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Beyond the Scoreboard: Tourists’ home opener set for Thursday at McCormick Field

The Tourists will welcome as many as 4,000 fans and the Columbia Fireflies to McCormick Field for Thursday night's home opener. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Since 1924, the Asheville Tourists have been welcoming fans to McCormick Field.

From April to September, the old ballyard has been the place to gather to see professional baseball.

And not much stirs the soul and warms the heart of lovers of baseball more than Opening Day, the first chance to see the local nine in action in their home uniforms.

That feeling will be renewed Thursday night when the Tourists welcome as many as 4,000 fans and the Columbia Fireflies to McCormick Field.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and first pitch is 7:05 for the first Thirsty Thursday of the season, when alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are discounted.

The 2018 Tourists actually started the season on the road, and it wasn’t pretty. A 1-6 mark included a four-game slide to open play.

Tourists fans won’t see a lot of changes to McCormick Field, which has been on the same site since Ty Cobb brought the Detroit Tigers to town for an exhibition game to open the park 85 yards ago, though the old wooden structure was torn down and replaced by the current brick and concrete park in 1992.

But there are a couple of new things to note.

Security has been tightened at the main entrance, and officials ask that fans coming for what may be a sellout arrive a few minutes earlier than normal to accommodate the new measures.

Bag checks will be performed on all bags, backpacks, purses and other items. No bags larger than 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches will be allowed.

No outside food or beverages are permitted, with exceptions for infants and medical situations made on case-by-case basis. Outside bottles or cans – full or partial – are not allowed. Empty plastic bottles are OK.

Service dogs are welcome, but no therapy or emotional support animals are allowed.

From the food side, new options include a State Fair Experience stand. Goodies will include hand-dipped corndogs, ribbon fries, pretzel-coated cheese curds and deep-fried cookie dough. The stand will also include staples like funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos and Moon Pies.

Other new food options include a Portobello Philly cheesesteak, mac & cheese bites, parmesan truffle fries, churros and churro sundaes.

Tickets for individual games, flex plans and season tickets are available at the box office, by calling 828-258-428 or online at theashevilletourists.com.

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