This past weekend we made our way down to Kodak Tennessee, one of my favorite spots for baseball!
Its kind of funny, I am sometimes not exactly sure of how to refer to this area. When someone says they are going to Kodak, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, or the Great Smoky Mountains, I know they are going to this general area. And I know that they will be having a lot of fun.
I like visiting this area during the baseball season because of the Smokies baseball team, and I like coming down any other time I can because this is just a great area.
There were several other baseball events going on this weekend, but the Smokies were hosting their "Fandemonium" event which sounded like the thing to go to in my books.
In fact, we came down for the weekend, and we had plenty of time to drive around the Smoky Mountains, and to walk the strip in Gatlinburg. Any weekend during the baseball season we can come down, catch a game, and have a lot of fun in the surrounding area.
So we got to the Fandemonium event a little after it opened at 10am. The team had shirts, hats and game used jerseys on sale and the prices were right. I can never pass on a game used jersey for under $50. The Smokies have a well stocked and very diverse team shop anyway. These guys know about marketing their merchandise.
After making a few purchases, we took the self guided tour of the park. This is another reason that I love these preseason minor league baseball events. You get to take a thorough tour of the facilities! Its actually pretty rare for the public to get a behind the scenes look at the smaller parks. Most of the MLB parks give tours all the time, but not in the minors.
This was the first time that I saw a team offer a self guided tour like this. There were signs with arrows, pointing fans in the right direction. Also, staff were everywhere answering questions, and helping people who did not notice the signs.
Its always fun seeing the clubhouse, the batting cages, and inside of the dugout. I can't say why exactly, but its just cool.
Mascots were on hand for photo ops, and the inflatables were open for the kids. AND, the team was giving away hot dogs, beverages, and popcorn! My first park hot dog of the season tasted great! AND it was free!
Smokies Stadium is becoming one of my favorite venues for a game. You have those fun cities nearby I mentioned before that are exciting and lively, but they still have a very rural vibe.
And that might be why I like this park so much. This is a AA team playing in a solid AA park- but it doesn't feel like it is in a city area. It feels like it is in a small town.
Plus the mountainous scenery around the park is amazing. As you watch the game, right over the outfield wall you see those green curves. You are in the beautiful south, dealing with friendly southerners. The Smokies and Smokies Stadium get an A+.