NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Major League Baseball is gaining momentum in Music City as a group continues their push to bring MLB to Nashville.
“Music City Baseball” has brought on board the likes of Justin Timberlake, Bobby Bones, Eddie George, and last month, baseball great Don Mattingly.
The group is hoping that if and when MLB adds teams, Nashville will be awarded a franchise.
Former MLB player and current board member of Music City Baseball, Dave Stewart, said there’s no guarantee, but the conversations are promising.
“We believe we will get a team based on conversations that we’re having with the commissioner to commissioner’s office based on the city itself, and the progression of the city. The growth of the city creates a great market for Major League Baseball,” Stewart said. “But I think if we’re realistically looking at this, we’re probably talking for five years.”
📧 Have breaking come to you: Subscribe to News 2 email alerts →
The group said the franchise would be called the “Nashville Stars.” The name “Stars” was selected to honor Nashville’s connection to Negro League Baseball. The Stars were one of many Negro League Teams based in Middle Tennessee.
Music City Baseball will need financing and a stadium plan to bring Major League Baseball to town and board members believe they have found their future home.
Stewart said Music City Baseball is looking North.
“Right now our focus is Tennessee State, and there’s a lot of land there for us to do this development,” Stewart said. “I think that’s a great project for the North Nashville area and the residents.”
Stewart mentioned they do have secondary sites, but are hopeful about the possibly of North Nashville
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has spoken about expansion
and has mentioned Nashville as a possible home for a future franchise.
Board members with Music City Baseball told WKRN that conversations with Manfred have been positive.
News 2 also spoke to ESPN Baseball Analyst Buster Olney about the possible expansion and Nashville’s chances of landing a team, and he believes many folks in the sport love the idea.
“You know, for years I’d hear about Portland, or you hear about Montreal, or Charlotte, but now when that topic comes up, and you’re talking to people on background, it’s always Nashville that’s mentioned first, in part because it’s proven as a major league city,” Olney said.
Olney added fans in Music City have proved they are willing to support home town teams.
Music City Baseball would need to line up financing and an ownership group; there are still a lot of boxes to check, but if they can check them, Olney believes Nashville would be at the top of the list to land an expansion team.
“I think it would be dangerous to predict a precise timeline,” Olney said. “But I know this – people in baseball want to get to 32 teams, and to have four divisions of four teams and 16 teams in each league.”
Olney believes Manfred is focused on this for many reasons, but one motivating factor is the financial gain more teams could bring to MLB before the next decade.
“The clear devotion is to be making as much money as possible. This is a great way for them to make money,” Olney said. “I believe that you will have expansion teams picked out, two cities picked out by 2030, by the end of this decade.”
Olney said MLB may have other priorities as well, specifically the troubling stadium situations in Oakland, California and St. Petersburg, Florida.
“I’ve talked to club presidents who really don’t like the idea of a team moving to Nashville because they think it’s such fertile ground, and they would rather have the Oakland Athletics solve their own situation, maybe go to Las Vegas. They’d rather have the race or their own situation,” Olney said.
But for everyone against the move, Olney said there are people who are for a Nashville expansion being built from the ground up.