Florida family fleeing Hurricane Ian finds safety at Tennessee Smokies game

The McClain family watched the Smokies game in Kodak after evacuating from their home in Tampa.
The McClain family watches the Smokies game in Kodak after evacuating from their home in Tampa.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 12:19 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2022 at 12:20 AM EDT
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KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT) - In the final game of the season, the Tennessee Smokies fell to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 11-4.

A let down for fans that wanted to see the home team take home their first Southern League championship since 1978.

Although the disappointment of a loss certainty wasn’t what those fans were wanting, for one family the night was much bigger than baseball.

Logan McClain and his mom Robin watched the start of the game standing behind the home plate netting. A family from Tampa, Florida who took to East Tennessee when Hurricane Ian quickly approached Florida.

“We’re here today because we evacuated Florida because of Ian and we wanted to come see a baseball game,” said Robin.

Logan has played baseball his entire life, and considers himself to be a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays. The 11-year-old carried with him a passport that checks off all of the Major League and Minor League stadiums he’s visited, and was finally able to cross the Smokies stadium off the list.

“This is my natural paradise, it’s an escape from everything and the world around me,” said Logan.

Far from home and safe from the storm, the McClain’s watched the game with uncertainty of what’s going on back in Tampa.

Optimistic that their home avoided the wort of the storm as they closely monitor the weather, as they use the Smokies game as the ultimate distraction.

“It’s definitely a good way to sit back relax and take your mind off things we can worry about that tomorrow,” said Robin.

This was the first time the Smokies had made the playoffs since 2013, and the first time they had a winning season since 2015.