Thoughts while trying to avoid another sunburn at the region baseball tournament …
Earlier this month, I had posed the question in a Twitter poll if people would like to see a Major League Baseball franchise relocate or MLB expand to Nashville. Out of 99 votes, 81% of those voters said yes.
Nashville already has a minor league baseball team in the Nashville Sounds, which is an AAA affiliate of the Texas Rangers. But the Music City does have a long, storied baseball tradition with the Sounds and before that the Vols.
Heck, before there were the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators, the Sounds were big time with their iconic guitar-shaped scoreboard and former players like Don Mattingly, Barry Larkin and Trevor Hoffman.
According to an article in Baseball America, Nashville is fourth on a list of prospective expansion sites for Major League Baseball. Leading the list is Portland, Oregon, to grow in the Pacific Northwest. After Portland is always popular (and rolling in dough) Las Vegas and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Baseball is apparently also interested in returning a team to Canada in either Montreal or Vancouver. Other potential international spots could include Japan, Latin America and even England.
As far as locating a team in the South, I don’t think it would be a bad idea. The region is home to the Atlanta Braves (I don’t categorize Florida as “the South” in this regard) and dotted with various minor league teams from low A to AAA.
Look at the draw of the NFL and NHL to Music City. Now, even Major League Soccer is coming to Nashville.
For us, it would be another baseball destination. We’re lucky to be in a prime spot for baseball fans. For Major League Baseball, St. Louis is around 3 hours away, and the same for the AAA Memphis Redbirds.
Marion, Illinois has the Southern Illinois Miners and Jackson, Tennessee has the AA Generals, which are affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both are around 1 ½-hour’s drive.
Closer to home, the Ohio Valley League is about to get underway. Head north and there’s the Paducah Chiefs. Go south to Fulton, and you have the Railroaders.
With summer “officially” in full swing this Memorial Day weekend, planning a trip to the ballpark might not be a bad idea. And maybe, we might get lucky and have another MLB team to root, root, root for.
Eric Walker is sports editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter (@sports_ewalker).