The March 2023 Edition …

Both On The Field and Off, Sounds Baseball Is a Proven Hit With Longtime Nashville Fans

By TOM WOOD / March 17, 2023

The year was 1978 when minor league baseball returned to Nashville. Larry Schmittou’s dream — the Nashville Sounds — were a hit with fans from that first game at packed Herschel Greer Stadium. Now, 45 years later, the Sounds are two weeks away from launching their eighth season at sparkling First Horizon Park in the Germantown neighborhood where pro baseball began some 140 years ago. That’s the subject of my story in the March 17-23 edition of the Ledger.

“You know, the Sounds are an interesting concept. Of course, they were started in 1978 by Larry Schmittou after a 15-year absence of professional baseball in Nashville. And it just seems to have been popular since 1978,” says baseball researcher and historian Skip Nipper, author of Baseball in Nashville (2007) and host of the Skip’s Corner podcast. “I think First Horizon Park is one of the best ballparks for the Triple-A baseball teams.

“It’s an event, just about the whole ballgame. You know, from the beginning to the end there’s something going on, either the game itself or some entertainment. My hat’s off to the Sounds. They do a wonderful job.”

The Nashville Sounds’ season begins March 31 at First Horizon Park.

–Ledger cover by Mike Hopey

Larry Woody, a three-time Tennessee sportswriter of the year, credits Sounds founder Schmittou for paving the way for today’s pro sports landscape with the Titans, Nashville Predators and Nashville SC teams.

“There wouldn’t be a (First Horizon) park without Larry Schmittou. And there wouldn’t be pro baseball and, frankly, I don’t know if we’d have other pro sports because Larry Schmittou’s success with the Nashville Sounds and Greer Stadium attracted national attention,” says Woody, author of Schmittou: A Grand Slam in Baseball, Business and Life (1996).

“Sports Illustrated was doing stories about setting the minor league attendance records, and the Sounds got national attention. It was the place to be here in the spring and summer. You had the country music celebrities hanging out – Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Reed, (the Oak Ridge Boys’) Richard Sterban – a who’s who of country music showed up at Greer Stadium. You might go out to watch a ballgame and end up sitting next to Conway Twitty.”

Here are some my the other Ledger stories:

SEC Tourney is huge boost for Nashville

To their credit, the city of Nashville and all the downtown merchants have fully embraced the Southeastern Conference men’s basketball tournament, which returns to Bridgestone Arena for a March 8-12 run. Here’s hoping local basketball fans show the same love for our hometown team, the Vanderbilt Commodores, during the tournament.

I have two SEC Tournament stories in the March 3-9 edition of the Ledger, the being a look at the hopes of Alabama, Vanderbilt and Tennessee and the second one on the economic impact of hosting the tournament.

Vandy, which has won only two previous SEC tournament championships in 1951 and 2012, this has won eight of its last nine games since a 57-point loss at Alabama. Fourth-year Commodores Coach Jerry Stackhouse hopes that strong play translates into a homecourt advantage.

““It’s one of those tournaments that should be a lot of excitement for us,” Stackhouse says. “Hopefully, we continue to build some momentum to where it could be a home court advantage for us, playing here in Nashville.”

The 2023 men’s basketball tournament will likely have a bit of a different feel this year.

–Ledger cover by Mike Hopey

The Commodores (18-13) finished in a tie for fourth place in the regular season with Missouri and Tennessee, but will be the No. 6 tourney seed based on tie-breakers. ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi has expressed doubt about Vandy’s chances about making the 68-team NCAA Tournament field, saying they needed to win their season finale and a couple of SEC tourney games just to even be considered.

Before he suffered a season-ending leg injury, Vandy center Liam Robbins expressed confidence in his team’s chances of not only accomplishing that challenge but winning the SEC crown and the league’s automatic bid.

Eggstra, Eggstra! Read All About How Latest Shortage Affects Consumers, Restaurants


That’s my punny headline for my latest Ledger story about the egg shortage crisis is affecting Tennesseans, both consumers and those in the restaurant industry. Punny headline but not a laughing matter.

Avian flu has killed millions and millions of shortages and the prices have gone up at grocery stores and restaurants, which have seen their prices triple. They buy and go through cases of eggs by the dozens, and it’s cutting into their profit margin as they try not to pass all the costs to customers.

“Well, it seems very, very hard because the prices as we know them, they have been increasing a lot. Six months ago, we used to buy a case of 15 dozen (cage-free) shell eggs for $30. Now they cost $97,” Midtown Cafe Chef Max Pastor says in the January 27 edition of the Nashville Ledger.

Grocery stores have been in short supply of eggs and customers are paying more.

–Ledger cover by Mike Hopey

Craig Clifft, general manager at Nashville’s famed Elliston Place Soda Shop, explains how prices jumped over a year’s time for restaurants.

“If you rewind back a year, we were paying somewhere in the neighborhood of about $30 to $35 a case. And when I looked at the pricing (Jan. 17), it was anywhere between $75 and $98 a case, typically being a lot closer to that $100 mark,” says Clifft.

It’s a trending story that everyone is talking about and a problem that could get worse

Developers Focus on Belle Meade Plaza

By TOM WOOD / JANUARY 23, 2023

If you’ve been in downtown Nashville the last couple of years, you’ve certainly noticed Music City’s vertical growth. High-rises, towers and cranes are everywhere, changing the city’s skyline.

Suburban neighborhoods have seen similar growth and changes, though perhaps not as towering. That could soon change on the outskirts of Belle Meade, Nashville’s wealthiest enclave.

For the January 20 edition of the Nashville Ledger, I write how developers want to replace Belle Meade Plaza, which opened in 1961, with a mammoth mixed-use project that would include condominiums. rental units, a boutique hotel and 60,000 square feet of retail.

Developers’ plans for Belle Meade met with optimism, skepticism.

–Ledger cover by Mike Hopey

There would also be a dog park and plenty of green space. Green roofs, terraces and pools would top the towers. The plan also includes restoration of Richland and Sugartree creeks.

“Our vision for Belle Meade is to create a walkable,

to more great work in the coming year.

As always, thanks for reading

Tom Wood

66 Replies to “The March 2023 Edition …”

  1. I met you at the Southern Festival of Books this past weekend by chance. Looking for a book I chose Vendetta Stone and you graciously signed it for me. I cannot put this book down… it’s such a delight to stumble upon a new author and their words just flow from first sentence.

    • Hi Rhonda, thanks so much for the kind words. Let me know your thoughts after you finish Vendetta Stone. I look forward to your comments, and hope you’ll share with your friends and do a review on Amazon. And if I may, let me recommend our water-themed anthology WORDS ON WATER by the Harpeth River Writers for a future read. It launched Oct. 1 and is available online.

  2. Tom, I’m note sure I ever met David, but I know him through his work. Now I admire him as I read what you have written about your love for him – it is quite a testimony. I envy the friendship you have with him. God bless your memories of him…

    • Thanks, Skip. Mike and others were closer to David than I was, but yeah, family. I treasure him and everyone else from those newspaper days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.