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Baseball in Nashville Never Sounded So Good As the Hot Chickens Take the Field at First Horizon Park

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Rumor has it that Booster - the giant red rooster mascot for the Nashville Sounds - was pretty hot under the collar when the Triple A squad decided to play a weekend's worth of games as the Nashville Hot Chickens from July 7 through 9, 2023 at First Horizon Park in Music City. I mean, just consider the unpleasant implications. Also less than pleasant were the conditions for the scheduled series against longtime rival the Columbus Clippers as the middle match was cancelled due to rain and lightning while the finale on Sunday was shortened to an official seven innings due to lingering inclement weather. Still, the Hot Chickens managed a mini hot streak of their own coming away with two solid victories to remain undefeated so far in their history as the embodiment of everyone's favorite meal in the Capitol region.


Nashville Hot Chickens versus Columbus Clippers in Music City.

On the plus side, this creative re-branding found long lines in the Sounds' Team Store as fans gathered to purchase extensive additions to the merch collections with colorful shirts and hats emblazoned with the fiery red rooster or a sumptuous chicken sandwich. Where some fans felt burned, however, was with the weekend's promotional giveaway item taking the form of a "Hot Chicken Passport". There were many complaints online with the ridiculous scope of the scavenger hunt that would require many hours, miles and much money to complete in full.


Nashville Hot Chickens take the field.

In short, the challenge would set Sounds fans off on a wild goose chase that would make a chicken with its head cut off blush. The task required fans to visit 14 local - and some not so local (Joelton? Loveless Cafe? Biscuit Love [have you seen the lines there?] - hot chicken restaurants to receive a "stamp" on the passport. A completed book would win the most adventurous hot chicken aficionados a free T-shirt. Many commenting online guessed that the level of difficulty presented by the Passport - not too dissimilar from the highest level of heat offered at Prince's or Hattie B's - would render the contest virtually impossible to finish. We would have to agree. While we love the new logo and branding possibilities offered by the Hot Chickens - the Nashville Sounds need to go back to the drawing board if they plan on bringing this back in the future. Just winging it ain't gonna cut it.


Booster found himself in a difficult position in Nashville.

Still, the game we attended on Sunday was extremely exciting and true to their newly acquired moniker the Hot Chickens bats were on fire. As the rain began to fall harder in the bottom of the six play continued, as there was no sign of lightning. But, there was a Skye Bolt bolt when the likable outfielder launched a shot out of the park into The Band Box section of the stands that evened things up at 6 all. Not to be outdone second baseman Cam Devanney followed with a solo scorcher of his own that exited the stadium down the left-field line to give the Hot Chickens the lead for good. Despite the weather shortened contest the outcome was nothing short of a tasty victory for the Sounds - err, Hot Chickens. It will be interesting to see if the club chooses to play under this new name again in the future as fans will be sure to flock the ballpark just to satisfy their curiosity and maybe even their hankering for some fiery fowl.


For a weekend in Nashville the Hot Chickens were at the plate and not on the plate.

Due to the fact that we had to leave First Horizon Park early we made our way back to our car when we serendipitously stumbled upon a game taking place between the East Nashville Phoenix and the Spring Hill Quicksteps of The Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball. The game with a 2:30 p.m. start was taking place in muddy conditions on the Bicentennial Mall where the SHQ would ultimately prevail 14-6 over the local squad. Given that the match was theoretically taking place in the 1860's - and that they didn't have access to Doppler Radar back then - you can understand why they played through the rain in the shadow of the Capitol with a good crowd of onlookers in attendance. It was quite the contrast having just coming from a modern game. The hobbyists didn't even have gloves or a pitch clock!


Even more Base Ball downtown - these old timers had quite the view at the Bicentennial Mall.

The Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball was established in 2012 to entertain and educate local communities throughout the state by recreating the civility of 19th century base ball. They promote living history by bringing the 19th century to life through base ball events that use the rules, equipment, costumes and culture of the 1860s. In addition, they also provide cultural enrichment and education programs and activities to youth and adults that emphasize honor, team play, respectful conduct and community pride. The organization's overriding goal is to exemplify to youth and adults alike the values that are lacking in modern-day athletic programs, and encourage a sense of belonging regardless of race, gender, religious conviction or physical ability.


Even more scenes from the Tennessee Vintage Base Ball Association.

Related Links: For more information on the NASHVILLE HOT CHICKENS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Nashville Sounds | First Horizon Park | Tennessee Vintage Base Ball


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