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Tourists crash party to celebrate Costner character

Astros affiliate paying tribute to film's anniversary with Davis Night
Asheville's jersey and cap honor Crash Davis, personified by Kevin Costner in photos on the right during the making of "Bull Durham." (Asheville Tourists)
@benweinrib
June 22, 2023

The Durham Bulls may be the Minor League team most often associated with the “Bull Durham,” but they’re not the only one from North Carolina with ties to the 1988 rom-com. Main character Crash Davis ends the movie playing 224 miles west of Durham with the Asheville Tourists, where he

The Durham Bulls may be the Minor League team most often associated with the “Bull Durham,” but they’re not the only one from North Carolina with ties to the 1988 rom-com.

Main character Crash Davis ends the movie playing 224 miles west of Durham with the Asheville Tourists, where he breaks the fictional Minor League home run record.

And for the 35th anniversary of “Bull Durham,” the Tourists are honoring Kevin Costner’s character with their own Crash Davis Night on Saturday.

“The final scene is filmed here in Asheville, with Crash being a member of the Asheville Tourists,” said Tourists president Brian DeWine. “We like to say that we celebrate Crash Davis, not "Bull Durham.'"

The Astros' High-A affiliate adopted a new logo with blue and navy in 2010, but will harken back to the ‘80s for the night with throwback jerseys made to match the red, white and blue uniforms from the movie. Players also will sport a matching commemorative cap that has a patch reading “Home Run Champion Crash Davis” on the side.

Celebrating Davis has become something of a tradition for the Tourists, who even have a concession stand named “Crash’s Kitchen.” The team has honored the beloved baseball move every five years with various giveaways, and on Saturday, the first 1,500 fans in attendance will take home their own commemorative jerseys.

Another tradition for this quinquennial event has been having the starting catcher wear Davis’ No. 16 uniform. Backstop Ryan Wrobleski already wears 16, but just in case he doesn't get the start, DeWine made sure whoever was behind the dish will have the proper jersey.

“I order enough 16s that they can fit any player on the team, so that way they can wear 16 for the night of the game,” DeWine said. “When I order them, I don’t know what size our catcher is going to be, because I’m ordering them in the winter, so I just order enough to make sure I can no matter how big or small our catcher is.”

No Tourists players are particularly close to Davis’ “record” of 247 home runs -- utilityman Kobe Kato is closest with 30. But consider than Kato is one of the oldest hitters on the team at age 24, and most players in High-A have only played a few years, unlike the 12-year veteran Davis.

Still, expect plenty of power to honor Crash. Thanks to its elevation, McCormick Field is one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in the Minors with a 151 park factor for homers (100 is considered average).

Ben Weinrib is a contributor for MiLB.com.