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The Nashville Sounds Experience a Season of Change in Music City

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Circling the concourse on Friday, June 25, 2021 in advance of the evening's showdown between the Nashville Sounds and the Charlotte Knights we noticed a lot of signs indicating that we were now in "Hit City" - an obvious play on Nashville's propensity for producing hit records and the Sounds' ability to score runs on the baseball diamond. Since you can't have hits without the misses the statement was a perfect sentiment. After the whole of the 2020 season was scrubbed due to Covid-19 on this beautiful late spring evening 11,244 fans were in attendance - representing the largest crowd of the season at First Horizon Park and the sixth sellout of 2021.

The Nashville Sounds jousted with the Charlotte Knights in Music City.

As the Sounds took the field in 2021 they did so with substantial change in the air and in the structure of the minor league system in which they play. The longtime fixtures in the AAA Pacific Coast League now find themselves realigned into the newly created Triple-A East division as a returning affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The reshuffling is part of a larger MLB initiative to lessen travel time and to move minor league teams closer to their big league franchise partners - a long term goal that saw its fulfillment this year hastened by the pandemic.

The Nashville Sounds get back to playing ball in "Hit City"!

Another change noticed this year is the name of the Sounds' state of the art ball field went from First Tennessee Park to First Horizon Park. Even though this alteration went into effect in January 2020 it went mostly unnoticed by fans since the boys of summer had last season off. While this is a mostly cosmetic adjustment it didn't take much to notice some real concrete differentiation from previous seasons. Two new restaurants just outside the stadium in addition to dozens of new condominiums have come online to give this section of town a real vitality that has firmly landed the region on the map as a new Nashville hot spot.

Scenes at the Sounds game in Nashville, Tennessee.

Another innovation laid into law by Major League Baseball during the previous campaign is the extra inning rule adjustments that have certainly rankled some of the game's purists. But, we got to see it in action on Friday night and the placing of a pinch runner on second base to start the at bats produced a dramatic and exciting conclusion to the game. Talk about hit city! For the Sounds half of the extra frame two hit batters and a wild pitch resulted in a captivating 5-4 comeback to the delight of the fans and their lovable mascot - Booster the Rooster.

Third and Home is one of the new establishments that overlooks the field.

Still, the more things change the more they stay the same. First Horizon Park remains a quality entertainment destination and the traditional Friday Night Fireworks capped off an impressive win with an explosive exclamation point. The Band Box outdoor restaurant, The Country Club, a 9-hole miniature golf course, cornhole and ping pong all add to the festive atmosphere. The Country Legends Race featuring oversized foam caricature costumes depicting country musicians Johnny Cash, George Jones, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton always brings a smile as they race around the warning track from center field, through the visiting bullpen, and to the home plate side of the first base dugout. On this night even "The Possum" managed to show up and put one in the win column.

The newly minted First Horizon Park in the heart of Nashville.

Related Links: For more information on the NASHVILLE SOUNDS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Nashville Sounds | The Nashville Sounds Make Forty Look Good in Music City | The Nashville Sounds Produce a Hit Season in Music City


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