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Nashville Stars Name Unveiled, Despite Lack of MLB Expansion Plans

Major League Baseball

Despite the lack of current Major League Baseball expansion plans, a group that wants to bring a club to Nashville is branding its potential team as the Nashville Stars

Businessman John Loar is leading Music City Baseball LLC (MCB), a group that is exploring the idea of landing Nashville its own MLB franchise. Loar is joined that effort by former U.S Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and retired MLB pitcher and former Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart, with Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa and Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin serving in advisory roles.

The group has been making its interest in a potential MLB expansion franchise known and, on Wednesday, presented the name Nashville Stars to the local press as its potential club’s branding. The branding is inspired by a Negro Leagues team that once played in the city, and the group has plans for a partnership with the Kansas City-based Negro Leagues Museum. In unveiling the name, MCB backers did acknowledge that there is still a considerable amount of work that would have to be done in order to make a Nashville MLB team a reality. For its part, MLB continues to emphasize that there is no current expansion process underway. More from the Tennessean:

The team nickname comes with the context that there is no formal effort by the MLB to expand. The decision to expand, and the process of selecting expansion cities typically takes many years.

“The relationship with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is very important, but we know we can’t get a franchise just based on that,” Gonzales said. “We will have to make the business case that a baseball franchise here in Nashville will generate positive net revenue for the owners. That’s what they’re interested in.

“We also will have to make the case to the people of Nashville, and city and state officials, that a baseball franchise is going to enhance the reputation of the city and it’s going to benefit the citizens of Nashville either directly or indirectly. So these are objectives that obviously we’re aware and we intend to achieve.”…

“There is currently no expansion process in place,” Pat Courtney, chief communications officer for MLB, said Wednesday by email in response to questions about future expansion and the possibility of a franchise coming to Nashville.

MLB has plenty of factors it would need to consider before moving forward with expansion, including the uncertainty of several facility situations among current teams. The Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays are perhaps the two most pressing challenges within the league, as the A’s are continuing to plan a new ballpark at waterfront Howard Terminal while the Rays received permission this summer to explore a possible split-season arrangement between Tampa Bay and Montreal. There are, however, a few other situations that are somewhat unsettled–including those of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angles, and Toronto Blue Jays–and may at the least give MLB pause before it proceeds with any expansion plans.

The unveiling of a potential name signals that MCB is still eyeing MLB, and that the group will continue to do its due diligence. However, with MLB not conducting an active expansion process and having plenty of issues to resolve before it would so, it would be premature to count on the Nashville Stars–or any other potential expansion team, for that matter–taking the field any time soon.

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