This article was written by Dusty Baker
This article was published in the The National Pastime: The Future According to Baseball (2021)
Editor’s note: This article is a fictional press release from our special issue of The National Pastime looking ahead to the future of baseball in the 21st century.
(NASHVILLE, Tennessee)—Major League Baseball announced Monday that the Nashville Stars will be the second expansion team joining the league for the 2032 season.
After announcing in January that the Mexico City Matadors would become MLB’s first expansion team since 1998, the league has evened the total number of teams at 32 with the arrival of the Stars. With the Russell and Ciara Wilson-owned Matadors announced as an American League team, the Nashville Stars are slated to be a National League team.
The decision was made by new MLB Commissioner Tony Reagins after Rob Manfred stepped down from the position in December.
Commissioner Reagins said, “This is a significant day in the history of Major League Baseball and the great city of Nashville. After landing a team in a city on the rise in Portland, we have decided expansion made the most sense in a city with culture that has already had a presence with our minor league system. Nashville has seen a significant rise in its population and the tourism numbers continue to reflect the growth of the city. We are thrilled to establish the Stars as a key element in the expansion of America’s National Pastime.”
With the announcement, the American and National Leagues will be split into a total of eight divisions, following suit with the NFL’s current set-up of West, North, South, and East divisions. It has not yet been confirmed what teams will be moving into the newly implemented North and South divisions in both leagues.
Following the debates surrounding the cuts of minor league organizations — the fallout from which which many believe contributed to Manfred’s decision to step down—expansion was a top priority for Commissioner Reagins to address.
The Nashville Stars ownership group stemmed from the Music City Baseball group with the likes of former General Manager Dave Dombrowski, Managing Director John Loar, as well as Memphis native and 10-time Grammy winner Justin Timberlake. The Nashville organization agreed to pay $2 billion to enter the league after the Mexico City Matadors paid $1.9 billion to do the same two months ago.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts said, “It’s great to see Major League Baseball expanding to my hometown. It may be the Music City, but that is also a great sports town.”
DUSTY BAKER was born to love the game of baseball after being named after the player and manager. Baker began his journey in the sports world as an Athletic Ambassador for the TCU Football program while he was a student at the university. After his graduation, Baker took over as a Sports Anchor and Reporter for KTAB and KRBC in Abilene, Texas, for three years where he covered the Texas Rangers and the 2020 MLB Postseason. Baker is currently a Sports Anchor and Reporter in San Luis Obispo for KSBY.