Sure, Victor Ramos would like to be in Houston right now, joining his Marshall teammates at the Conference USA tournament.
But he was ineligible this season, so he remained in West Virginia as the Thundering Herd made their way to the Lone Star State.
That’s OK. Ramos’ time will come soon.
In about, say, nine days.
Ramos is here in Beckley preparing to help usher in a new era of baseball. He was one of 10 West Virginia Miners at the team’s first workout Wednesday at Linda K. Epling Stadium.
“It’s exciting. I was anxious all year to get here and now it feels like I’m finally back on track,” a smiling Ramos said. “This past year, sitting out and watching everybody (else) play — and I am very happy for Marshall’s success. They are playing in the conference tournament and I wish I was there with them.
“But I am very happy to be here in Beckley. I’m lucky.
“The people I have met here are very friendly and it’s a good environment to get back into.”
Miners manager Tim Epling was expecting two more players to report Wednesday evening and others to trickle in by the weekend. Many players — including Marshall’s Kyle Blank and Kevin Shackelford — are still with their college teams during conference tournament week.
One player will be unable to report until he is done with finals — on June 11.
Ten players or a full roster, Epling was thrilled to get the first day in.
“It feels good just being out here to throw a little bit and hit a little bit,” he said. “To get to know the guys, basically. Right now and in the next week, my main job is just to figure out their personalities and get to know the players.”
This will be West Virginia’s inaugural season, but the Prospect League team is full of proven winners.
Jeff McNeely, a 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher from LaFayette, Ind., just completed his first season at Lincoln Trail Community College, which lost in the JUCO Division I Region 24 championship game last season.
“I want to play (against) the best guys so we can be the best we can be,” McNeely said.
Outfielder Andrew Weaver comes to Beckley via Bluefield (Va.) College, which won the 2009 National Christian College Athletic Association championship. The Rams lost in the title game this season.
“I looked at the pictures they sent us and have been on the website,” Weaver said. “The last two months the anticipation really crept up. I wanted to be here. It’s incredible. I’ve been here two days and they are treating me like a king already. I like the experience already and we haven’t even started playing yet.”
The Miners will hold a free public workout at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The practice will begin after completion of the Upper Deck Middle School league tournament and should last about an hour and a half. Fans may come onto the field to meet the players and get their autographs after practice.
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