ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A quick scan of the St. Paul Saints roster is sure to include some notable names, and this year is no different with "Dante Bichette" listed to open the season.
No, a four-time MLB All-Star is not playing at CHS Field this year, but Dante Bichette Jr will be.
“I’m excited,” Bichette Jr. told FOX 9. “I heard this is ‘the most fun you’ll ever have playing baseball.’”
As the son of an icon and a first round selection by the Yankees in 2011, high expectations have not necessarily equaled on-field success for Bichette Jr. He’s floated around the minor league level but has never played beyond Double-A ball.
“It’s been a little crazy,” Bichette said of his baseball journey. “It’s been up, it’s been down, back up and back down.”
Now in the American Association, Bichette Jr. is trying a new position in hopes of catching more MLB eyes.
“I’m behind the dish now, so that is going to be a new journey,” Bichette Jr. says. “I want to catch because I want to show that I can do that.”
“He’ll get a chance to catch here, play third base here, play first base here,” Saints manager George Tsamis said. “It’s up to the players. If you do a good job, you’re going to play.”
Having the same name as a well-known baseball player can play into added pressure too, but Bichette says it’s been a pleasure to have his dad there as he navigates his own path to Major League Baseball.
“Having my dad be able to work with me and give me what he sees is better than anything I could ask for, really,” Bichette Jr. said.
Bichette’s career is a winding road.
He’s trekked across the country and across oceans, playing in Taiwan and Australia. Each detour on the road to the Majors is a tough one to deal with.
“Baseball, if you let it, can suck some of the life out of you,” Bichette Jr. said. “It’s a grind. It really is.”
On this stop, he’s making it a priority to enjoy the ride, and maybe a reset in St. Paul will be just the spark for Dante to catch fire once again.
“More than anything, I want to come out here and actually enjoy playing baseball,” Bichette Jr. said. “When you’re having fun, your abilities come out and that’s what we should see.”