baseball

Knoxville ballpark, Tebow charity among entities getting grants in Lee budget

Gov. Bill Lee speaks to reporters following his address to a joint convention of the General Assembly on Jan. 19, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

While big-ticket items like a sales tax holiday on food may be getting much fo the attention in Gov. Bill Lee’s budget amendment, Capitol-watchers have also been pouring over the fine print to see what other interesting items are getting funding.

The AP’s Jonathan Mattise spotted a $13.5 million grant for the minor league ballpark development former gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd is proposing for downtown Knoxville. Another $2 million would pay for renovations at the Hermitage, the Nashville home of President Andrew Jackson, and $1.2 million for the Tim Tebow Foundation’s Her Song project serving human trafficking victims.

Here’s a look at some of other grants included in the budget amendment:

Grants and Community InitiativesAmount
The Sports Authority of the County of Knox and the City of Knoxville, Tennessee$13,500,000
City of Memphis – Youth Sports Complex$10,000,000
City of Johnson City – Walnut Corridor Development$5,000,000
University of Memphis – Carnegie Designation$5,000,000
End Slavery TN – Serving Human Trafficking Victims – Year 1 of 3$3,500,000
Fayette County – Courthouse Renovation$3,000,000
Human Coalition – Serving Pregnant Women and Children in Need$3,000,000
Music City Executive Airport$2,000,000
Hermitage Foundation$2,000,000
City of Memphis – Renovation of Levitt Shell$1,300,000
Her Song – Tim Tebow Foundation – Serving Human Trafficking Victims – Year 1 of 3$1,200,000
Associated Builders and Contractors Greater TN Chapter – Knox County CTE Center$1,000,000
Renewal House, Inc. – Serving Women and Children in Need$1,000,000
Teach for America – Teacher Support in High-Need Areas$1,000,000
Gospel Music Association – GMA Center$1,000,000
Hope Smiles – Oral Health Safety Net$800,000
Niswonger Foundation – College and Career Awareness Activities$700,000
Carroll Academy – Rural Juvenile Alternative Education$600,000
TN Anti-Slavery Alliance – Services for Human Trafficking Victims$600,000
Agape Child and Family Services, Inc. – Serving Families in Need$500,000
Corner to Corner – Entrepreneurship Support for Communities in Need$500,000
Delta Dental of TN / Smile 180 Foundation – Oral Health Safety Net$500,000
tnAchieves – Supports Transition to College$500,000
YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South – Education / Health Support for Young Children$500,000
YMCA of Middle TN – Mentorship / Education for Kids in Need$500,000
Men of Valor – Re-Entry Support Services$499,500
TN Builders Education Foundation – CTE Construction Expansion$478,000
Science Alliance – STEM Educational Museums$450,000
TN Association of Business Foundation – Public-Private Advanced Manufacturing Partnership$400,000
The Next Door, Inc. – Recovery and Support for Re-Entry$400,000
The Jason Foundation, Inc. – Mental Health Student Support$305,000
Blount County – Senior Center$300,000
Town of Jonesborough – Agriculture Education$300,000

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.