On Monday, the team invited local media to come out, meet the team and interview players. This year's lineup includes Christian Friedrich, the Colorado Rockies' 2008 first-round draft pick, who was deemed one of college baseball's top pitchers when he was chosen. Friedrich made three starts late last season for the Tourists after he signed with the Rockies, the Tourists' parent organization. The team also includes Alan DeRatt, a star baseball player at UNC-Asheville. It's the first time in the history of the Tourists that a player from a nearby college has played for the team. And manager Joe Mikuluk (yes, he of the infamous temper tantrum from a few years back) returns for his 10th season as the team's skipper.
The team's scheduled exhibition game for Tuesday was cancelled because of the snowy, cold weather. But the Tourists will hold their first home game on Monday, April 13. General admission ticket prices are $6 for adults and $5 for children. Go to Tourists' Web site for more.
The ballpark will also feature a number of promotions that have become familiar to fans. This year, amid a grinding recession, the Asheville Tourist organization has added a dramatic twist to a promotion it calls "Mega Money Mondays," sponsored by Capital Bank. In the past, the first 750 adults through the gates on Mondays received an envelope containing between $1 and $100 in cash. This year, if an Asheville starting pitcher throws a perfect game on a Monday, every fan in attendance will split $1 million.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor
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