns in early May and got to work with your manager Andy Barkett and hitting coach Kevin Randel, what did you like about the ball club when you first joined it?
Marisnick: I liked the camaraderie we had. Everybody played together and had fun and just the way everybody treated each other it was awesome. The big thing was we just had a lot of fun out there, and that's huge when it comes down to playing every day. I loved Andy Barkett. He was down to earth, he was honest with you and would tell you what's going on and how he felt about your performance. That's all you can ask for in a manager, somebody that's straight up with you.
Hoover: One of the biggest nights you had as a Sun was on May 31 at Pensacola when you hit two grand slams and tied a Southern League record with nine RBI. It also came at a time when the Suns needed to score runs, what was that whole experience like for you getting both of those big homers and also being on SportsCenter and doing a lot of interviews?
Marisnick: It was a little surreal. It's something you dream about, and it's by far one of the best games I've ever had. The team was struggling at the time, we weren't scoring a lot of runs so to be able to do that and pick up steam a little bit was a cool feeling.
Hoover: That led into a good stretch of homers for not only you but Kyle Jensen as well, especially at home. What did you like about playing at Bragan Field and patrolling that large outfield?
Marisnick: Running around the big centerfield, there was a lot of ground to cover and I had a lot of fun doing it. The fans in Jacksonville were awesome as well, they were out there in the outfield cheering us on and joke with us so it was a lot of fun.
Hoover: Also another good memory for you came on July 2 when you hit a walk homer to win a game against the Blue Wahoos at Bragan Field, was that your first walk off?
Marisnick: First one ever. It was a lot of fun.
Hoover: You were one of several players to represent the Suns at the Southern League All-Star Game in Jacksonville on July 17, you must have been proud to wear that jersey at the home park for that big event.
Marisnick: It was awesome, especially playing for the home crowd and the way they treated me there and treated the rest of the Suns, it was a lot of fun. The home run derby was special, it was the first one I had ever participated in and I was pretty excited about it.
Hoover: Then it wasn't long after that, the Suns were in Tennessee facing the Smokies and you and Christian were both taken out of a game early on July 22 and it looked like you were going to the big leagues but did you know at the time that your time with Jacksonville was over?
Marisnick: No we had to wait a little bit, but kind of when you see somebody coming out of the game like that you know what's going on. They didn't tell us right away so we had to hang around and wait and see what was going to happen. Then after the game they ended up telling us and that was one of the best feelings of my life.
Hoover: It was also interesting that you and Christian were called up at the same, and you guys became fast friends in spring training, how was it getting called up together and then the next day getting to travel from Tennessee to Colorado and wearing that Marlins uniform for the first time?
Marisnick: He was one of the first guys I met in spring training, so getting to know him there and spending a lot of time with him in Double-A, so to get the call the same day was crazy. So that next day getting to travel together to Colorado, it was an unbelievable experience.
Hoover: About a week later you got your first home run against the Mets, what was it like seeing that ball going over the fence knowing you had your first major league home run?
Marisnick: It was crazy, I couldn't really feel my legs running around the bases, it was fun. Then I got back to the dugout and I got the silent treatment from my teammates, so it was a good experience, it was awesome.
Hoover: What were some of the biggest adjustments you had to make going from Double-A to the majors?
Marisnick: Just consistency. You have to go out there and you have to bring the same game every day, and that's what big leaguers do so well. It was definitely a good thing for me to be able to see what the competition's like and the adjustments I need to make. To have the rest of this offseason to get better will be huge for me.
Hoover: Getting to finish the year with the Marlins, is it exciting to know that you're part of a young core of players that can help get this team from the bottom of the standings to the top?
Marisnick: Yeah we have a young group of guys and to be able to see what we can do was good. When everyone really matures as players it's going to be a fun team to watch.
Hoover: Any plans for the offseason?
Marisnick: I don't have a whole lot planned, just spending a lot of time with the family, just kind of going here and there. I'll probably head back to Florida around February.
For the latest Suns news this offseason, fans are encouraged to visit www.jaxsuns.com and can keep up with the Jacksonville Suns on the club's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram social media platforms, as well as the "Tales from Bragan Field" blog: www.sunsradio.com.