Mitchell Tenpenny Joins Music City Baseball’s Music Industry Advisory Board

Mitchell Tenpenny

Country recording artist Mitchell Tenpenny has announced he is joining Music City Baseball’s Music Industry Advisory Board.

In the music video of Tenpenny’s latest hit “Bucket List,” he’s shown rocking his vintage “Nashville Stars” jersey, which pays homage to the legendary Negro Leagues teams who played in Nashville in the 1940s prior to the integration of Major League Baseball.

“Growing up in Nashville, it’s always been a dream to have a Major League team here. This city is perfect for it. I am excited to get involved and actively pursue this item on my bucket list,” says Tenpenny.

“Having a Nashville native on our team is really important to us because we want the Nashville Stars to be deep rooted in the community. Mitchell knows the city like the back of his hand and has a passion for baseball. We are honored to be included in his music video and look forward to having him join our team,” says John Loar, Managing Director of Music City Baseball.

Tenpenny joins entertainment icons Justin Timberlake, Darius Rucker, Kane Brown, Bobby Bones and Luke Combs, among others, in providing strategic counsel and generating community excitement around Nashville being home to a Major League Baseball team.

Nashville Sounds To Host Blood Drive At Horizon Park

Courtesy of the Nashville Sounds

The Nashville Sounds are partnering with the American Red Cross to host a Blood Drive on Wednesday, May 5.

Participation for the drive is limited to the first 44 registrants. You can sign up now with the code NASHVILLESOUNDS. Appointments are available from 10a.m. to 3 p.m. in 15-minute increments and will take place in the Brauer Lounge at First Horizon Park.

All participants will receive a 15% discount to Third and Home the day of the blood drive which opens at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Additionally, The Red Cross is thanking those who give blood with a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via e-mail, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

Facial coverings are required for individuals ages 13 and older at First Horizon Park and, per CDC guidelines, all donors will be asked to wear face masks or coverings at the blood drive.

For more information about First Horizon Park’s comprehensive safety plan, click here.

The Nashville Sounds And ESPN 94.9 Announce Multi-Year Partnership

Jeff Hem. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Sounds

The Nashville Sounds have announced a multi-year partnership with ESPN 94.9 FM to be the team’s flagship station, which includes the broadcast of all 120 games during the 2021 season.

Jeff Hem will handle the play-by-play duties for all broadcasts in his ninth season as the “Voice of the Sounds.” Hem’s broadcasts will begin 15 minutes before the scheduled first pitch with a pre-game show and will conclude with a 15-minute post-game show.

“We’re very excited to rejoin the ESPN Radio family here in Nashville,” said Sounds General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Adam Nuse. “The return of Nashville Sounds baseball has been long-awaited, and we’re thrilled to have our broadcasts heard near and far on ESPN 94.9.”

ESPN 94.9, the sister station of ESPN 102.5 The Game has a strong broadcast reach throughout Middle Tennessee and is simulcast on 95.1 FM in Rutherford County and worldwide on The Game Nashville streaming app.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with the Nashville Sounds,” says VP/Market Manager Dennis Gwiazdon. “The addition of professional baseball to our existing coverage of the Nashville Predators, Nashville SC, Vanderbilt and MTSU men’s football and basketball further cements our mission to be Nashville’s best sports talk station. Let’s play ball!”

In addition to the ESPN 94.9 airwaves, fans can catch all broadcasts on www.nashvillesounds.com, the MiLB First Pitch app, and The Game Nashville’s streaming app.

 

Bobby Bones Joins Music City Baseball Initiative

Bobby Bones

Award-winning radio personality Bobby Bones has joined Music City Baseball, a group committed to bringing a Major League Baseball team to Nashville.

“I’m thrilled to join the initiative to bring Major League Baseball to Nashville,” says Bones. “Nashville is second to none in uniting sports and music, making it the perfect destination for a Major League team.  I look forward to joining Music City Baseballs efforts to honor the incredible history of the Nashville Stars, as well as pave the way for the future of MLB in Nashville.”

