new york times

Nashville’s ‘transportainment’ nightmare featured in NYT

Nashville’s officialdom for years touted a New York Times story declaring the Tenenssee capital as the “It City” of the moment. Now, Nashville is getting some less desirable coverage in the form of a front-page Sunday article about the city’s out-of-control downtown party scene. The story by Nashville-based correspondent Rick Rojas is unlikely to become part of the city’s propaganda file anytime soon.

The article delves into the city’s struggles to manage the explosion of “transportainment” vehicles — of 40 operators, half have launched in the last six months — and the drunken exploits of bridal parties and other tourists. City leaders are no longer amused.

“That is my fear, that we are losing our sense of who we are, what built our success,” said Butch Spyridon, the president and chief executive of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, describing a version of Nashville — for generations known as the capital of country music — with an easygoing vibe and access to exceptional live music any day of the year that now must coexist with something much more decadent.

“You can have a fun, entertaining, unique experience here,” he said. “There’s nothing unique about downing 12 White Claws at 3 in the afternoon in 95-degree heat.”

Metro Council member Bob Mendes took to Twitter to question Spyridon’s sudden concern about a problem that many have complained about for years.

Now is also a good time to revisit Steve Cavendish’s great call to “put a bullet” in the “It City” moniker:

NYT: Hagerty didn’t disclose Romney donation before returning it

Bill Hagerty attends the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville on June 15, 2019. At right is U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood). (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A New York Times setup piece on the U.S. Senate primary election in Tennessee includes an interesting tidbit about how Republican Bill Hagerty’s campaign quietly returned a $5,600 donation from former political mentor Mitt Romney after first depositing it. The Hagerty camp didn’t include the deposit or the refund in its disclosures, a possible violation of campaign finance rules.

According to the Times:

The day after Mr. Hagerty announced his candidacy in September, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Mr. Romney’s Believe in America PAC contributed the maximum allowed amount to Mr. Hagerty’s campaign — $5,600. Bank records indicate that Mr. Hagerty’s campaign deposited the check. But in October, Mr. Hagerty surprised Mr. Romney by quietly returning the donation in full.

(Neither the PAC’s contribution nor Mr. Hagerty’s disbursement of the refund appears in the Hagerty campaign’s filings, a potential violation of campaign finance law. A spokesman for the Hagerty campaign said, “Once we realized it was deposited, we alerted the bank and we reversed the transaction, because we do not share Senator Romney’s liberal, anti-Trump political positions.”)

Rival Republican candidate Manny Sethi, of course, has been hammering Hagerty for his past association with Romney, who is seen as a pariah to many Republicans now for voting to convict President Donald Trump for abuse of power during last year’s impeachment.

Here’s the NYT’s main takeaway from the race:

Thursday’s election stands to lay bare whether Mr. Sethi’s attempts to cast Mr. Hagerty as a pawn of the establishment are enough to outweigh Mr. Trump’s endorsement; it will also indicate whether a Senate campaign, absent any other message, can succeed on that endorsement alone.

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.