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Marlins Prospects Berry, Buxton Impact As Blue Wahoos Players On Area School Visit 

Blue Wahoos players Jacob Berry, far right, and Ike Buxton, along with Blue Wahoos mascot Kazoo and broadcaster/media relations director Erik Bremer impacted hundreds of kids on visit to Pensacola's Ferry Pass Elementary School on Jan. 18. (Photo by Jessica Voigt/Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
January 30, 2024

As a kid growing up in Arizona, Jacob Berry remembered the times he was star-struck meeting college baseball players at a clinic or a school visit. “We didn’t have professional athletes come in, so we had college (athletes) and I thought it was the coolest thing, because that is something

As a kid growing up in Arizona, Jacob Berry remembered the times he was star-struck meeting college baseball players at a clinic or a school visit.

“We didn’t have professional athletes come in, so we had college (athletes) and I thought it was the coolest thing, because that is something I wanted to do at that age,” said Berry, the Miami Marlins top draft pick in 2022 during his recent visit to Pensacola for the annual Fish Fest event.

He’s now able to share that inspiration with a future generation.

Berry, a former LSU star, who played the second half of last season with the Blue Wahoos and will likely be part of the team’s opening day roster on April 5, was able to participate in a school visit to Ferry Pass Elementary School, along with seeing kids at the HCA Florida West Hospital.

Joined by pitcher Ike Buxton, another one of the Marlins’ Top 30 rated prospects and expected to be part of the Blue Wahoos starting rotation, the duo spent part of their day on Jan. 18 participating in community service and putting smiles on kids’ faces.

“Such a cool experience,” said Berry, who is preparing for the start of spring training in mid-February. “I’m really grateful that the position we are in that we are able to give back to the community and the kids in that way.”

Ike Buxton and Jacob Berry sign autographs for fans during the Blue Wahoos annual Fish Fest event on Jan.18 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.Bill Vilona/Pensacola Blue Wahoos

The two players visited the school and hospital that day with Kazoo, the Blue Wahoos mascot, along with Erik Bremer, the Blue Wahoos manager of broadcasting and media relations director, along with group sales executive Emily Mann.

The addressed two mass groups of school children in ages kindergarten through second grade, then a separate assembly with grades third through fifth grade.

“I think the little kids were a little overwhelmed by having us there,” Buxton said, laughing. “Having the mascot (Kazoo) there was cool and that definitely got interesting looks. You can see their reactions were pretty special.

“We got some good questions from the older kids at the elementary school. I sure know that when I was younger I would have been so excited to see some ballplayers and to pick their brains.

“Being a big baseball fan myself as a kid, I can’t believe what I am doing right now, so I hope there’s some future ballplayers in this community and I think there sure will be.”

The events that day culminated with Blue Wahoos fans visiting the stadium for the Fish Fest events. The players unveiled the new black uniform combination they will wear that incorporates the Miami Marlins own design.

“They are pretty special,” said Buxton. “I was talking to some of the staff here about designing them. I have always enjoyed the black jerseys.

“I love the hats and I think the pink outline is great. It’s a great touch to the equipment we already have, and it sure is nice to come out and preview these for what the community has in store this season”

Miami Marlins prospects, Blue Wahoos members Jacob Berry (4) and Ike Buxton visit with a teenage patient in care at HCA Florida West Hospital on Jan. 18 during the players visit to town for Fish Fest.Erik Bremer/Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Spring training for the Marlins and all of the organization’s minor league players begins with pitchers and catchers reporting Feb. 15 to the Marlins spring training complex in Jupiter, located 15 miles north of West Palm Beach off Interstate-95. The first full squad workout is Feb. 20.

The first Marlins spring training Grapefruit League game is Feb. 24 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Berry and Buxton both figure to get playing time in late innings of the spring training games.

The players who will comprise the Blue Wahoos opening day roster will arrive on Easter weekend (March 30-31) in Pensacola in preparation for two exhibition games on April 2-3 at Blue Wahoos Stadium against the Monterrey Sultanes, a member of the Mexican Professional Baseball League in a historic first for both organizations.

Berry hopes his time in Pensacola will help continue the team’s success. The Blue Wahoos won the Southern League title in 2022 and reached the championship game series in back-to-back years last season.

“I loved coming down here after the all-star break. The fans were awesome,” said Berry, who sustained a foot injury that prevented him from playing in the post-season. He then played in the Arizona Fall League in October, giving him a chance to play before hometown fans.

“It’s so good to have seen a bunch of purple and gold out in the stands here (Blue Wahoos Stadium) with LSU fans. I had a great time here in Pensacola,” Berry said. “We had a winning team, so it was fun to play with them and obviously to play for a championship and hopefully we’re doing the same thing this year.”