Bones joins the community advisory board alongside Justin Timberlake, Darius Rucker, Luke Combs and Eddie George.

“Bobby is going to play a critical role in helping us generate excitement surrounding bringing a team here. His energy and enthusiasm around the cause is unmatched and we are thrilled to have him join our leadership team,” says John Loar, managing director of Music City Baseball.

MCB  is committed to privately financing the ballpark and bringing a MLB franchise to Nashville built on equity, inclusion and diversity. To honor the Negro League teams that played in Nashville early in the last century, MCB is honored to resurrect the ‘Nashville Stars’ moniker for the prospective franchise.

Texas Rangers Dedicate Baseball Field To Charley Pride

Charley Pride. Photo: Ben De Rienzo

The Texas Rangers are paying tribute to Charley Pride, dedicating its new spring training baseball field to the late country icon.

The newly named Charley Pride Field in Surprise, Arizona honors the lifelong Rangers fan who in 2010 became a partial owner of the MLB team. Pride passed away on December 12, 2020 from complications due to COVID-19.

“The Rangers have been honored to have Mr. Pride be a part of the team’s ownership group for the last ten years. A longtime resident of this area, he was a regular at home games when his schedule permitted… Mr. Pride was a true gentleman, and we will never forget the lasting contributions he has made to the Texas Rangers organization,” the Texas Rangers said in a statement in December.

The Country Music Hall of Fame member spent seven years as pitcher between 1953 and 1960, playing for the Memphis Red Sox and the Birmingham Black Barons. He was named to the Negro league All-Star team in both 1956 and 1957.

In one of his final performances, Pride sang the National Anthem in July 2020 at the first-ever baseball game played at the Rangers’ new Globe Life Field in Arlington, although the stadium was empty due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Nashville Sounds Announce Affiliation With Milwaukee Brewers

Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Sounds

The Nashville Sounds have officially announced its Triple-A affiliation with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Sounds reunite with the Brewers for the first time in 10 years from when it was a minor league affiliate for Milwaukee from 2005-2014. The new deal comes after the Sounds signed a 10-year Professional Development License (PDC) with Major League Baseball as part of the 20-team Triple-A East League.

The Sounds and Texas Rangers originally agreed to a four-year PDC that was scheduled to run from 2019-2022, but the two organizations only had one season together due to the cancelled 2020 season.

“We are incredibly excited to officially reunite with the Milwaukee Brewers and become their Triple-A affiliate once again,” says Sounds General Manager Adam Nuse. “When we received the invitation to partner together back in December, we heard our fans’ excitement loud and clear. We’re eager to re-introduce Milwaukee Brewers baseball to the City of Nashville and Sounds fans everywhere.”

The Brewers have built a success franchise over the past 10 years with two National League Central Division Championships (2011, 2018) and four postseason appearances including two National League Championship Series (2011, 2018.)

Rick Sweet will be the manager of the Nashville Sounds for the 2021 season and will be joined with pitching coach Jim Henderson, hitting coach Al LeBoeuf, coach Ned Yost IV, athletic trainer Lanning Tucker, and strength and conditioning specialist Andrew Emmick.

“We are excited to return to Nashville and begin a new partnership with the Sounds organization. We look forward to working with Sounds co-owner Frank Ward and the entire Nashville team to prepare our minor league players on their final stop before Milwaukee,” says Milwaukee Brewers President of Baseball Operations David Stearns.

Nashville will play in the Southeast Division of the Triple-A East League. The rest of the division includes the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox), Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays), Gwinnett Stripers (Atlanta Braves), Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Miami Marlins), Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) and Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles).

The Sounds will start its season on May 4, since Minor League Baseball decided to delay the beginning of the season.

Former Sounds players from 2005-14 that also played for the Brewers include Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Nelson Cruz, Khris Davis, Tim Dillard, Alcides Escobar, Prince Fielder, Mike Fiers, Yovani Gallardo, Scooter Gennett, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, Jeremy Jeffress, Brandon Kintzler, Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldanado, Jimmy Nelson, Manny Parra and Rickie Weeks.

