NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A majority of Major League Baseball players who took part in a recent poll made it clear that Nashville should be the next city to have its own MLB team, according to The Athletic.
The site’s annual MLB Player Poll found that 69% of active players surveyed felt the Tennessee capital was the best city for an expansion team. Montreal, Quebec, came in at a distant second, with 10% of the votes.
The poll surveyed 103 players across a total of 22 teams, according to The Athletic.
“I can tell you this as a player, and really clearly understanding what players like when you visit cities, you know, Nashville fits the bill,” said three-time World Series champion Dave Stewart.
Stewart — also a member of Music City Baseball, an organization focused on bringing the MLB to Nashville — said Nashville is also great for younger players looking for a lively city, or players looking to start a family.
“There are areas here where you can raise your kids and there’s room for them to grow. There’s places for them to play, large yard space, school systems, and then economically it still hasn’t caught up with the rest of the the higher income places,” Stewart said.
One player who spoke anonymously with The Athletic, however, felt it might be difficult to get locals to rally around a new team.
“I think the only issue with them going to Nashville would be that there are so many Cardinals, Braves and Reds fans in that area,” the player told the outlet. “I think it’d be like any other team; there’s not gonna be a huge fanbase at first.”
Following Nashville and Montreal, the poll revealed Charlotte and Austin as MLB players’ third choice for an expansion team (tied at 5% each). Portland, Oregon, grabbed 4% of the vote, while Vancouver and Salt Lake City rounded out the list with 2% each.
Stewart, meanwhile, is still holding out hope.
“We believe that Nashville is a major league sport town,” he said. “It has been successful with hockey; it has been successful with football. It is successful with soccer at this time. The Nashville Sounds have been absolutely outstanding, but this is a major league city when it comes to entertainment, when it comes to dining. … Why shouldn’t it be a major league city for baseball?”