Asheville Tourists delivering game balls by zipline

Mon, Apr 2

The Asheville Tourists are going to great heights to get North Carolinians involved in baseball this season.

The Tourists, Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, will allow fans to deliver the first official ball at each home game via zipline.

The line will descend from neighboring Memorial Stadium, which sits on a hill above the Tourists' ballpark, McCormick Field. The ride extends nearly 500 feet, and riders will fly 30 feet above the ballpark to deliver the ball prior to the singing of the national anthem at all 70 home games.

Tourists president Brian DeWine said the team will use local celebrities to make the deliveries for the first week of the season or so, after which registered fans will be selected at random. DeWine plans to try out the equipment himself before the Tourists' home opener Thursday night.

"We are doing a dry run of all our operations," DeWine said. "I'm going to do the dry run on Wednesday night."

Participants will ride in tandem with an employee of Wildwater Canopy Tours, which will assemble and break down the zipline for each game. DeWine said the zipline will meet strict safety standards, even though it's a temporary feature. There is a 130-pound weight limit, so the promotion will primarily be for women and children.