(Updated from last year's post because well things change)
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. This year, it looks like most of the players will be making their first trip to the Greeneville, I thought I would give them an inside look at the town, the fans and some unsolicited advice about your time in Greeneville and some ways to occupy you friends and family when they come to visit this summer.
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 as a young person 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. He is also buried in the national cemetery.
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. Last season, they were the local bobblehead.
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-but warning it is cash only), 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 Saturday morning breakfast, I highly recommend The Farmer's Daughter. It is about 15 minutes out of town but this family style restaurant will fill you up with good southern cooking. They also serve lunch and dinner Friday-Sunday. (Cash or check only). While you are out there, Moms & Grandmas often enjoy going through the Mountain View Bulk Food store next door. The locals call it "the Mennonite store". They have great fresh baked items, a wonderful deli and spices and baking supplies in bulk.
If you are a coffee person, the Creamy Cup is very close to the stadium and they have good lemonaid as well.
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. It is worth a walk through just to see the inside of the lobby.
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. There is no formal host family system in Greeneville. However, some
families might invite you over for a meal. Accept the invite if you
can. A free home cooked meal is never a bad thing.
A little unsolicited advice
There are some players who played in Greeneville and you will hear fans talk about them with reverence. It is not so much what they did on the field, it is how they treated the fans.
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 who are begging like street children in a third world country. They are like stray cats. Feed them once and they never go away and more will come. Kids will be hanging around the dug out bothering you the whole game if you do it one time. The fans who sit in those sections appreciate your cooperation with this.
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 they plan to sell 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. It is pronounced MossHyme not Mo Shium (I learned that when I moved here just over 10 years ago).