>It was Thursday in Asheville, the sun was warm and a gentle breeze was blowing. The perfect evening for a baseball game!
And it just so happens that Thursdays are a bit of special tradition at McCormack Field, home of the Asheville Tourists. So James and I left the Carolina Bed & Breakfast and headed off to the stadium to see what it is all about.
The playing field is a short ten minute drive from our house and tickets can be bought online or at the gate. $10 will buy you front row seats on the first base line–a value that is hard to beat. If you remember the film “Bull Durham”, you may recognize the stadium as the movie was filmed here.
Those of you who know us, know that my family loves baseball, and this experience was everything that baseball should be. The stadium was full with fans of all ages, from the very old right down to some of the cutest little children I have ever seen (more about them later). The beer was $1 a glass (hence “Thirsty Thursday”) and they served Hickory Nut Gap Farm Bratwurst as well as some really wonderful BBQ.
The sun was going down over the outfield as the players took to the field for the Star Spangled Banner, each one accompanied by a small boy whose eyes were glowing with the pleasure of being on the field. Does it get any better?
The Asheville Tourists are a Single A Farm team affiliated with the Colorado Rockies. On this evening they were playing the Delmarva Shorebirds, farm team for the Orioles. And they really played baseball! Diving catches, 99 MPH fastballs, double plays, and long hard drives to center field. This game had it all as each player tried to shine. Of course sometimes that eagerness overtook good judgment as an otherwise talented and spunky second baseman waved off the center-fielder on a long high fly ball…and then dropped the ball.
I have to admit I have renewed respect for the home-run kings of Major League Ball. It’s 373 feet to the farthest wall. The players on both team hit some good long hard balls but nothing looked like it was even close to going over the wall.
But what made this evening really special was more than just good baseball. The atmosphere was one of small-town good humor and fun. Between every inning some form of entertainment or game was provided by the mascot and the crowd. One of my favorite moments was when the mascot (Tedd E. Bear) raced a small eight year old boy around the bases. This little boy was serious. He ran as if his life was on the line, legs and arms pumping and head down. While the crowd knew there was no chance the mascot was going to let the boy lose, the child had his doubts and booked it from home to first and around the bases, earning a solid cheer when he came (first of course!).
Girls threw baseballs (some badly, some not so badly), men took part in wing-eating contests and if you couldn’t snag one of the free tee-shirts being thrown to the crowd then something was seriously wrong with where you were looking!
At the end of the evening, a happy and tired crowd made their way home. The Tourists pulled it out in a 2-1 victory in the 8th.
If you planned to be in Asheville this summer, an evening at the baseball field would be a good way to see different part of Asheville and enjoy some true Americana. James and I, at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast, would be happy to arrange tickets for you, just give us a call or send us an email when you book your room.