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New Sounds owners “a breath of fresh air”

Nashville hearts Frank Ward and crew.
Today’s Tennessean newspaper tackles the issue of the future of the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), as new owners Frank Ward, Steve Posner and Masahiro Honzawa prepare to take the reins of the beleaguered franchise. To say baseball fans have been put through the ringer the last four years is an understatement, as the Sounds scrapped with city officials over a proposed new ballpark — a proposal that collapsed with the Sounds ownership fighting with the city, their developer and their bank. In the end, owner Al Gordon really had no choice but to sello the franchise.

That leaves Ward and crew in pretty good shape: there’s nothing like being the knights in shining armor to save baseball for a city that’s been pretty consistent in its support for the sport. The Sounds are still a decent draw in a subpar facility, but imagine the possibilities of the market if a new venue opened. Ward’s made all the right statements so far, pledging to put some money into Greer Field until they figure out the future for the team. Really, it’s unevitable a new ballpark will be discussed; Ward and crew are in the process of building some cred before formulating a plan.

The notion of putting that new facility at Sulphur Dell is an intriguing idea. For baseball historians, Suphur Dell is synonymous with baseball in the Music City: the game was first played there in 1870, and the site is available, now serving as a parking lot. It’s pretty clear there’s no appetite for a downtown facility, and in terms of marketing potential, Sulphur Dell may be a goldmine.

The Tennessean endorses the new owners.

Frank Ward pitches some woo at the city.

Metro Council Member Michael Craddock endorses the Suphur Dell site, with some caveats.