Top 10 Nashville Sounds Facts You Didn’t Know

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Top 10 Nashville Sounds Facts You Didn’t Know

The Nashville Sounds are one of Triple-A Baseball’s exciting teams every sports fan needs to learn about. In fact, the Sounds are a high-level farm club for the Milwaukee Brewers. Any Nashville fan that bleeds Sounds Red will know every information possible, from the team winning the Pacific Coast League title in 2005 to Booster Red Chicken being the official mascot. However, there are new Nashville Sounds facts that many baseball supporters never knew or never heard of in their lives. For details on what facts baseball fans rarely knew about, please refer to Top 10 Nashville Sounds Facts You Didn’t Know below!

10: Before Booster the Red Chicken, the Sounds had Another Mascot in the Past

Booster the Red Chicken is perhaps the most remembered mascot in the history of the Sounds. He walks on top of the dugouts to take part in baseball’s traditional 7th inning stretch. In addition, the mascot meets-and-greets fans in the concourses for selfies and autographs. By the way, Booster was inspired by one of Tennessee’s best food items: the Nashville Hot Chicken. But did you know that before Booster the Red Chicken, the Sounds had another mascot in the past? 

Debuted in the late 1990s, Ozzie the Cougar created a cult following on the Nashville baseball scene. He looked pretty much similar to the Denver Nuggets’ basketball mascot, Rocky the Mountain Lion. Ozzie even got to stand with country superstar Carrie Underwood during a celebrity charity event in 2010. However, the fun-loving cougar was not brought back in the mid-2010s and was replaced by his successor: Booster the Red Chicken. The decision was made as part of the Sounds relocating to their new ballpark at the then-First Tennessee Park in 2015. 

9: The New Sounds Stadium was Originally Going to be a Waterfront Ballpark

Over the past couple years, there have been some amazing ideas for baseball venues that actually never got through. For instance, PNC Park in Pittsburgh was intended to have a life-sized pirate ship beyond the right field wall. Also, the New Yankee Stadium in the Bronx had plans to build a retractable roof during the early 2000s. One more thing to add is that Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago was about to be surrounded by shops and restaurants. But believe it or not, the new Nashville Sounds stadium was originally going to be built as a waterfront ballpark. 

In 2006, plans were made to construct a new venue that would replace Herschel Greer Stadium. The new ballpark would have been located near the Cumberland River with home plate facing that river. In addition, the planned Sounds park would have been surrounded by retail and residential buildings that include shops, restaurants, and apartments. However, the riverfront ballpark never came to fruition with possible factors due to financial and public concerns. Eventually, the Sounds found their new stadium in the formerly-named First Tennessee Park located in the northern part of downtown. 

8: Nashville’s Former Home, Herschel Greer Stadium, is Now a Part of Fort Negley

Herschel Greer Stadium served as the official home for the Nashville Sounds from 1978 until 2014. The venue was named in honor of local businessman Herschel Lynn Greer, who was responsible for providing funds for the ballpark’s construction. The old venue was the site for the 1994 Triple-A All-Star Game, where Team National defeated Team American 8-5. But when the Nashville Sounds moved to their downtown ballpark in 2015, Herschel Greer Stadium was eventually torn down. Recently, there have been plans in terms of what will happen to the old Sounds park site. 

In the late 2010s, the land that formerly housed Herschel Greer Stadium was planned to be utilized as part of Fort Negley’s expansion. For those who don’t know, Fort Negley was a military station that was built during the Civil War in the 1800s. The area includes the actual fort along with a visitors center where tourists can learn about its history. Now, in regards to the old ballpark site, it was unclear how the land would be incorporated. Possible ideas range from building a community center to serving as a history reenactment show. 

7: First Horizon Park Sits on the Land Formerly Used by a Sports Venue

The current Nashville Sounds stadium is one of Tennessee’s most visited baseball venues along with AutoZone Park in Memphis and AT&T Field in Chattanooga. First Horizon Park is notable for its guitar-shaped video board along with the 360 concourse. The facility also served as the temporary home for Major League Soccer’s Nashville before moving to Nissan Stadium and then to GEODIS Park. But before First Horizon Park, the site was previously used by another sports venue. Actually, the land was the site for the city’s first professional baseball stadium. 

Opened in the mid-1880s, Sulphur Dell became the official place for pastime baseball in the Music City. The old ballpark was named after the fact that a natural sulphur spring was situated close to the property. For the majority of its timeline, Sulphur Dell served as the home for the defunct Nashville Vols (who played for over 60 years). Unfortunately, the Nashville Sounds never got to play at the old stadium because it was demolished before they made their debut. That being said, the First Horizon Park now sits on the land that used to be Sulphur Dell. 

6: The Sounds Have Their Own Mascot Races During Baseball Games

In some baseball stadiums, it is quite common for teams to have their own mascot races. For example, the Milwaukee Brewers have the iconic Sausage Racers that take place during games at American Family Field. The Cleveland Guardians have the Racing Hot Dogs at Progressive Field, while the Pittsburgh Pirates have the Pierogi Racing Squad at PNC Park. Also, there are some teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Oakland Athletics that host Hall of Famers Mascot Races. One more thing to include is the Presidential Races that take place at Washington Nationals contests. 

But for the Nashville Sounds, the Triple-A club has a mascot race of their own at First Horizon Park. Debuted in 2016, the racers were inspired by Music City’s best remembered country singers. Those racers are the following: Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Reba McEntire, and George Jones. At some time during a Nashville Sounds home game, the fan-favorite event begins at centerfield with the finish line situated near the first base dugout. By the way, there aren’t many Minor League Baseball teams that offer mascot races at their contests. 

