Groundbreaking Loop

On Monday, January 27, the Sounds turned dirt towards a brand new ballpark at Sulphur Dell–the historic site of Nashville baseball. The moment was long-awaited, and many people were on hand to help make the event special: Sounds owner Frank Ward, Mayor Karl Dean, Brewers GM Doug Melvin, Sounds first baseman Hunter Morris, major league slugger Albert Pujols, President of Minor League Baseball Pat O’Conner and several long-time Sounds fans and supporters.

Fans wanting to relive the fun can check out this video of the speeches; our Facebook photo gallery of the ceremony; and/or broadcaster Jeff Hem’s photo gallery on his blog “On the Air…And Off”.

With all of the above coverage, you would think the bases were covered…but let’s be honest…what’s a great historic moment without an animated GIF?

That’s where Sound Bytes comes in! Enjoy the unending unearthing below!

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L to R: Metro Councilman Jerry Maynard, Metro Councilwoman Erica Gilmore, Tennessee State Senator Thelma Harper, Mayor Karl Dean, Frank Ward, Doug Melvin, Metro Sports Authority representative Kim Atkins, and Pat O’Conner.

5 Sound Facts To Know For 2014

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1. The Sounds have a new manager.

With former Sounds manager Mike Guerrero having received the call up, Nashville welcomes a new skipper to Greer’s home clubhouse. Taking over the ship for Nashville will be 61-year-old Rick Sweet, who begins his 24th managerial season and the first season within the Brewers farm system. Sweet last wore a manager’s cap with the Louisville Bats (2005-2011), who he led to division championships in three of his last four seasons. After the 2011 season, he left Louisville as the franchise’s winningest manager in franchise history (539-465). Sweet will need 321 wins to claim that title in Nashville, currently held by Trent Jewett’s 320 wins and .513 average.

2. The Sounds have changed divisions.

Sweet and the Sounds will both be charting new waters this spring as they join the American Conference’s Southern Division after spending the last nine season’s in the Pacific Coast League’s American Northern. The division consists of the previous cross-state rival Memphis Redbirds (STL) and new division foes the New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA) and the Round Rock Express (TEX). All in all, the realignment does not change a whole lot at the divisional level: the Sounds have always played these teams 16 times each year. But at the conference level, the Colorado Spring Sky Sox (COL) and Albuquerque Isotopes (LAD) have switched, which will pit the Rockies Triple-A affiliate against the Sounds 16 times a year (eight in Nashville) and the Dodgers PCL club only four times a season (rotating homestands every other year).

3. The PCL’s newest team is named the El Paso Chihuahuas.

Easy there lap dog lovers, the Sounds won’t get to see these perilous pups in Nashville until 2015, though tickets to this year’s series in Texas are most likely available here.

4. The Sounds will play 72 scheduled games in their final season at Greer Stadium.

The 2014 season schedule will mark the Sounds final season at Greer Stadium. To honor the 37-year-home, the Sounds have created a commemorate Greer Stadium mark featuring the iconic scoreboard and outfield wall with the slogan ’37 Years of Hits’. The mark, pictured below, will be used on select giveaway items and merchandise. And any fan that celebrates Greer’s final year by purchasing full or half season tickets will be given priority purchasing for the new ballpark at Sulphur Dell.

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Greer Stadium: 37 Years of Hits

5. Greer will host 22 fireworks extravaganzas at the Big Guitar.

Every Friday and Saturday home game on the schedule (21 total) will be followed by a postgame fireworks show, beginning with the Sounds home opener on Friday, April 11. A bonus Independence Day show will take place after the game on Thursday, July 3rd. There’s even a ‘Deluxe Fireworks’ ticket plan for fans who don’t want to miss a show. More Sounds promotions and giveaways will be announced as the season nears.

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Fall Forecasting

In the shadows of Major League Baseball’s Postseason, tucked away on six fields in the Arizona desert, America’s pastime continues to develop its future stars. Minor League Baseball concluded around Labor Day, but now a select few have already returned to the diamond for the Arizona Fall League.

The Fall League is comprised of six different teams of nearly 40 players, each team with affiliations to five different major league clubs. For Opening Day (October 8), the Milwaukee Brewers will be sending seven farmhands to join the Surprise Saguaros; and, depending on who can best emulate their mighty cacti namesake, the tallest man standing will likely see time at Greer Stadium next summer.

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Leading the Brewers representatives are RHP Taylor Jungmann (23 years old), who entered the season ranked as the Brewers #3 prospect by Baseball America, and 2013 Brewers Minor League Player of the Year Jason Rogers (25 years old), both whom spent their entire 2013 season with Huntsville. Jungmann posted a 4.33 ERA (67er/139.1ip) in 26 starts with the Stars, having his best success on the road for a 2.87 ERA. Offensively, Rogers belted 22 home runs in 2013 with 87 RBIs and a .270 batting average (130-for-481) in 131 games manning first base. Rogers will be getting reps in the outfield this fall, however, possibly preparing for joining a roster with Sounds 1B Hunter Morris.

Also on the squad are relief pitchers David Goforth (24 years old), ranked as the Brewers #19 prospect by Baseball America, and Kevin Shackelford (24 years old). The pair joined the Stars midseason to appear in 20 games. Goforth (7er/46.2ip) started four games for Huntsville (3-1, 3.18) before heading to the bullpen (5 saves, 3.38), while Shackelford collected six saves as a Stars reliever for a 0.92 ERA (3er/29.1ip).

Rounding out the Brewers fallballers are RHP Tyler Cravy (24 years old), OF Mitch Haniger (22 years old), and C Adam Weisenburger (24 years old). Only Weisenburger saw time at Double-A in 2013.

So while baseball in Nashville isn’t due up until April 3, the Fall League will give us a taste of the talent heading our way. The AFL begins Tuesday, October 8 and concludes on Saturday, November 16.

Switching to Southern

For a period of nine baseball seasons, the Nashville Sounds have been members of the Pacific Coast League’s American Northern Division and have called the Memphis Redbirds, Iowa Cubs and Omaha Storm Chasers (and Omaha Royals) division rivals. But with 2014 on the horizon, the geography of the Pacific Coast League is changing.

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Beginning next season, the Sounds and the cross-state-and-still-division-rivals Memphis Redbirds will be taking their talents to the league’s American Southern Division. The new-look division will also consist of the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA-Marlins), who shared a division with Nashville from 1998-2004, and the Round Rock Express (AAA-Rangers).

This minor league merry-go-round is a product of the Tucson Padres relocation to El Paso this offseason.

The Nashville Sounds went 655-654 in the American Northern Division from 2005-2013, logging the most PCL wins and only winning record among division opponents over that stretch (OMA-654, IWA-643; MEM-631).

After a few losing seasons, the division change should be a welcome sight for the Sounds, who won the Pacific Coast League Championship the last time the club changed divisions: in 2005, moving from the Eastern Division to the American Northern.

Johnny In Motion

Q: What do you do when your team’s pitcher leads the league with 10 wins and a 2.28 ERA?

A: Make a GIF!

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The 6-foot-9 hurler has recorded quality start victories in each of his last eight outings for the Sounds, dating back to late May. He has not allowed an earned run over his last 24 innings pitched and has surrendered only one earnie over his last 42.

Johnny takes the hill for the Sounds tonight at Greer Stadium, where he is 6-0 with a 1.15 ERA (6er/47.0ip) in eight starts. Get your tickets while you can!

Johnny on the Spot

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Sounds right-hander Johnny Hellweg — who enters tonight’s game leading the PCL with his 2.44 ERA  – has recorded quality start victories in each of his last seven outings for the Sounds, dating back to late May. He was away from the club for three weeks from late June to mid-July during his first major league call-up.

He is tied for 2nd in the league with nine wins and has won eight of his last nine PCL outings (8-0, 1.29 ERA, 8er/56.0ip). He departed the lone no-decision during that stretch in line for a victory before a blown save by the bullpen.

Triple-A opponents are hitting a league-low .199 against Hellweg this season. The fireballer has been especially tough on right-handed hitters, holding them to a .137 average (21-for-153).

Hellweg has not allowed an earned run over his last 18 innings pitched and has surrendered only one earnie over his last 36.

Sounds 7.30 Line-Up
presented by Academy Sports
CF – Kentrail Davis
2B – Eugenio Velez
3B – Robinzon Diaz
1B – Hunter Morris
RF – Sean Halton
LF – Josh Prince
C – Anderson De La Rosa
SS – Blake Davis
P – Johnny Hellweg

The Many Colors of Ozzie

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Before Mona Lisa offered her half-smile, there was only a white canvas. Before the Thinker began to ponder, there was only a lump of clay. And prior to our May 25 PPG Porter Paints giveaway, there was 2,000 colorless Ozzie bobbleheads.

