I am very excited for opening day for the short season being less than a week away. Today, the players are supposed to be rolling in to town and getting settled before the season begins. For those players who are making their first trip to the Greeneville, I thought I would give you an inside look at the town, the fans and some unsolicited advice about your time in Greeneville.
The first thing you need to know is the big E is important here. Locals take pride that we are the only city in the country to have the e between the n and the v. That is because it is named for a person not the color. The person the town is named after is the revolutionary war hero Nathanael Greene. There is also a nuclear submarine named after the town, the USS Greeneville - it was the one that hit the fishing boat a few years ago if you remember the controversy.
Several big names have called Greeneville home and you will hear folks talk about them.
Davy Crockett was born in Greene County. There is a state park on this birthplace site in the east end of the county.
The 17th President Andrew Johnson moved here and started his political career here. There is a national historic site here. It is a great place to send your parents when they come visit while you are at practice.
There are other cool history geeky kind of things to do and see in Greeneville. My favorite is the cannon ball church. Actually it is Cumberland Presbyterian Church on the corner of Church and Main. But because it has a civil war cannon ball stuck in its front wall, everyone just calls it the cannon ball church.
For baseball history, check out the little museum outside the front offices at the stadium. You get a flavor of baseball in Greeneville. You will learn about Greeneville's major leaguers Dale Alexander, who hit .331 over five seasons with the Tigers and the Red Sox, and about Rance Pless.
The latest big name to hail from Greeneville is the Country Pop group The Band Perry.
Greeneville is not a very big town but there are plenty of places to eat, unfortunately most of them are not open after the games. Here are your options after games: Applebee's, Waffle House, fast food drive through (McD's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, DQ, etc) and Tipton's Cafe.
If your folks or girlfriend are in town and they are looking for good lunch spots. Let me recommend some local flavor - The Sandwich House (best burgers), Salsa's (best mexican), The Bean Barn, Top Choice BBQ, and Peggy Ann's Bakery. There are other local places that are good too (Amy's Kitchen & Aunt Bea's) and it is a shame many players don't get eat at these places because they don't fit the ball players schedules but most are with in a mile or two of the hotel where the players stay.
For something nicer, Brumley's inside the historic General Morgan Inn in has a great lunch and weekend brunch. The General Morgan Inn is also a great place for parents to stay when they come into town. A bit pricey but beautiful.
Greeneville has won the league attendance title every year since the team arrived in 2004. There are season ticket holders who know there baseball and there are folks who go just one time a year when someone they know is going to be on the field before the game. Most of the regular attenders are very friendly and will strike up a conversation with you. Some might even invite you over for a home cooked meal.
A little unsolicited advice
There are some players who are still revered in Greeneville, not because they were great players but because they were kind and respectful. There are some players who are Behave in such a way as you will be remembered positively now matter how well you perform on the field.
If you are the guy who is warming up the right fielder and collects the balls from the guys warming up, please don't throw a ball to the kids. They are like stray cats. Feed them once and they never go away. Kids will be hanging around the dug out bothering the whole game if you do it one time. Foul balls are different, I don't know why but they don't tend to draw the attention of ball beggars as much. So feel free to throw foul balls up to kids.
On autographs, the first manager in Greeneville, Tim Bogar, told his players, "Sign every autograph you can, one day, no one will want your autograph." While this is good advice, I want to add to it. Sign the autographs that will make the other persons day the most. Kids first and guys with a duffle bag of stuff last. For many kids, they only come to a few games and you have just made their day with an autograph.
Again, welcome to Greeneville! The next two and a half months will be a whirlwind. I wish you the best of luck. See you at the park!
PS that little town you drove through when you got of of I-81 Moshiem is pronounced Moss Hiem not Mo Shium (I learned that when I moved here about 10 years ago).