The 21st season of modern day Canaries baseball in Sioux Falls starts this week with the opening pitch Thursday night in Sioux City and the home opener Friday night.

The American Association team opened the doors at Sioux Falls Baseball Stadium Tuesday for Media Day.

ESPN 99.1's Jeff Harkness talked with the skipper, first about the biggest change off the field, the return to the Canaries moniker from Pheasants.

Shirley has seen just about every kind of season in his seven previous yeas at the helm in Sioux Falls, from an American Association championship in 2008, to a runner-up finish in 2010, to back-to-back losing seasons in 2011 and 2012.

The 2013 Canaries roster features a host of familiar faces back on the pitching staff, where four of the eleven pitchers (Ben Moore, Jack VanLeur, Kyle Ruwe, and Alan DeRatt) have previous Sioux Falls experience, with a fifth (Mitchell Clegg) expected to join the team soon.

Offensively, the Birds are looking for an influx of power from newly acquired infielder Jared Clark, who hit 24 home runs in the Rockies organization last season.  Clark has twice been named a MiLB.com Organization All-Star.

Just a pair of position players had played with the franchise before, infielders Cory Morales and Jake Taylor, which means Shirley is trying to learn a lot about his team in just two exhibition games and a handful of practices.

After the opener at Sioux City Thursday, the Canaries play six straight at home starting Friday night with three against the Explorers, and, after a day off Monday, three with St. Paul.