After two long years of waiting, the Capitales de Québec will finally play their first game in the Frontier League, near Chicago, this evening, against the Windy City Thunderbolts.
The Capitals were due to enter it in 2020, after the dissolution of the Can-Am League in which they won seven championships.
But the season was canceled due to the pandemic, then sanitary measures forced the organization to abandon the Capitals during the next one to set up Team Quebec. Finally see them again.
"We can't wait to play as Capitales de Québec, our team that we've built," admits manager Patrick Scalabrini. It's our first real year in the Frontier League and, unlike last year, we know when we come back [to Stade Canac], so it's much more positive. »
It's not just the Capitals' official debut that has been so satisfying in Scalabrini's eyes. There is also the formation he will present on the field, a team of big hitters that he "loves a lot".
"It's rare that I say it so early in the season, because usually I have some concerns," said the manager. We have fewer obvious weaknesses or positions to fill than in the past.
We will not be perfect, far from it, he adds. But, initially, I had concerns about our succession and, over the past 10 days, the returns of Andrew Case and Marshall Shill have solidified this position. »
12 points ? 14 points ?
A few weeks ago, Scalabrini promised exciting performances for Capitals fans, "with several big guys who have a history of hitting the long ball".
A camp does not make a season, but what he has seen of his proteges in the last few days has confirmed his aspirations.
It will be our identity. With T.J. White [2019 team MVP] added in the last few days, we're going to be fun to watch. »
Beyond the spectacular baseball that these big hitters are likely to produce, Scalabrini recalls that Team Quebec began its rise in the standings last year when the players started hitting.
It is therefore an asset that can prove invaluable in the Frontier League, and, in particular, in the Eastern section.
The mound in Cienfuegos
Miguel Cienfuegos will be on the mound Friday night against the Thunderbolts. An honor that rightfully belonged to the 25-year-old Quebec gunner, says Scalabrini.
Last year with Team Quebec, in his first year as a professional, the left-handed pitcher compiled a 9-6 record and posted an earned run average of 3.78.
“As young as he is, Miguel is a leader in the team, a guy appreciated by all, underlines the manager of the Capitals. He deserved it with his performances last year. It's not only that he's been good all year, but also that he's continued to improve. »
Waiting for the Cubans
Scalabrini already loves his team, but he can say he loves them "a lot" once he has his former shortstop Yordan Manduley, outfielder Yoelkis Guibert and starter Carlos Sano with him.
Both Manduley and Guibert, two Cuban players, and Sano, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, have been waiting for their work visas for a while.
The manager was hoping to be able to count on them for the return to Stade Canac on May 24, against the Gateway Grizzlies, but he is resigned to having to wait a little longer.