Milwaukee Brewers Announce 2021 Triple-A Coaching Staff

 

The Milwaukee Brewers announced today their 2021 Minor League Baseball coaching staffs, including the Triple-A level, which is expected to be the Nashville Sounds. The Sounds have been invited to be Milwaukee’s top affiliate as part of Major League Baseball’s reorganization of the minor leagues, a process that is expected to be finalized next month.

Rick Sweet will be the manager of the Nashville Sounds for the 2021 season. Sweet is joined by pitching coach Jim Henderson, hitting coach Al LeBoeuf, coach Ned Yost IV, athletic trainer Lanning Tucker and strength and conditioning specialist Andrew Emmick.

Sweet returns to the Sounds seven years after he managed the club for the first time in 2014. He becomes the third person in team history to be appointed manager multiple times. He led the Sounds to a 77-67 record in 2014.

Since 2014, Sweet has served as the manager for Milwaukee’s Triple-A club. He was scheduled to manage the San Antonio Missions in 2020 prior to the Minor League Baseball season being cancelled. During his tenure with the Brewers organization, Sweet has compiled a managerial record of 439-402-1 (.521). In 30 years as a minor league manager, Sweet has amassed 2,031 wins, the 11th-most all-time. Sweet has garnered multiple awards including Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year in 1994, International League Manager of the Year in 2008 and 2009, and Baseball America’s Manager of the Year in 2010.

Henderson returns to Nashville for his first season as pitching coach for the Sounds. The right-hander pitched professionally for 14 seasons, including with Nashville (2011-12, 2014). The Canadian enters his fourth year as a coach in the Brewers organization. He assisted in Milwaukee’s scouting department and was short-season affiliate the Helena Brewers’ bullpen coach in 2018, was the pitching coach for Single-A Wisconsin in 2019 and was scheduled to be the pitching coach for Triple-A San Antonio in 2020 prior the season being cancelled.

Henderson pitched in the big leagues for the Brewers and New York Mets and compiled a 10-11 record with a 3.61 ERA in 155 career games. Henderson also represented Team Canada in the 2011 Pan American Games, where he won a gold medal and represented his country in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017.

LeBoeuf also returns to Nashville for his second stint on the Sounds coaching staff. He will serve as the team’s hitting coach, the same position he held with Nashville in 2012. 2021 is his 12th year in the Brewers organization and 34th as a coach in professional baseball. LeBoeuf’s coaching career began in 1988 and he has previously held many positions within the Brewers organization. He was also slated to be a member of San Antonio’s staff in 2020 prior to the pandemic. LeBoeuf played eight professional seasons in the Philadelphia Phillies organization from 1981-88. He was drafted in the 28th round of the 1981 June Amateur Draft out of Eastern Connecticut State University.

Yost IV begins his 14th year in the Brewers organization, and first as a coach with the Sounds. He played in Milwaukee’s minor league system from 2005-07 and has held various coaching roles since 2008. Yost was also slated to be on San Antonio’s staff in 2020 prior the season being cancelled. He is the son of former Brewers manager Ned Yost.

Tucker begins his first season as the athletic trainer for the Sounds. He joined the Brewers organization prior to the 2020 season and was scheduled to be the athletic trainer for Triple-A affiliate San Antonio. The Texas native worked in the Minnesota Twins organization from 1992-2017.

Emmick returns to Nashville as the team’s strength and conditioning specialist after spending five seasons with the Sounds from 2010-14 during the previous Milwaukee affiliation. The Kentucky native enters his 13th year in the Brewers organization.

The Nashville Sounds play at First Horizon Park. For more information on 2021 Season Ticket Memberships, call (615)690-4487 or e-mail tickets@nashvillesounds.com.

John Loar Leads Charge To Bring Sports Entertainment District to Music City [Interview]

John Loar

Businessman John Loar moved to Nashville to be closer to his daughter. Now he finds himself leading the charge to bring a Major League Baseball team and sports entertainment district to Music City.

