Nashville Sounds Strike a Chord in Music City
Minor league baseball team unveils new stadium
The Nashville Sounds, a minor league baseball team, have been a major sports fixture in Music City since 1978. Before moving into the new $75 million First Tennessee Park in downtown, the Sounds played home baseball games in Hershel Greer Stadium. The new stadium opened April 17, 2015, with the team defeating the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, 3-2.
The Nashville ball club competes in the Pacific Coast League and recently became a Triple-A minor league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The Sounds are named for Nashville’s long-time association with the music industry and are among the top attractions in Nashville. The team’s scoreboard is shaped like a guitar and has become an iconic part of the Nashville skyline.
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First Tennessee Park
The new stadium features seating for 10,000 along with lawn seating, and most observers say the park has a major league look to it. Spectators have a view of the downtown Nashville skyline beyond center field, while condominiums beyond left field (a la Wrigley Field) allow neighbors to watch the baseball action from their balconies.
The ballpark features a natural turf field as well as a large concourse area where spectators can see the game while buying concessions. Plus, there are bars in both right and left fields along with a large guitar-shaped video scoreboard in right-center field. A state-owned parking garage is under construction and will be available to patrons in 2016.
First Tennessee Park is in north Nashville near Jefferson Street in the Sulphur Dell neighborhood where a former baseball stadium once stood from 1870-1963 that housed the Nashville Vols minor league team of the Southern Association. Nashville’s mayor, Karl Dean, says the opening of the new ballpark will ultimately provide a great resurgence to the Sulphur Dell district, with more than 25 business and construction projects planned for the area.
A total of 25 managers and more than 1,000 players have worn the Nashville Sounds uniform, and those who advanced to the major leagues include Steve Balboni, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, Prince Fielder, Otis Nixon, Don Mattingly and Buck Showalter. The Sounds have a uniform color palate of red, black, platinum silver and white, and the team is currently contracted with Oakland from 2015 through 2018.
Single-game ticket prices at Sounds games range from $10-$40, and the team schedules multiple promotions throughout their baseball season that runs from April-September. There are 14 fireworks nights and 35 promotion games, including popular Throwback Thursdays where fans can purchase select beer and soft drinks for $2 all night.
In addition, the Sounds have hosted occasional Christian-based Faith Night promotions since 2002, featuring pregame concerts from performers such as Jars of Clay, Hawk Nelson and Matthew West. Faith Nights have historically been among the top 10 most-attended Sounds games each season, and the promotions also include a bobblehead – the first 2,000 fans in attendance receive a bobblehead such as an angel, Mary or Joseph.