baseball

Vandy baseball team declines White House visit

The Vanderbilt baseball team declined a White House visit to celebrate its 2019 NCAA championship, The Washington Post reports.

A spokesman told the paper the invitation was “respectfully declined [because of] long-standing travel plans for our student-athletes to return home for the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Last year’s winner, Oregon State, visited President Donald Trump in the White House instead.

The White House event was to celebrate 22 champions from non-revenue sports. NCAA football and basketball champions have visited on their own.

 

Hagerty speaks out against minor league ‘hit list’

Then-U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty throws out the first pitch at a baseball game in Japan on June 5, 2018. (Credit: U.S. Embassy in Japan)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty is speaking out against a plan by Major League Baseball to sever 42 minor league teams’ links to parent clubs and instead make them part of a lower-tier “Dream League” made up of undrafted or released players.

Six of Tennessee’s nine minor league teams would be affected by the change, which critics fear could cause them to fold. The teams on the so-called “hit list” are the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts and Jackson Generals, and the Elizabethton Twins, Greeneville Reds, Johnson City Cardinals, and Kingsport Mets of the Rookie class Appalachian League.

Former gubernatorial candidate and interim University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd owns the Elizabethton, Greeneville, and Johnson City teams. The Double-A Tennessee Smokies of Sevierville, which Boyd acquired from Bill and Jimmy Haslam in 2013, would not be affected. Also avoiding the proposed shakeup are the state’s two Triple-A teams, the Memphis Redbirds and the Nashville Sounds.

Here’s Hagerty’s statement:

Last week, when I was in the Tri-Cities, several Tennesseans spoke with me about MLB’s plan to cut the region’s minor league baseball teams. Our teams in Chattanooga, Elizabethton, Greeneville, and Jackson are also on the chopping block. It would be devastating for our communities.

These teams bring America’s pastime to our backyards, and they are integral to the fabric of our communities. They inspire young athletes, provide family fun, support the community, and provide hundreds of good jobs. It is my hope that MLB reconsiders its plan and works with these teams to remain home in Tennessee.

6 Tennessee minor league baseball teams on ‘hit list’

Randy Boyd’s minor league baseball teams. (Source: RandyBoyd.com)

Major League Baseball wants to sever 42 minor league teams’ ties with parent clubs, including six in Tennessee, the New York Times reports.

The Tennessee teams on the so-called “hit list” are:

  • Chattanooga Lookouts, Double-A, Cincinnati Reds.
  • Elizabethton Twins, Rookie, Minnesota Twins.
  • Greeneville Reds, Rookie, Cincinnati Reds.
  • Jackson Generals, Double-A, Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Johnson City Cardinals, Rookie, St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Kingsport Mets, Rookie, New York Mets.

Instead of being stocked with players and coaches from their respective parent clubs, those teams would become part of a lower-tier “Dream League” made up of mostly undrafted or released players.

Elizabethton, Greeneville, and Johnson City,  three teams playing in the Appalachian League, are owned by interim University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd. A fourth team, the Double-A Tennessee Smokies of Sevierville, would be unaffected by the change. The team is affiliated with the Chicago Cubs.

Also avoiding the overhaul are the state’s two Triple-A teams, the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) and the Nashville Sounds (Texas Rangers).

The Times reports notes that many of the the affected teams have long baseball histories and traditions. The story includes this detail:

Officials in Elizabethton, Tenn., population 14,000, faced a choice a couple of years ago. They could either renovate the police station or meet a condition of the Minnesota Twins: to spend more than $1 million modernizing the clubhouse at the city-owned ballpark, home to its beloved minor league affiliate.

They deferred the police station renovation, and now the Elizabethton Twins have a huge locker room, an upgraded kitchen, a training room, and space to relax and study game video.