Road To The Rockies Begins Here in the Blue Ridge

Hello Hello, The Road to the Rockies Begins Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains



Not another web blog! Yes indeed Asheville. The world needs another blog like it needs more Brittney Spears/ Lindsay Lohan jokes. In a world saturated with blogs, 24-hour news cycles and immediate updates on troubled and dying celebrities the Tourists are proud to bring you The Road to the Rockies: A tour of the South Atlantic League with the top Colorado Rockies prospects, Tourists Manager Joe Mikulik and myself the humbled Radio Broadcaster Jay Burnham. So while many of you may think that blogs are just a euphemism for sloppy journalism our intent here is just to give you a slight peak into the parks, people and places around the South Atlantic League.


Yes blogs are sloppy, blogs have spelling errors, blogs are written on the bus crossing the backwoods of North Carolina or from the hotel lobby with the maid constantly vacuuming an area that is already clean but she has no other immediate duties and was yelled at by management last week that the rug needs to be perfectly clean for guests, so in her own spiteful way she runs the thing on full blast for two hours on end just to prove a point. So the more miscues and errors you expect, the less you will be disappointed. Now to get you up to speed…

britney spears.jpg 



The Tourists have yet to see the sun this season, after taking three of four from the Legends to open the 2008 campaign. The tarp spent more time on the field than the players in the opening series and when the weather finally broke through on Sunday, Asheville fans came out of the mountains to enjoy a 6-5 thrilling victory to wrap up the homestand

(Side note: I have been in baseball six seasons and still have not figured out if homestand is one word or two. From here on out I am proclaiming it one word, so Microsoft better stop saying I am spelling it wrong.)


tarp.jpgHere is a peak into the workings of minor league baseball. I will not reveal all the secrets of Oz, but in case you did not know, the tarp being on the field is rather a big deal for everyone involved. During the broadcast I may say something such as “well the grounds crew did a fine job getting the tarp on the field and having this place ready to play… well when the words “Grounds Crew” are uttered what is really meant is the front office was out after the game pulling the darn thing on, then getting up extremely early the next morning to push all the water off and remove the thing from the field just so they can pull it back on while trying to shovel down a bagel or pink frosted Dunkin Donut in between getting everything set up so fans can enjoy themselves at the park and the players can get the game in.


This holds true for most every minor league team and a tip of the cap goes to the front office of the Tourists, from the Vice President of Palace Baseball Mike Bauer to the General Manager Larry Hawkins to sales representative and Reds fan Andy Kroeger, everyone is involved. In fact I don’t think I have seen any GM pump more water off a tarp than Larry Hawkins. He works a tarp like Stanley Kubrik worked a camera, a tarp auteur if you will. There that is blog tangent number one, now onto Kannapolis…






Kannapolis, Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium, and What the heck is a Fieldcrest Cannon anyway?


 The tourists won last night against Kannapolis and are now 4-1 on the seasons (is it to early to suggest a playoff run?) At this rate the team could end up 120-20 making them the greatest team in baseball History and Joe Mikulik would be a shoe-in to hold onto his manager of the year title and everyone will suggest the team will roll through the playoffs because they beat everyone no matter what and finished nearly undefeated and the 1972 Miami Dolphins and coach Shula would say the team has to finish in the postseason and the Tourists star player will be seen in Charleston SC days before the big game with some supermodel and the media will swarm all around and some unknown player a walk-on from some small community college in western Montanan will make a catch in right field with the ball hitting in-between  his head and glove and then the Patriots, I mean the Tourists will lose and an entire nation of fans will see the hubris and humility of losing to a Manning for the second straight season.. ughh.. I’m still not over that one as you might be able to tell..


Ok, so the Tourists right fielder Brian Rike is the real deal in the outfield and gunned out his second runner of the season on the bases last night in a Tourists 4-1 win. Rike will probably be written about throughout the season not just by us, and rightfully so, but it will be interesting to see if the league picks up on the clue not to run on this guy. Don’t even think about it. Rike will throw you out. Rike will haunt you in your dreams as you cower under your down comforter that you bought at K-Mart for 30 bucks even though you don’t really like K-Mart but you have no idea where else to get things like a comforter so it had to be Kmart.  In fact we are working on T-shirts right now….How about “The Rike Stuff” (New Kids on the Block days anyone? ) Or Rike/Obama 2008? I don’t know, feel free to help me out in this regard. Bottom line, guy can throw, and he stole two bases last night as well, hit a homerun in the opening series and has worked a couple of walks, so he’s got the tools.


Tonight Jhoulys Chacin makes his second start of the season. In the opener Chacin went six shutout innings but did not get the win. Asheville tries to make it three in a row and yes you can tune in at http://www.the Till next time –    



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