Asheville Tourists Baseball

Much like their counterparts on the Tennessee side of the Smokies (The Tennessee Smokies), the Asheville Tourists were the 2012 league champions in the Class A South Atlantic League.  This championship team with the odd name supplies the people of Asheville and Western North Carolina with some of the finest baseball that you will ever see in the state of North Carolina.

Baseball in Asheville dates back to 1897.  Back then the team was part oft he North Carolina team and though there were certainly breaks in the history of baseball in Western North Carolina (World War I for instance), baseball has been alive and well in the city of Asheville for well over 100 years.  Owners have changed, players have changed and the teams that use the minor league teams in Asheville to farm their new talent from have changed but the fact that Asheville has a great history with the sport has never changed.  Currently, the team which has been based out of Asheville since 1984 and has had the name the Tourists since well before that point, is a farm team for the Colorado Rockies.  They are owned by former US Senator Mike DeWine and his son Brian DeWine is the team president.

The Asheville Tourists have a couple of interesting pieces of trivia:

  1. They are the only professional sports team that has the word ‘Visitors’ over the visiting team on the scoreboard and ‘Tourists’ over the home teams side of the scoreboard.
  2. They also got a mention in the movie Bull Durham.  They were the team that Crash Davis finishes his career at after he lives the Durham Bulls.

Asheville Tourists Mission Statement:

To provide the families and residents of Western North Carolina a special and affordable place to make memories together experiencing America’s Past Time. To intertwine the Great Game of Baseball with the community through charitable acts and community involvement. To pass the game onto the next generation and enhance the quality of life in the community, thus remembering why baseball truly is America’s Past Time.

The Asheville Tourists play ball at McCormick Field.  This field was built in 1924 and was named after a local doctor.  The baseball stadium seats around 4,000 people.  The field was renovated in 1992 and the right field wall was heightened to about 36 feet which almost as tall as the Green Monster at legendary Fewnway Park.  This is one of the great ball fields in minor league baseball.

If you are visiting the Smoky Mountains, stop by the Asheville Tourists and take in a game.  Spend the day with a ball park hot dog in your hand and a smile on your face.

Asheville Tourists
30 Buchanan Place
Asheville, NC

Knoxville Ice Bears

The ice glows as you walk into the arena.  You can feel the coolness of the rink seep into your bones.  You take your seats and get ready for the action.  The Ice Bears take the ice, the adrenaline starts pumping through the crowd.  The puck starts flying and if you are lucky, you might even get to see a fight.

The Knoxville Ice Bears, a professional hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League, have been thrilling locals and visitors alike in Knoxville, TN since 2002.  Since the date of their establishment they have won four William B Coffey Trophies (as regular season champs) and they have won three President’s Cups (playoff champions).  The Ice Bears bring a fun and aggressive playing style to the ice that the people of Knoxville and East Tennessee have embraced.  Of course, the fact that their home ice is located so near downtown Knoxville doesn’t hurt.  With plenty of parking at the Civic Coliseum getting in to see a game is easy.

And the Knoxville fans love to go see this team.  Part of the fun of an Ice Bears game is seeing the fans get into the action.  Shouting for the home town players, encouraging the stars on the ice and having a great time.  If you start going to a lot of games you will find that the number of season pass holders almost always outweighs the people that are first time visitors.  These folks will suck you in with their passion for the team and their love of the game.

Also, if you are looking for a great night out, you could do a lot worse than a night at the rink with the Ice Bears.  This is a professional team.  This is a great team.  The action is always exciting, the team plays until the bell at every game, win or lose and of course it is not an expensive night out.  Tickets, at the door, start at $12.  This is for standard seating, which is fantastic, you can get closer tot he ice and even find seating behind the glass but it is always necessary if you want closer seating to call ahead or go to their website and check out the available seating for the day you are wanting to attend.  Spend the evening with a great professional hockey team here in the Smoky Mountains.  Get out and enjoy one of the best sporting events that Knoxville and East Tennessee has to offer.

Tennessee Smokies

Tennessee SmokiesThe Tennessee Smokies play their home games in Kodak, Tn and are the Double-A minor league affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs. Located between Knoxville and Sevierville, Tn in the small town of Kodak is Smokies Park. Smokies Park opened in 2000 and can hold up to 8,000 spectators. Fans knew the team as the Knoxville Smokies prior to 2000.

The “Smokies” nickname refers to the Great Smoky Mountains, which the town of Kodak lays at the foot of. The Smoky Mountains got their name because of its hazy mist that gives the appearance of smoke rising from the mountains. It was named “Shaconage” for the blue-gray haze by the Cherokee centuries ago.

Prior to 2005, the Smokies were the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals and prior to that were affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cardinals later purchased the El Paso Diablos, which had been the Arizona Diamondbacks’ AA affiliate, and the Diamondbacks retained the Smokies as their new AA affiliate. The Chicago Cubs reached a deal with the Smokies through the 2008 season on September 21, 2006. That deal was renewed before the 2009 season and ran until this year – 2012 being the final year of this current deal.

The Smokies’ 2013 regular season schedule was released recently and starts out with a road trip to Florida. On Thursday, April 4, the Smokies travel to play the Pensacola Blue Wahoos before opening at Smokies Park on Wednesday, April 10, in a series that matches them with the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Tennessee Smokies

The team’s home finale is set to match the Smokies against the Mobile BayBears on Tuesday, August 27 before concluding the season with another divisional series against the Chattanooga Lookouts on September 2.

As for the best time to catch the team at Smokies Park this coming 2013 season, there are two 10-game homestands. One falls in April and the other in August. The Smokies will also stay out on the road for 10 days in row in May.

For all you fans that get holidays off, be sure to mark these dates on the calendar: May 27 vs. the Huntsville Stars on Memorial Day, June 16 vs. the Mississippi Braves on Father’s Day and July 4 vs. the Huntsville Stars for the Fourth of July Celebration. These dates are also usually promotion nights so be on the lookout for that information as well. As for other holiday dates, Tennessee will be in Jackson for Mother’s Day (May 12) and Chattanooga for Labor Day (September 2) respectively.

In all, 140 games will be played as part of the 2013 season with start times being announced at another time. For additional information, please call the Smokies front office at (865) 286-2300.