“It's a nine-inning vacation”
The Tennessee Smokies are a Minor League Baseball team based in the Knoxville, Tennessee, metropolitan area. The team, which plays in the Southern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball as of the 2011 season. Smokies Park, the team's ballpark, is located in the suburb of Kodak, and seats up to 8,000 fans. The team's nickname, "Smokies", refers to the Great Smoky Mountains mountain range which permeates the region; mountains in the chain are often clouded in a hazy mist that often appears as smoke rising from the forest. Prior to 2005, the Smokies were the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals and before that the Toronto Blue Jays. However, when the Cardinals purchased the El Paso Diablos, which had been the Arizona Diamondbacks' Double-A affiliate, the Diamondbacks retained the Smokies as their new Double-A affiliate. On September 21, 2006, the Chicago Cubs, who had previously had a Double-A affiliation with division rival West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, reached a two-year player development contract with the Smokies through the 2008 season. The contract was renewed before the 2011 season and will run through the 2014 season.
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