For as long as the Tennessee Smokies have been playing baseball at their new state of the art stadium, Roy and Trenta Swann, along with several friends and family, have been a permanent fixture at the park in rows one and two of section 115, directly behind third base. The groups has a total of 14 seats between them and will tell anyone they have the best seats in the house.
“We always have the sun at our backs on the third baseline,” Trenta Swann said. “When we first decided to get the tickets, Roy came down with one of his friends and picked out our seats. I had wanted to sit on the first baseline, but Roy said ‘trust me these are better seats.’ It turns out he was right. I wouldn’t trade these seats for any others in the stadium.”
Tennessee Manager Rocket Wheeler, who also coaches third base for the team, has a trademark of sprinting to his position in the coach’s circle behind third base. The group behind him in section 115, always cheers “Hey Rocket,” as Wheeler runs out. Wheeler always gives the group a quick smile and tips his baseball cap before turning his attention back to home plate.
The group, which is usually accompanied by several children, has formed a relationship with the veteran Smokies’ manager. They have even taken on the title of “Rockets Fan Club.”
Before every game, Rocket brings out pieces of bubble gum and hands them out to the kids that are sitting in the section.
“Rocket is a good manager,” said Bill McPherson, a member of the fan club, who drives to games from Kingsport. “He’s not afraid to run, steal and take chances to help put his team into a position to win the game. He makes baseball exciting.”
“We’ve seen some great baseball here too. We saw a no-hitter, a triple play, and an inside the park home run, and that’s just to name a few of the things,” McPherson added.
McPherson and his wife Cindy have four-year old twins, Will and Kelli, who also attend most of the games. McPherson said that Will is a more devoted fan than Kelli and has become a pretty big baseball fan.
“Last week the manager for the Suns saw Rocket handing out bubble gum so he decided to bring us some sun flower seeds,” said McPherson.
Smokies Park is three years old, so the twins have been attending the games for most of their lives.
“Will is the president of Rockets fan club,” Bill McPherson joked. “He gets a baseball at least every other game. I don’t know how many he has total but he probably has as many as the team.
The Swann’s, who are members of the Diamond Club (people who sell 30 or more season tickets), say that the one thing that keeps bringing them back, besides good baseball, is the great family atmosphere.
“We don’t have any children so we come here and borrow some of the others,” said Trenta Swann. “Roy’s thing is, he always tries to get a baseball for all the kids that sit around us, even the grown ones sometimes.”
“It’s a great atmosphere for the kids,” Roy Swann added. “Our usher, Mike Wyatt, is the best usher here. All of the people that work here really go out of their way to make sure that we have the most enjoyable time possible. We haven’t been to a lot of stadiums around the country but we’ve been to a few and this is the best.”

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