NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — We could hear the words "Let's play ball" at First Horizon Park by this time next month. The Nashville Sounds are in negotiations with Major League Baseball to host at least 40 games, as a part of a reserve league for MLB.
Sixty players would play games four days a week for 10 weeks in Nashville and could be called up to the big leagues if MLB teams lose players to injury or COVID-19.
But even if that plan falls apart, the Sounds are still prepared to return play to Sulphur Dell.
There are currently two plans to bring baseball back. Two months ago, Nashville Sounds General Manager Adam Nuse came up with a plan to sign 40 players to play 40 games this summer starting July 23. All players would be screened regularly for the virus through Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
"We were actually planning on announcing this on Monday," Nuse told NewsChannel 5.
Nuse decided to run the idea by Major League Baseball. Instead of approving or rejecting the plan, they told the team they wanted in. "Major League Baseball heard about our idea, wanted to get behind it," said Nuse.
Fans would be allowed to attend the games, but only 25% of First Horizon Park would be allowed to attend.
Nuse says they are working on technology that would allow groups to buy tickets together, but each group would be automatically spaced six seats away from each other.
Under the MLB plan, players would be housed in a Nashville hotel. If the Sounds play independently from MLB, the players would be housed in host houses.
But all of this comes with a catch.
There won't be a first pitch under either plan unless the city of Nashville enters Phase 4 of their reopening plan which allows for sports venues to open their gates.
Right now, the city is on target to move into Phase 4 by July 20. "We’d be starting on the 23 so there’s not a lot of room for error," said Nuse.
Kimberly Wolff owns 312 Pizza Company in Germantown. You could say, she's having the year of the curve ball.
Her store was spared during the Super Tuesday tornado, but COVID-19 took a direct hit. If anyone could use more foot traffic, it would be her business, but she is unsure about this idea.
"I think any other day that would be the most exciting thing to hear," said Wolff.
More foot traffic could be good for business, but could also be a risk for her employees.
Talk about a curve ball.
"It sounds amazing but at the same time, because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, I still don’t know what that would look like," said Wolff.
Sounds GM Adam Nuse hopes to be able to make an announcement about the MLB partnership by early next week.
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More Safely Back to School storiesHow schools are changing, and what you can do to help your child get the most from their education, in-person or virtual
Getting Back To WorkLearn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
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Managing the PressureFeeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
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