Hey Smokies Fans!
The Tennessee Smokies are back in town to begin a five-game series against the reigning Southern League Champion Jacksonville Suns. Tennessee is coming off a series victory against the Huntsville Stars at Joe W. Davis Stadium, and continue to have the Southern League North Division’s best record at 24-16. The Suns are also having success in 2010, as they led the league and South Division with a record of 26-13.
Here are some notes to keep in mind as Tennessee opens the series tonight at 7:15 p.m.
Rematch of the 2009 SLCS: Tennessee and Jacksonville will face each other in a rematch of the 2009 Southern League Championship Series this weekend at Smokies Park. The Suns took the series in four games, with Tennessee’s only victory in Game Three. Suns outfielder Matt Peterson was named the series MVP, as he drove in 20 runs in the 2009 playoffs. These teams are once again the top in the Southern League, with both teams leading their respective divisions and feature two of the top four records in Double-A baseball.
Night Time the Right Time for Bibens-Dirkx: Tonight’s Smokies starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx has enjoyed pitching at night in 2010. He has a low ERA at 1.60 in six night game starts, going 1-1. This included last weekend’s win at Huntsville as he notched his first Southern League victory. Bibens-Dirkx is the reigning Southern League pitcher of the week after his strong performance against Huntsville on Saturday.
Race for the RBI Lead: This series will feature the top two RBI men in the Southern League. Jacksonville’s Mike Stanton leads the lead with 37 runs batted in. At a close second is Smokies left fielder Ty Wright, who now has 37. Wright drove in eight runs during the Huntsville series to bring him to the second spot in the league. Wright and Stanton have gone back and forth for the lead league in this category all season long.
Stealing the Show: Tony Campana continues to lead the Southern League with 14 stolen bases. Campana stole three bases against Huntsville, including a two-steal performance in Saturday’s series-opening 8-2 win. Campana leads the team with a .345 batting average, which is good for fourth-best in the Southern League.
Smokies Iron Man: Ty Wright is one of only four players in the Southern League to play in all of his team’s games this season, as he has seen action in all 40 games in 2010. Wright has made 39 starts in those 40 games, but came off the bench against Carolina on May 11 where drew a walk and scored a run for Tennessee. Wright has been hot lately for the Smokies, and has scored ten times and driven in ten runs since May 13.
There are also some great promotions for fans this weekend at Smokies Park, here’s a look at the day-by-day schedule for the Suns series.
THROWBACK THURSDAY/KIDS RUN THE BASES: (Thurs., May 20, 7:15 p.m. Get ready to rock! From Bon Jovi to Van Halen, we are celebrating 80′s Big Hair Bands on “Throwback Thursday”. Get Ready! Get Set! GO! All kids 12-and-under, stick around after tonight’s game to run the bases. Make sure to wear tennis shoes. Presented by Shoney’s.
FIREWORKS FRIDAY/MICROSOFT SMALL BUSINESS NIGHT: (Fri., May 21, 7:15 p.m.) Celebrate the weekend with a BANG! Enjoy a unique fireworks show following tonight’s Smokies Baseball game. Presented by Pepsi, Coors Light, WIVK, WVLT TV 8, Knoxville News Sentinel. They only did it once but one time was a hit. Lets relive those “One Hit Wonders” that are unforgettable. Head on over to Smokies Park for ‘Microsoft Small Business Night.’ Stay tuned for further details.
WEBKINZ GIVEAWAY/GIRL SCOUT SLUMBER PARTY: (Sat., May 22, 6:15 p.m.) Do you love these soft, plush toys? Be one of the first 1,000 fans through the gates with paid admission and receive your very own Webkinz! Calling all troops! Bring out your Girl Scout troops to tonight’s Smokies game. Following the game, all Girl Scouts in attendance will be able to spend the night in the outfield at Smokies Park (tents w/o stakes). Spots are limited. For group rates and details call (865)286-2316.
KIDS CLUB DAY: (Sun., May 23, 2:00 p.m.) Members Only! All 2010 Kids Club Members receive free field level tickets. Parents of Kids Club Members get $2 off their ticket price at the ticket office. Members, stick around after the game to run the bases!
DOLLAR HOT DOG NIGHT: (Mon., May 24, 7:15 p.m.) Bring your appetite tonight and enjoy a hot dog for only $1. Presented by Oscar Mayer.
Tonight’s broadcast will begin at 7:00 p.m. on the Sports Animal WNML AM-990 with the Pilot Oscar Mayer Pregame Show. As always with the first of the series, we’ll have the manager’s report with Smokies skipper Bill Dancy in the interview segment. You can also listen to the game online here at smokiesbaseball.com.