CBA-Report-April12 - page 11

April 2012 CBA REPORT
Cover Feature
month.) Minor league baseball is about
providing value to fans for their enter-
tainment dollar, and Brian has worked
hard to do that. The between-inning pro-
motions can be as much fun to watch as
the play on the field. A game we attended
last summer, for example, featured two
fans in inflatable sumo wrestler costumes
racing around the infield while another
inning featured three fans sharing a pair
of giant underwear as they raced around
the bases. A promotion this year features
500 Obama bobbleheads and 500 bobble-
heads of the Republican nominee. Each
entering fan picks their favorite, and
whichever bobblehead runs out first will
be declared the winner and awarded the
McCormick Field electoral votes.
One of Brian’s first projects was to
revamp the concessions within the sta-
dium, upgrading generic concession grub
to include such delicacies as deep fried
moon pies and barbeque nachos. And
last year, the team introduced a new logo,
“Mr. Moon.” The name is a tip of the
cap to an earlier Asheville minor-league
team “The Moonshiners,” and a newly
designed cap is the only on-field lid in
baseball that glows in the dark.
As major league baseball tears down
its historic ballparks, McCormick Field
is a place to cherish. Built in 1924, Mc-
Cormick Field boasts more than its share
of history. Ty Cobb hit a home run in
the first (exhibition) game played in the
stadium. It was reported in the national
press that Babe Ruth died in Asheville
after his collapse in a pre-season game.
And in 1948, 8,000 fans over two games
crammed into 3,000-seat McCormick
field to watch a Jackie Robinson-led
Dodger barnstorming team play the
As a Reds fan, though, my favorite bit
of Tourist trivia is that in 1968 Sparky
Anderson managed the Tourists to a
Southern League championship with a
team that featured two future Reds: a
hot-hitting Bernie Carbo and a not-so-
hot-hitting Darrel Chaney.
Not all the legends are even real.
Crash Davis finished out his playing days
as a Tourist in the movie Bull Durham,
and if you visit the stadium you can see
where part of the movie was shot.
For most of their players, the Tour-
ists are the first stop after rookie ball or
college. If they play well, they will move
up to the Rockies Advance A team, the
Modesto Nuts, or, in a rare instance,
to the AA Tulsa Drillers. The average
player on the Tourist roster is about 22
years old; the oldest last year was 25.
With some luck, a few will get a shot in
the big leagues. The rest will have a few
more years to play a kid’s game before
they move on to whatever comes next for
If you are ever near Asheville, there’s
a lot worse ways to spend a summer eve-
ning than taking in a game. Seven dollars
will buy you a ticket into the park; $3.25,
a hotdog, and on “thirsty” Thursday, you
can even get a beer for a buck. And for
that $7 ticket, you can watch a bunch of
kids playing baseball and chasing their
dreams. That’s hard to beat.
DeWine is a judge on the Hamilton County Court
of Common Pleas. Prior to being elected judge, he
practiced law for 14 years with Keating, Muething &
Klekamp PLL. In addition, he has served as a member
of Cincinnati City Council and as a Hamilton County
Commissioner. DeWine and his wife, Rhonda, are the
parents of five children.
Photos by Tony Harlow.
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