Chipola college has a rich tradition in athletics, and has one of the richest in baseball. Several big names returning over the weekend for the baseball program's 6th Annual Alumni Weekend. The biggest of those stars? Jose Bautista- a two time major league baseball home run leader, who donned an Indian uniform in 2000 and 2001. Bautista is a three time MLB All-Star, and says remembering where he came from- and giving back -is very important to him.
"It's one of those things where once you accomplish certain things in your professional career and life, you just feel like you want to make an impact and you want to make sure that your name is remembered because you have a legacy and you did good things for the community and for those that come behind you," said Bautista Saturday. "I understand that our future is our younger people, and anyway that I can help, I always try to get involved and help in anyway that I can."
Another great guy taking part in Saturday's festivities was Jeff Mathis, and while Mathis didn't attend Chipola, he did graduate from Marianna High School. Mathis spends his offseason training with the Indians. Mathis was part of a massive trade deal in November between Toronto and Miami, and reports to Spring Training on Monday, and says he's excited to begin his new adventure with the Marlins.
"I'm excited to be back in the state of Florida," said Mathis. "It's the first time I've played in the state, and I'll be closer to family, so I'm really excited about that. I'm lucky enough to be able to come and work out with Chipola every year for my off season workouts. It's fun to see everybody come back to participate in an event like this."