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5: Nashville has Thrown Four No-Hitters Since the 21st Century Began

The Nashville Sounds know a thing or two when it comes to throwing no-hitters. In fact, the team has accomplished four no-no’s in its history. The Sounds are one of the couple teams to have thrown multiple no-hitters since the early 2000s: Sacramento, Oklahoma City, and Colorado Springs (now San Antonio Missions). However, half of those Nashville no-no’s have taken place at the former Herschel Greer Stadium. In other words, a no-hitter has never occurred at First Horizon Park. 

In April 2003, Sounds pitcher John Wasdin threw the team’s first no-no in club history against the Albuquerque Isotopes in the Music City. Three years later, Nashville tossed a combined no-hitter (started by Carlos Villanueva) vs. in-state rival Memphis RedBirds at Herschel Greer Stadium. In 2007, Sounds Right-Hander Manny Parra threw the team’s first no-no on the road against Round Rock Express in Texas. The recent no-hitter by Nashville took place in 2017 when a combined effort started by Chris Smith and Sean Doolittle was achieved vs. Omaha Storm Chasers in Nebraska. Here’s a surprising fact: both no-hitters from John Wasdin and Manny Parra were actually perfect games (no hits and no baserunners). 

4: First Horizon Park is One of the Couple Stadiums to Have a Miniature Golf Course

There are some Triple-A ballparks in the country that have one feature fans can’t find anywhere else. Huntington Park in Columbus has the AEP Pavilion at left field, while Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City has the view of the mountains. Durham Bulls Athletic Park in North Carolina has the huge bull sign at left field, while Isotopes Park in Albuquerque has a couple statues from The Simpsons. But did you know that First Horizon Park is one of the couple stadiums to have a miniature golf course? The one-of-a-kind mini putt-putt golf area is located behind the Band Box social gathering area at right field. 

Officially referred to as the Country Club, the nine-hole golfing experience is open during every Sounds home game and charges a small fee. Perhaps the most interesting part about the mini putt-putt golf course is that each hole was designed by local artists. One of those holes is shaped like a guitar, and there’s the other hole where fans can shoot the ball into the robot’s mouth. Also, there’s a hole with a huge fish statue next to it and another one where there’s miniature skyscraper buildings. First Horizon Park is one of the rare ballparks with mini golf courses along with Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. 

3: The Sounds Used to Play in the I-40 Series Cup vs. Memphis RedBirds

One of the greatest parts about sports is about watching some of the best rivalries battle out against each other. For instance, the east coast rivalries are a major draw for fans to consider, such as Celtics vs. Knicks and Phillies vs. Mets. In addition, the Midwest has a reputation for hosting big-name rivalry contests that involve Astros vs. Rangers and Spurs vs. Mavericks. Last but not least, the west side of the country witnesses some of the most vicious battles in the sports industry such as Angels vs. Dodgers and Rams vs. Chargers. Interestingly, the Sounds used to play in the annual Nashville vs. Memphis rivalry: the I-40 Series Cup. 

Named after the highway that connects the two cities, the I-40 Series Cup began in 2012. The grand prize for this rivalry received a two-foot silver trophy. The series was a huge deal because the team that came in defeat would have given donations to the winning club’s choice of charity. During the event’s lifetime, the games were played at the now-demolished Herschel Greer Stadium and AutoZone Park in Memphis. Unfortunately, the I-40 Series Cup came to an end following the event’s debut at the then-First Horizon Park in 2015. 

2: Fans Can Get a Taste of Baseball History at First Horizon Park

Over the past century, Music City has experienced three legendary ballparks. The one that started it all was Sulphur Dell, which existed during the first half of the 1900s. Next, Herschel Greer Stadium opened in the 1970s and became the birthplace for the Nashville Sounds. Last but not least, First Horizon Park is the current home for the Triple-A squad on the site where Sulphur Dell once stood. But believe it or not, fans can get a taste of baseball history at First Horizon Park. To clarify, spectators can experience all three stadium memories in one ballpark.

One of the current venue’s most famous features is the guitar-shaped video board located beyond right field. That scoreboard was inspired from the one that previously stood at Herschel Greer Stadium. Other than the guitar-shaped video board, there’s another piece of history where fans can visit. Behind the batter’s eye wall at centerfield, there’s a sign that says “Site of Sulphur Dell: Baseball’s Most Historic Park 1870-1963.” That sign helps remind fans that the old venue was built on the site before the current stadium. Not only is First Horizon Park the home of Nashville Sounds baseball, but the facility is also the home for Music City’s historical national pastime. 

1: Nashville Has Won Three Pitcher of the Year Awards Since 2007

Winning a major award is considered a huge deal in Minor League Baseball, especially for those who are trying to get to the big leagues. If a person wins Most Valuable Player or Rookie of the Year, then this scenario could increase his chances of getting called up to the Major Leagues. Also, that person might face the chances of receiving an invitation to Spring Training from his team’s parent club. Luckily, for the Nashville Sounds, they have made the Music City proud by winning three team awards since 2007. As a matter of fact, the team has won player awards along with best game day experiences. 

The awards stretch began in mid-2000s when the Sounds were still in residence at Herschel Greer Stadium. Nashville Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey claimed the 2007 Pitcher of the Year by compiling a 13-6 record with a 3.72 Earned Run Average (E.R.A) and 119 strikeouts. By the way, Dickey went on to win the 2012 Cy Young trophy while he was with the New York Mets. In 2013, Sounds Right-Hander Johnny Hellweg won the Best Pitcher award for his 12-5 record with a 3.15 E.R.A. and 89 punchouts. One year later, Nashville Ace Jimmy Nelson earned the Pitcher of the Year by going 10-2 with a 1.46 E.R.A. and 114 strikeouts. 

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