Amid the Storm, Dave Dombrowski Plots an M.L.B. Future in Nashville

Amid the Storm, Dave Dombrowski Plots an M.L.B. Future in Nashville

Amid the Storm, Dave Dombrowski Plots an M.L.B. Future in Nashville

Amid the Storm, Dave Dombrowski Plots an M.L.B. Future in Nashville

Nashville could theoretically lure one of those teams, but it too needs a major league-size ballpark. The plan, Dombrowski said, calls for a privately financed park with a retractable roof beside the Tennessee Titans’ stadium on a bank of the Cumberland River, just a pedestrian bridge away from downtown. Fitting into a growing sports landscape — with the Titans, the Predators of the N.H.L., Nashville S.C. of M.L.S. and Vanderbilt’s teams in the Southeastern Conference — would be another challenge.

“Right now there’s not much of a drive for it because it’s not realistic to a lot of people,” said Willy Daunic, a longtime radio host for ESPN Nashville and a former minor league pitcher. “But a five-year plan is a smart plan because it’s going to take that long with the logistics of the stadium. And the key is for guys like Dombrowski to stay present and make those connections with the city leaders and the fans. If they can do that, they can definitely build a lot of support.”

Dombrowski is not alone in the effort. The advisory group also includes the Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa and the former All-Star pitcher Dave Stewart, who was recruited by his friend John Loar, a longtime real estate developer in California who moved to Nashville in 2018 and is the group’s managing director. Alberto Gonzales, the former United States attorney general, is chairman of the board.

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., is another board member, and the plan is to call the team the Nashville Stars, after a Negro leagues team. To Stewart — who has been a coach, a general manager and an agent since retiring as a player in 1995 — the group’s commitment to diverse ownership is critical to help change the largely homogeneous culture among baseball authority figures.

Derek Jeter is the Marlins’ chief executive and part of the Miami ownership group, but among M.L.B. field managers and top baseball operations officials, more than 83 percent (50 of the 60) are white, and all are male. A Nashville team, Stewart said, would promote progress.

“We didn’t know two years ago we were going to be going through this pandemic and the social injustices at the rate we have this year,” Stewart said. “But baseball has been one of the most closed sports when it comes to hiring in upper positions and on the field, and this calls for a time to do something historic, which is to have true Black ownership — or diverse ownership — in the game.”


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