NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a major step in the right direction for Major League baseball in Nashville.
Music City Baseball now has a former MLB General Manager on its side. Dave Dombrowski, former General Manager for the Boston Red Sox has joined the effort to bring a franchise to the Music City.
“There are no promises from Major League Baseball at this time for even having a franchise granted, but I do know that MLB thinks of Nashville as a Major League city. People around the game who travel around, everybody loves the city and thinks it’s an up and coming place and will host a major league team,” said Dombrowski.
Dombrowski is committed to the cause. He sold his house in Boston and is set to move down to Nashville in August. Music City Baseball has gotten the ball rolling, but Dombrowski is here to push it even further.
“The advantage for me coming on board is I have Major League Baseball experience having been with a big league club for over 40 years and having run a baseball/business parts of it for over 30 years. So having that that type of experience and knowing people within MLB, and having the ability to be involved in the actual baseball operations.”
This isn’t his first expansion endeavor.
“I was involved with an expansion team with the Florida Marlins in 1991, trying to get that started and when the operation started to play in 1993. So I think those are all some things that will be helpful to the group here.”
The dream is far away from becoming a reality, so it’s still unclear whether or not Nashville will be an expansion team or a relocation squad.
“We’ll be open minded, but what we need to do is be prepared for whenever that happens with major league baseball,” he said. “Not only all of those steps of getting investors, but we have to get a ballpark built because we have to have a place where they can come. So that’s one of the key focuses for us in trying to get that accomplished.”
A stadium is one key focus, but that’s just one step of many.
“There’s a lot of communication that takes place, but we need to be in the position where we get a location for a ballpark. East bank is our preferable site. We’re doing feasibility studies. You end up having to have ownership of the team, so you’re in a position where you’re raising funds to do that as well as funding a privately funded baseball stadium. So there are a lot of different steps. We want community support so we’re constantly reaching out to the community and community leaders.”
Major League baseball teams have a basic agreement between the clubs and players until 2021, so he says conversations about an expansion or relocation will likely happen after that.
“You figure once you’re granted a franchise it takes 24-30 months to build a ballpark. It takes that long especially if you’re having a retractable roof ballpark which we think is important here so people can come from outside the region, you’re weather protected, you know there’s always an assuredness you’re going to play the game.”
Dombrowski estimates that at the earliest, this wouldn’t happen until potentially 2024-25.
“There are a lot of steps that are involved still, so we’re a long way from making that happen, but we think we can make it happen.”