Friday, July 8, 2016

Nashville Sounds: First Tennessee Ballpark

This year my baseball road trips are few and far between. I squeeze them in when I can. Since last year I have had a pressing urge to see the Nashville Sounds new ballpark. I saw a model of it at their old digs, Greer Stadium. It is not only very near downtown Nashville, but the guitar-shaped scoreboard concept transferred over to First Tennessee Ballpark, this time using state-of-the-art technology. So when a photo-journo assignment took me to Tulsa, I pushed an extra nine hours (one-way) to hit Nashville and take in a Sounds game.

I have led a good life. At least I must have. After raining most of the day, and raining all around the ballpark, the precipitation held back for the entire game. As far as the ballpark is concerned, I was not disappointed. Parking was steep, and somewhat outrageously priced for a minor league game, but ticket prices were fair. I loved the open concourse concept that every stadium should have and Nashville has built a pleasing and slick ballpark without overdoing it. The star of the show is of course that scoreboard. It really is amazing and cool. Love the new park.

The hot dog? Not so much. Firstly, I had a hard time finding the specialty dog. Like many teams, they do a poor job of advertising the over-the-top dog that should have you drooling just by word of mouth from other fans. I did find it, it is in the cleverly named “bandstand” area of the ballpark. Their premiere entry's name? The Hot Dog. Hard to create a buzz with a moniker that mundane.

I was excited to try it though, it boasts a Porter Road Butcher frank (a local Nashville company), Yazoo mustard, pickled onions and peach relish. It sounded really interesting. I love it when teams source locally, and had never heard of peach relish. I couldn't wait to bite in. And then I did. I hate to say it, but is was really one of the worst hot dogs I have had at a ballpark. I wanted it to be fantastic, and it wasn't even good. Sorry Nashville, I call 'em as I see 'em.

This dog could be saved. Firstly, it needs a new name. Secondly, and most importantly, it needs a new frank. I thought the Porter Road Butcher frank was a veggie dog or something. The taste, the was all wrong. I recommend replacing it with a Hebrew National. HN is tastey, recognized by all fans, and likely less expensive than a crafted frank. And while peach relish might be good on lots of things, it isn't on a hot dog. Call me Nashville. I'll help you design a dog worthy of your fantabulous ballpark.

Nashville is a vacation destination. Make sure you plan yours with a Sounds schedule in hand, you don't want to visit Music City without seeing a game. Just get a hamburger while you are there. 

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