[This article was written by Nick Hanson, one of our Charlotte Stone Crabs correspondents. He attended the Stone Crabs Media Night on Tuesday night, where he took this picture and spoke with Alex Cobb.]
The Charlotte Stone Crabs will begin their existence tonight at Charlotte Sports Park, and righthander Alex Cobb will be the first to toe the rubber for the club. Cobb has known he will deliver the first pitch for the franchise for over a week, but the honor still amazes him. "It's a huge honor, and it means a lot. It's an honor to get a place in history here," said Cobb.
He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 draft by the then Devil Rays, and has steadily worked his way through the lower levels of the organization. He began his professional career in 2006 for rookie-level Princeton, appearing in six games (one start) but not recording a decision. In 2007, he moved up to short-season A-ball Hudson Valley, where he started 16 games, compiling a 5-6 record with a 3.54 ERA. Last season, he pitched for low class-A Columbus, where his record was a solid 9-7 with a 3.29 ERA, striking out 97 in 139.2 innings.
However, Cobb won't be thinking about the past as he begins a new future for Port Charlotte. "This place has been top class, and it just can't get any better," said Cobb. His goals are mostly identical to any pitcher, but he has a great shot of reaching them. "I want to go out every day and compete, stay strong, become a more well-rounded player, and step my game up," said Cobb. "You can never take this for granted, and I've been working hard to get this [opening night starter] honor."
Cobb will oppose Alex Burnett tonight, with first pitch at 7:35 p.m. from Charlotte Sports Park.