His background is in real estate operations and acquisitions. In the late ’90s, Loar led the effort for the Seattle Seahawks acquisition and near-relocation to Los Angeles. He also supported former pitcher and Diamondbacks GM, Dave Stewart, on the acquisition of the Miami Marlins.

It’s clear that Loar sees Nashville’s potential future as part of MLB as a full circle investment in Music City’s entertainment capacity. He’s interested in creating a sports, family entertainment district—like that of Atlanta, Georgia’s The Battery Atlanta, and Ballpark Village in St. Louis, Missouri—not just a baseball field.

Loar founded Music City Baseball, LLC, an organization primarily of Tennessee business, sports, music, and community leaders that is committed to bringing a MLB franchise to the City of Nashville, without government funding. With a focus on securing MLB approval of an expansion franchise in Nashville, the leadership team is also open to the possibility of relocation and rebranding of an existing franchise.

Understanding the fabric of Music City and it’s business climate, Music City Baseball has already engaged with the music industry, securing Music Advisory Board Members to involve them in the plan for bringing MLB to Nashville and the concept of a new entertainment district. Entertainment icons Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Darius Rucker and Justin Timberlake have joined the Board thus far.

Darius Rucker. Photo: Courtesy FINN Partners

“The importance of the music industry to Music City Baseball’s objectives, extends to why Nashville is an important market,” Loar tells MusicRow. “It’s the opportunity to just connect the two of those going forward. Nashville is Music City, it’s the hottest market in the country. This ballpark is truly not a ballpark, it would be an entertainment venue for world-class entertainment, where you can imagine residencies like in Las Vegas. It would be air conditioned and covered, so they could use it year round. So it’s not about baseball, it’s more about that opportunity to create a world-class [entertainment complex], for convention use, for corporate use, etc.

“Baseball is the reason why I’m the catalyst behind it, but what we’re building here is a world-class entertainment venue. Baseball plays for 22% of the time, 81 games, but what it creates is an opportunity to have a venue within a venue. By design with our partners ASM Global, coordinating our music industry advisors, [the Nashville music industry can have] an important role in being part of this process. They can be included in the design of how the facility operates, how it’s designed and how it functions,” Loar says.

Rendering of potential ballpark / entertainment complex. Photo: Courtesy Music City Baseball

In an effort to build a Major League franchise on equity and celebrate diversity, Music City Baseball wants to name the team Nashville Stars, in honor of several Negro league baseball teams that played games in Nashville in the 1940s. They established a partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which includes a net sharing of revenues from the sale of merchandise bearing the name “Nashville Stars,” and cooperation between marketing and social media efforts.

“It gives Major League Baseball the opportunity to take its place in history and be proactive instead of reactive in the conversations that continue to go on diversity and inclusion,” Loar says.

Music City Baseball was positioned to submit a proposal to MLB to establish a team in Nashville, but that step has been delayed a year due to business effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. Until then, Loar is focused on site selection for the proposed entertainment district.

“We hope it’s in Davidson County, but it will possibly be in Williamson County or Rutherford County. We’ve got eight sites that we’re considering,” Loar says. “We hope it’s part of the East bank, potentially the Tennessee State University site. A downtown ballpark gives us the opportunity to build, with our partner ASM Global, a world-class entertainment venue. The walkability, bringing the Cumberland River alive, and just being part of a downtown park is the objective.”

In 2021, it’s important for Music City Baseball to show their partner (ASM Global) that the Nashville market can be a revenue contributor, the reasons why, and to find a site for the ballpark.

“We think we can privately finance a ballpark here, as it’s really not a ballpark. It’s an entertainment venue. The baseball team becomes a tenant,” Loar says. “It’s driven by the music industry in residencies, and in conventions. It supports the growth of Nashville, the airport growth, the expansion internationally, and the hotel industry and the restaurant industries that continue to grow, even with COVID. People come to Nashville just because it’s Music City, so when the Red Sox, the Phillies, the Giants, or whoever see the Stars on the schedule, they’re going to come here for a three-game series, and be a part of the town and the market area.”