Former Country Music Executive John Alexander Releases Memoir

John “Alexander” Arezzi

Former country music executive John Alexander is telling the story of his careers in music, baseball and professional wrestling in a new memoir called, Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music and With The Mets, released April 6.

Alexander, born John Arezzi, details his 20-year career in music working at GAC, Black River Entertainment, and Bandtwango. Alexander managed country singer Sarah Darling, was instrumental in jumpstarting the career of Patty Loveless, and discovered country music star Kelsea Ballerini.

“My life has been a roller coaster ride involving high profile jobs in the high profile industries of country music, professional wrestling, and baseball,” says Alexander. “There are twists and turns, financial peaks and valleys, and many amazing relationships which shaped who I am today. My story features a who’s who in the industries I have spent time in, and even interactions with billionaires, and a former U.S. President whom I ‘fire’ on national TV. It is a good read!”

Published through ECW Press and co-authored by Greg Oliver, Mat Memories is Alexander’s chance to tell the untold behind-the-scenes stories: from the ring, the stage, and the diamond.

“Having the opportunity to share my life story in a memoir is truly life changing,” says Alexander. “So many have told me for years that I needed to write a book on my life, and I am grateful to ECW Press, and my co-author, Greg Oliver for giving me that opportunity.”

The Long Island native was a lifelong New York Mets fan who always wanted to work in baseball. In 1981, he took a job with the Mets Single A minor league team in North Carolina. Besides baseball, Alexander had another love, professional wrestling. He ran a fan club for the villainous “Classy” Freddie Blassie as a teenager, then progressed to wrestling photographer, and finally even stepped into the ring himself as ‘John Anthony.’

In the 1990s, Alexander went on to host the pioneering radio talk show Pro Wrestling Spotlight. He also ran one of the first major conventions, assembling a wrestling meet and greet to meet with fans. He promoted shows, both at home and abroad, and was a key figure behind importing lucha libre into America.

Eventually he left wrestling to pursue a new life in an altogether different world: country music. After adopting a new name, John Alexander, he made his mark as a music marketing executive and artist manager.

Released on April 6, Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music and With The Mets can be purchased on Amazon. It is available for here now.

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.

Sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak And Sony Music Entertainment Debut New Podcast

Sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak and Sony Music Entertainment have teamed up to announce a new podcast called The Artist and The Athlete with Lindsay Czarniak featuring conversations with some of the biggest names in sports and music.

Each episode of the Fox Sport’s NFL sideline reporter’s new show will pair an iconic sports figure alongside a renowned musician for an intimate, wide-ranging conversation that explores their path to success, their process, and their passions away from the big stage.

“One of the things I love most about this show is the candid nature of hearing these stars from the world of sports and music compare stories and experiences from on and off the field,” says Czarniak. “This feels more like a conversation with a surprisingly authentic vibe between these guests that is unique and ultimately really relatable and entertaining.”

Episode one features Czarniak with country superstar Brad Paisley and Los Angeles Dodger pitcher and World Series Champion Clayton Kershaw. These two friends share behind the scenes stories including their unique pre-show and pregame routines as well as their joint family vacation.

This season will feature conversations between Alanis Morrisette and Danica Patrick; Eddie Vedder and Anthony Rizzo; The Avett Brothers and Jimmie Johnson; Luke Combs and Luke Kuechly; Kirk Franklin and Ray Lewis; and more to be announced.

The Artist and The Athlete with Lindsay Czarniak is produced by Carter Little and Czarniak and is currently available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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.

Justin Timberlake To Join Music City Grand Prix Ownership Group

Justin Timberlake is joining the Music City Grand Prix Ownership Group along with NASCAR team owner and driver Justin Marks, and former Delta Airlines Chief Operating Officer Gil West.

Timberlake is not new to the racing scene. In 2011 he backed late British driver Dan Wheldon’s winning effort in the Indianapolis 500 through a sponsorship with his clothing company William Rast.

This announcement comes just a few months after President & CEO of the Big Machine Label Group Scott Borchetta joined the group.

“I am incredibly proud of the ownership group we have assembled,” says Matt Crews, CEO of Music City Grand Prix. “Our group combines game changers in the world of business, music and motorsports. Each person brings something unique to the table that will be invaluable as we merge motorsports, music and food into a one-of-a-kind event. This event will be one to remember and one to be celebrated year after year in the heart of Music City. We look forward to the team’s unique perspectives and the magic that soon will become the inaugural Music City Grand Prix.”

The inaugural urban street race will take place in Nashville August 6-8, 2021 on a temporary 2.17 mile grand prix circuit in downtown Nashville. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at musiccitygp.com/tickets .

Music City Grand Prix Three-Day Ticket Packages On Sale

The Music City Grand Prix three-day ticket packages are now on sale.

The international festival of speed and sound comes to Nashville August 6-8, 2021 and will be staged on a temporary 2.17-mile grand prix circuit around and near the Nissan Stadium campus.

“We are extremely humbled, and appreciative of the support and enthusiasm we have received locally, nationally, and internationally around our event. We know fans have been eagerly awaiting the chance to purchase tickets for this festival,” says President of the Music City Grand Prix Christian Parker. “Whether you are a family looking for a fun outing, a music lover, a foodie or a hardcore race enthusiast, there is something for everyone, with a wide variety of affordable pricing options, at the Music City Grand Prix”

In addition to a weekend of NTT IndyCar Series, GT America and Trans AM racing, attendees can look forward to the best Nashville has to offer, including live music performances by top artists, best-in-class food experiences, and entertainment.

Both general and reserved ticket packages are on sale for the inaugural Music City Grand Prix race. Tickets can be purchased on musiccitygp.com/tickets.

Here’s a look at the options available:

Three-day package add-ons: