ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. — A new season is upon us. For the next 71 days, the Appalachian League is set to entertain the masses and maybe even better, resume the rivalries that add a little more heat to our summer nights.
At first glance, it doesn’t seem like rivalries would exist much in a league where most players are here for one season then gone on to higher levels. The reality, though, is that a couple players are back each year, and they take it upon themselves to let the new guys who the enemy is.
It seems this year the early banner is being taken up by the Elizabethton Twins over the Johnson City Cardinals. The Cards won a somewhat controversial playoff series in Betsy a year ago, then won the championship, and the returning Twins still remember.
“I’ve told them. I’ve told them who we want this year and who we want to get rid of,” said Twins pitcher Dereck Rodriguez. “It should be fun. It should be fun, and those guys 15 minutes away, that should be a good rivalry. I want to play those guys already, especially they beat us here and the way they won. We want it back.”