First Horizon Park

From BR Bullpen

First Horizon Park in Nashville, TN, is the home of the Nashville Sounds, the Milwaukee Brewers' Triple-A East 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 while 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 10 years - five affiliation cycles. During the 2013-2014 off-season, just as a new stadium finally was 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 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.

Its success spurred an ownership group to come together and take aim at MLB, whether by expansion or move. The group has a team name – Nashville Stars, saluting a Negro Leagues club – and celebrity members like 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.

Historic Sulphur Dell hosted professional baseball on this site from 1870 through 1963; a marker off right field shows the old home plate location. In another nod to history, the city re-addressed the ballpark "19 Junior Gilliam Way" to honor the Nashville native and 1953-1963 Dodgers second baseman.