First Horizon Park
First Horizon Park in Nashville, TN, is the home of the Nashville Sounds, the Milwaukee Brewers' International League farm team. Despite a bitter 2014 break-up, MLB's 2021 minor league downsizing put them back together.
Their previous ballpark was actually at the center of the break-up. The Sounds and Pittsburgh Pirates separated after the 2004 season as a deal to build a new stadium was falling apart almost as badly as was Greer Stadium. The Brewers became their new parent. The pair are a good geographic fit, but the big club expressed concerns about Greer even as the Sounds assured them they were continuing to work on a new ballpark. That situation remained the status quo for five affiliation cycles - 10 years. During the 2013-2014 off-season, just as a new stadium was finally being built, the Sounds dropped the Brewers for the Oakland Athletics. Baseball tends to keep such things close to the vest, but Brewers management criticism of the move was vocal, public, and sharp.
Opened in 2015 as First Tennessee Park and designed by iconic stadium architect Populous, its name changed in 2020 as First Tennessee Bank's parent company unified its brands. Seasons three and four drew Sounds regular-season attendance records, 593,679 and 601,135. Its 2017 Eclipse Party drew about 10,000, and the 2019 exhibition game with their then-parent Texas Rangers drew a house baseball record 11,824.
First Horizon Park has an open 360-degree concourse, a high-definition guitar-shaped video scoreboard, and the Band Box fun area: a full bar, three ping-pong tables, cornhole, board games, and a nine-hole miniature golf course.
A marker off right field shows the location of home plate in Historic Sulphur Dell, which sat here from 1870 through 1969. In another nod to history, the city re-named three blocks of Jackson Street on the main entrance side of the ballpark Junior Gilliam Way and gave it the 1953-1963 Dodgers second baseman's uniform number, 19, as its address. Gilliam was born in Nashville and grew up playing baseball on its diamonds and sandlots.
FHP's success spurred an ownership group to come together and take aim at MLB, whether by expansion or relocation. The group has a team name - Nashville Stars - saluting the city's 1942 entry in the Negro Major Baseball League - and includes celebrity members Justin Timberlake and Darius Rucker. At the suggestion of another celebrity, retired Tennessee Titans great and now Tennessee State University head football coach Eddie George, the group is looking at historically black TSU as a stadium site. Should that happen, it would be the first MLB ballpark on a collegiate campus.
|Current ballparks in the International League|
|Southeast Division||Midwest Division||Northeast Division|
|AutoZone Park | Bragan Field at 121 Financial Ballpark | Coolray Field | Durham Bulls Athletic Park | First Horizon Park | Harbor Park | Truist Field||CHS Field | Fifth Third Field | Huntington Park | Louisville Slugger Field | Principal Park | Victory Field | Werner Park||Coca-Cola Park | Frontier Field | NBT Bank Stadium | PNC Field | Polar Park | Sahlen Field|