You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Nashville Sounds and Texas Rangers will play exhibition game in 2019 or 2020

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 9/20/2018 Mike Organ
a man cutting a cake: Frank Ward and Ray Davis shake hands after signing the 4-year player development contract between the Nashville Sounds and the Texas Rangers. © Autumn Allison Frank Ward and Ray Davis shake hands after signing the 4-year player development contract between the Nashville Sounds and the Texas Rangers.

Fans can expect the return of major-league exhibition baseball games as a result of the Sounds and Texas Rangers entering into a four-year Player Development Contract on Thursday.

It's been 19 years since the Sounds last played their major league affiliate — the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time — in Nashville, but officials from both clubs Thursday said bringing back the tradition is high on their list of priorities. 

They promised a game will either played prior to the 2019 or 2020 seasons.

"We are aptly going to play an exhibition game, if not this season, next season, here," Rangers CEO Neil Leibman said. "We haven't finalized that yet. MLB gives us our calendar, so we need to find some dates that work neutrally without moving a team from one end of the country to the other. We play in Arizona (spring training), we have to make it convenient for the team."

Nashville general manager Adam Nuse acknowledged fans have missed seeing the Sounds play against their MLB affiliate and that is why it is important to bring back such games.

"The exhibition game is something that is a big priority for us; it hasn't happened here in a long time," Nuse said. "We've been in discussions with (Rangers general manager) Jon Daniels and his team on trying to figure that out and trying to get some dates. The goal is to play one this season. There were a lot of things that were already set up early that we're going to have to work around, but both teams are working on it hard."

Texas played its former affiliate Round Rock in an exhibition game when that Player Development Contract began in 2011.

In 1996 eight major league clubs — Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, Montreal Expos and Kansas City Royals — played in the Nashville Baseball Classic at the Sounds' former facility Greer Stadium.

Nuse said the Rangers were at the top of the Sounds' list when it came to finding a new affiliate. The Sounds and Oakland A's ended their affiliation at the end of this past season.

"Certainly the geographic was something; we'd been with the Oakland A's and they were great partners, but having somebody a little bit closer was important to us," Nuse said.

He also said Nashville officials monitored which major league teams Sounds fans favored and realized the Rangers appeared to be prevalent.

"This year we knew that our PDC was up so we were looking at what our fans were wearing when they came to games," Nuse said. "And a lot of times, outside of the Braves and Cardinals, it was a lot of Rangers fans. That stuck out and we noticed that all year long as we examined what was going to be happening."

Very little will change about the day-to-day operations for the Sounds as a result of the new affiliation.

"There's new energy that comes with a new (major league) team coming in, but our staff all stays the same," Muse said. "Our broadcaster (Jeff Hem) stays here. There was some concern that he might leave, but he's still a part of our team."

Texas co-chairman Ray Davis said the Rangers targeted the Sounds early in their selection process for a new Triple-A affiliate.

"Nashville has always been one of my favorite cities in the United States," Davis said. "I've owned real estate here, been coming here for a lot of years, and to be able to come here to this kind of a facility (First Tennessee Park) to develop our players is just a dream come true." 

SOUNDS CHANGE AFFILIATE: A's to Rangers, what you should know

BASEBALL IN NASHVILLE:A lengthy look at the Music City's baseball history

Reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Tennessean (Nashville)

The Tennessean (Nashville)
The Tennessean (Nashville)
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon