Monday, August 15, 2005

Get 'em while you can

KODAK, Tenn., Aug. 14 - What a difference a day makes.

After a listless 4-2 loss to the Carolina Mudcats on a rain soaked Saturday night at Smokies Park, the Tennessee Smokies exploded tonight to beat the Southern League North-leading 'Cats tonight, 12-1, in front of an "I doubt there's actually this many here" Sunday afternoon crowd of 3,063.

The Smokies seemed listless last night, almost as if they had wished the umps had called the game during the 94 minute rain delay. Not so tonight.

Tennessee scored eight in the fourth thanks in part to a Chris Carter grand slam. It never was a contest.

Starting pitcher Adam Bass pitched seven solid innings, surrendering six hits and one run. He's a big presence on the mound, standing near 6-ft., 6-in. tall. He looks almost like Marshal Dillon on the mound - tall, tough and no nonsense. It would not be surprising at all to learn he hails from Texas.

The crowd, soon bored by the offensive juggernaut, was pleasantly distracted by the endless parade of promotions on which minor league baseball seems to thrive.

You'd think the game is enough to keep the fans happy. But apparently it isn't. Folks catching bean bags thrown by their children or kids circling around a bat until dizzy are harmless. After awhile, though, it gets old. Just play a few bars on the organ and be done with it.

It is hard to complain though. The Smokies (22-27) beat their archrival Mudcats (30-17) to take the series. It is doubtful given how late it is in the season that Tennessee will contend for another Southern League title. So you might as well take them where you can.

Tonight, on a picture perfect late summer Sunday afternoon, it was enough.

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