We tasked the first 2,000 fans to Greer Stadium that night with the job of bringing these miniature sculptures to life. And now that sufficient time has passed for our very talented fans to apply their second and third coats, the results are in! Here are our contest winners.

Ozzie-Paintabe-Bobbleheads-2013-early-agesFans were broken down into three age categories and two winners were selected out of each category. The Ozzie’s on the left represent those that painted their bobbles to reflect our mascot’s true colors. The ones on the right, like Alivia’s glitter-sprayed, googly-eyed entry, win for most creative.

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Each winner will receive a special Sounds prize. The winning 4 to 9-year-olds will receive a team autographed baseball for their efforts; the 10 to 17-year-olds get to throw out a ceremonial first pitch; and the 18+ winners get to enjoy a Sounds game from one of Greer Stadium’s Skyboxes.

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Erik clearly knows Ozzie’s passion for the cowbell well, but perhaps only Steve and Cecila knew about Ozzie’s previous life as a classically trained dancer. Great work everyone!

And of course a special thanks to everyone who submitted entries this season, as well as the players who got involved (pitcher Tim Dillard’s Jedi Trooper, Blake Lalli’s daughter’s colorful submission, and Caleb Gindl’s GFs entry inspired by the Bachelor), and PPG Porter Paints for sponsoring the giveaway.

Until next year’s contest, go and use that extra paint on a stick or something. Who knows, with the right kind of stroke, it could become the next Washington Monument.

“Grand Slam Baby!”

Grand-Slam-Baby!

On Thursday night, Sean Halton gave everyone at Greer Stadium (especially our friends above) exactly what they were looking for with the bases loaded: a grand slam!

The #SoundTripper put the Sounds up 6-0 in the bottom of the seventh and marks the team’s second GS HR of the season (Cole Garner on 4/20 vs. OMA).

There to capture the moment was loyal Sounds fan, Steven Alan Worster.

Halton’s shot over the Great Clips banner in left field gave Nashville the insurance runs they needed to set them up for a chance at their first series win of the season, which can be accomplished tonight (5/31) with a win over the visiting Iowa Cubs. A win will also give the Sounds their longest win streak of the season.

And here’s the line-up that will try to make it happen. First pitch at 7:05 p.m. with fireworks to follow.

Sounds 5.31 Line-Up
presented by Academy Sports
2B – Scooter Gennett
CF – Caleb Gindl
RF – Khris Davis
3B – Stephen Parker
LF – Josh Prince
1B – Hunter Morris
C – Anderson De La Rosa
SS – Blake Davis
P – Johnny Hellweg

Two Innings for K-Rod

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Veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez has been added to the active Nashville roster, joining the club from Advanced-A Brevard County where he made a pair of scoreless relief appearances (2.0 IP). The MLB single-season saves record holder (62 for Angels in 2008) signed a minor league contract with the Brewers on April 17.

He is expected to pitch one inning for the Sounds tonight (5.13) and tomorrow (5.14).

Sounds 5.13 Line-Up
presented by Academy Sports
2B – Scooter Gennett
DH – Hainley Statia
LF – Caleb Gindl
RF – Khris Davis
1B – Sean Halton
3B – Stephen Parker
C – Anderson De La Rosa
SS – Blake Davis
CF – Josh Prince

P – R.J. Seidel

Winning For The Kids

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The Nashville Sounds hosted a Disability Dream and Do baseball clinic for disabled children as part of the team’s partnership with the Dave Clark Foundation Saturday morning. The children participated in 90 minutes of on-field instruction then enjoyed a post-clinic lunch with the players. Two days prior, four Sounds players hosted a baseball clinic for hearing-impaired children as part of the team’s 13th Annual Sertoma Club Fantasy Camp.

Update: Here is a photo album posted by Dave Clark Baseball Facebook page, featuring 200+ photos of the clinic.

Now the team gets set to face former Vanderbilt hurler Sonny Gray of the Sacramento River Cats. This will be the only start of the four-game series for the Smyrna native.

May 11 Sounds Lineup
(presented by Academy Sports)

2B – Scooter Gennett
CF – Josh Prince
LF – Caleb Gindl
RF – Khris Davis
3B – Stephen Parker
1B – Sean Halton
SS – Blake Davis
DH – Hainley Statia
C – Dayton Buller

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