The Nashville Sounds have been selected as the Pacific Coast League's nominee for Minor League Baseball's coveted Larry MacPhail Award. The notable honor recognizes the club that demonstrates outstanding creative marketing and promotional efforts within its community, its ballpark, in media and other promotional materials. The winner will be announced at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, California from December 8-12.
When determining the winner, Minor League Baseball examines each nominee's involvement in the community through charity events and civic organizations along with in-game promotions at the ballpark, giveaways, and sponsor events. The use of media and promotional materials along with non-game day events such as concerts and youth clinics are also considered.
A team from the PCL has not captured the award since Round Rock took home the honor in 2006.
The excitement surrounding the 2019 season at First Tennessee Park started long before the team took the field on April 4 for Opening Day. The organization revealed two major changes during the offseason - the Texas Rangers as the team's new Major League affiliate and the Sounds Remastered rebranding and campaign event.
Following the 2018 season, the Sounds and Texas Rangers held a press conference at First Tennessee Park to announce a four-year player development contract. The Rangers ownership team of Ray C. Davis and Neil Leibman, accompanied by General Manager Jon Daniels, attended the press conference in late September.
Following weeks of teaser campaigns on social media, thousands of fans packed First Tennessee Park on November 15, 2018 to get the first look at the team's complete overhaul of its uniforms, logos and marks. The Sounds Remastered event was a rousing success with Rangers ownership, Hall of Famer Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez and current Rangers players present at the highly anticipated reveal.
The two major changes were on the display for the first time on March 24, 2019. The Sounds and Rangers played the first Major League exhibition game in Nashville since 1999. The Sunday matinee game at First Tennessee Park drew a record-breaking crowd of 11,824.
The momentum from the exhibition game carried into the regular season at First Tennessee Park. 578,291 fans passed through the gates during the 2019 season. The Sounds saw 23 sellout crowds pack the park and finished with an average of 8,631 fans per game, the third-highest mark in Minor League Baseball.
The Nashville Sounds Foundation and community relations department were as active as ever in Middle Tennessee during the 2019 campaign. Once per month during the season, several Sounds players, along with Booster and front office members visited patients at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. On July 22, the Sounds hosted their fourth annual "Hope to Dream" event. The front office, along with several players, and representatives from Ashley HomeStore surprised 30 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee with new bed sets.
Another rapidly growing program designed by the community relations department reached new heights in 2019. Throughout the season the community relations team visited five local elementary schools to play "Pop Up Baseball" games. Front office members, Sounds players and Booster "popped" up at schools with bases, balls and bats. City of Nashville Mayor David Briley joined the fun for one of the games. In addition to teaching Nashville's youth about baseball fundamentals, all supplies were donated to the school to further their experience with the game.
The Sounds took their promotions and entertainment to a new level in 2019 and were nominated for two Golden Bobbleheads by Minor League Baseball. "An Evening in Bachville" was awarded August/September Promotion of the Month and is one of eight nominees in the high-profile Best Theme Night category. The Sounds welcomed former "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" contestants for an exclusive pregame cocktail party and special Q&A session before hanging out with the former contestants at The Band Box prior to that night's game.
Nashville's Play Like A Girl Night on June 14 has been nominated for the Best Non-Game Day Event and is one of five nominees in the category. Prior to the game, the Sounds held a clinic and tour for girls at First Tennessee Park led by female staff members. All participants later returned for the game and a portion of ticket sales were donated to Play Like a Girl - a Nashville based charitable organization with the mission to develop girls' potential to become impactful leaders in the STEM workforce by keeping girls active in sports through their middle school years and translating their athletic skills to leadership in the workforce. The winners will be announced at the Minor League Baseball Innovators Summit on Thursday, September 26.
In early May, the Sounds changed their name to Vihuelas de Nashville, complete with specialty jerseys at hats as part of Minor League Baseball's Copa de la Diversión. The Sounds tapped into Nashville's Latinx community and gave away a Sugar Skull Bobblehead to the first 2,000 fans on Sunday, May 5.
Other notable promotions during the 2019 season included Stand Up To Cancer, Pride Night, Star Wars Weekend, 615 Night, Paradise at the Park, A Tribute to Woodstock, Christmas in July, Scout Night, Peanut Free Night and three Faith and Family Nights, among many others.
Weekly promotions were led by the popular addition of Tito's Tail Waggin' Tuesdays. The Sounds opened First Tennessee Park to all furry four-legged friends on eight occasions in 2019. All $5 dog tickets benefited local nonprofits such as Agape Animal Rescue, New Leash on Life and Nashville Humane Association, among others.
The Sounds continue to utilize First Tennessee Park in creative ways with the addition of GLOW Nashville - Nashville's newest must-see holiday attraction and brightest Christmas experience. GLOW will operate for 36 nights from November 22 through December 31 and features one of the country's tallest Christmas trees, millions of lights, ice skating and tubing experiences, and a life-size Santa's Workshop among many more activities for all ages.
Other non-game day events at First Tennessee Park include hosting two 2019 College Baseball World Series Champion Vanderbilt Commodore games, 16 Nashville SC games and Major League Baseball's Umpire Development Clinic on May 25, the lone stop at a Minor League Baseball park in 2019.
The fun continues next spring as the 2020 season begins on Thursday, April 9 when the Sounds host the Iowa Cubs. 2020 season ticket memberships are on sale through the Nashville Sounds ticket office. For more information on membership packages, call 615-690-4487, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.