Author Archives | Nick Roark

Column: Cubs need a cup of Joe, but not Girardi

By: Nick Roark Ever had that 2:30 feeling? Chances are if you’re a Chicago Cubs fan, that fatigued, disheartening and overwhelming feeling came over you many times this season; 96 times to be exact. It is no secret that the Cubs need a jolt of energy. And while Chicago president Theo Epstein is looking for a […]

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Former Smoky Uggla left off Atlanta NLDS roster

By: Nick Roark Atlanta Braves second baseman and former Tennessee Smoky Dan Uggla has been left off the team’s 25-man NLDS roster, the Braves announced Wednesday afternoon. Uggla, who hit .179 with 22 home runs this season, underwent Lasik surgery in August to repair his vision but has yet to return to All-Star form. The […]

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Improved rotation paramount for Smokies’ title asiprations

By: Nick Roark As Tennessee Smokies manager Buddy Bailey stood in front of media members Wednesday afternoon at Smokies Park, he knew his club faced a challenge from the Birmingham Barons – Tennessee’s North Division Championship Series opponent. Specifically, Bailey foresaw the task his starting rotation faced against a club that possesses one of the […]

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Matt Szczur: “I wanted to have people inspired” by ESPN feature

By: Nick Roark Matt Szczur was understandably tense as he sat down to watch what he called his “greatest accomplishment” in life. The Tennessee Smokies outfielder finally saw a three-year journey come to national fruition on ESPN’s ‘E:60’ Tuesday evening as reporter Lisa Salters told the story of how Szczur helped save the life of […]

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Photo Courtesy: USA Today (Left) and Roger C. Hoover (Right)

Pair of skippers ponder if Javier Baez can be the next Yasiel Puig

By: Nick Roark Before becoming a big league sensation, Yasiel Puig’s talent was on full display in the Southern League. Since Javier Baez arrived at Double-A, opposing managers and players have admired the shortstop’s raw ability. The lasting memory for players, fans and media will be the rare athleticism of of Puig and the excitement […]

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(Photo courtesy: Roger C. Hoover)

Two first-inning home runs propel Smokies, 4-3

By: Nick Roark CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. –The Tennessee Smokies (41-26, 75-61) won their third straight game over the Chattanooga Lookouts (23-44, 58-79) 4-3 Saturday evening, using two first-inning home runs to hang on for the victory despite leaving 12 men on base. Javier Baez finished the evening 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and two […]

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Justin Bour’s six-RBI effort leads Smokies to 12-1 win over Lookouts

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Tennessee Smokies (40-26, 74-61) defeated the Chattanooga Lookouts (23-43, 58-78) 12-1 Friday night at AT&T Field behind a monstrous performance by first baseman Justin Bour, who fell a triple shy of the cycle and finished 3-for-5 with six RBIs and a run scored. After Matt Szczur began the game with an […]

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(Photo Courtesy:

Neil Ramirez ready to “keep rolling’ with Tennessee

By: Nick Roark Tennessee Smokies starting pitcher Neil Ramirez found himself a part of a unique scenario Monday evening, celebrating his new team’s North Division title just two days after arriving at Smokies Park. The 6-foot-4, right-handed throwing Ramirez found himself with a new team and new organization last week when the Virginia Beach native […]

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Four Smokies headline Cubs’ Arizona Fall League roster

By: Nick Roark The Chicago Cubs are sending their top prospects packing for Arizona this fall as the organization announced it’s sending five of its top six prospects to play in Mesa. The list of eight includes four current Smokies in shortstop Javier Baez and pitchers Dallas Beeler, Matt Loosen and Armando Rivero. Baez was […]

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Photo Courtesy: Blake McKinney

Playoff bound: 2013 Smokies celebrate second-half title

By: Nick Roark A runner at second base, two outs in the ninth and only one out away from a North Division second-half title, Smokies closer Frank Batista climbed the mound to deliver a 1-1 pitch to Mobile catcher Rossmel Perez. “Ball’s popped up, foul ground,” Tennessee Smokies broadcaster Mick Gillispie said as Perez skied […]

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