Don Mattingly Joins Dave Stewart’s Push For Black MLB Ownership In Tennessee | Donnie Baseball Will Advise Music City And Nashville Stars Expansion Efforts

Don Mattingly Joins Dave Stewart’s Push For Black MLB Ownership In Tennessee | Donnie Baseball Will Advise Music City And Nashville Stars Expansion Efforts

Don Mattingly was a Yankees legend and now he has attached his legacy to more history as he contributes his baseball savvy and connections to Black Ace Dave Stewart’s push to break the glass ceiling in baseball for Black owners.

Mattingly, the Toronto Blue Jays bench coach, will serve as an advisor to the Nashville Stars, a group headed by former pitching star and general manager Stewart that seeks to become MLB’s next expansion franchise.

Stewart was known as “Smoke” during a playing career that netted him multiple All-Star appearances and three World Series titles. Now Stewart wants to bring some of that smoke to the Nashville area by leading a group to bring an MLB franchise to Tennessee. Stewart was selected to lead Music City Baseball’s diverse equity ownership initiative.

Mattingly will remain the Blue Jays bench coach in addition to advising the Nashville expansion effort.

 

“The approach that Dave Stewart and his team have in Nashville is exactly what the game of baseball needs. I am glad to see MLB taking an active approach on these important issues. We need more diversity in the game, and it starts from the top-down,” Mattingly said in a statement to MLB guru Bob Nightengale.

The former New York Yankees All-Star joined the Blue Jays as bench coach on John Schneider’s staff in late November. The array of offensive talent on the team will surely be upgraded by Mattingly’s wisdom and mastery of the craft as one of the most explosive hitters of the 80s before a back injury curtailed his Hall of Fame chances.

What Teams Did Don Mattingly Manager? 

The 61-year-old icon served as Los Angeles Dodgers manager from 2011 to 2015 and then led the Miami Marlins through a rocky rebuild from 2016 until last season. He and Miami parted ways after a 69-93 season in which the franchise missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Donnie Baseball has had success as a skipper. He made four straight playoff appearances with Dodgers, losing in the NLCS twice. In 2020, Mattingly won the National League’s Manager of the Year Award, helping the Marlins reach the playoffs for just the third time in franchise history.

Who Are The Nashville Stars? 

In conjunction with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and named after the Negro Leagues team that played in Nashville from the late 1930s to the early 1950s, the Stars group seeks to “secure Major League Baseball approval of an expansion franchise in Nashville.”

Their website describes themselves “an organization of Nashville business, sports, music and community leaders” who are “committed to bringing a Major League Baseball franchise to the city of Nashville as a central piece of a mixed-use, multi-themed family, sports, and entertainment district.”

In 2018, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred named Nashville as a possible destination for MLB expansion and said this past summer he would “love” to expand to 32 teams.

The Forbidden Fruit: Black Ownership In Baseball 

The historical ramifications of a deal like this are unprecedented. Black majority ownership should be a goal for MLB. Moreover, there hasn’t been expansion in close to 25 years when Arizona and Tampa Bay joined the fray in 1998.

But a barrier-breaking deal of this magnitude is never smooth sailing. Before Nashville gets their franchise, there’s some house cleaning that commissioner Rob Manfred and baseball executives have to deal with. Oakland and Tampa Bay are coming to the end of stadium commitments and could be looking for new homes.

Stewart shared his feelings on the ongoing process with ESPN back in April. 

“I spoke to the commissioner a couple of weeks ago and the same thing still remains,” Stewart told ESPN. “ There are two teams that don’t have homes: the Oakland A’s and the Tampa Rays, so those are his priorities to make sure those places have homes to play in. But once they do, expansion becomes next on the agenda”. 

Baseball Has No Black Majority Owners

The only other minority owners in baseball to date have been NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson who owns a two percent stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Derek Jeter, who had a four percent stake in the Miami Marlins. He left the organization last offseason.

It should be no surprise that Stewart is pioneering a move like this. After retiring from the game as one of the most intimidating pitchers of his era, he served as a pitching coach for the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers before emerging as an assistant general manager with the Toronto Blue Jays. From 2012-16, he made history as the first Black general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Stewart expects his group to raise $2 billion for the purchase of the expansion team with the proposed name of the Nashville Stars after the 1940’s and 50’s team of the Negro Leagues.

Not only is the group trying to remind baseball fans of past Negro League glory, but they are making the Negro Leagues a part of the future by bringing the Negro Leagues Museum into the group as a partner. Baseball is looking for the same success as the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and NHL’s Nashville Predators.

 

 

Speaking of the Titans, Hall of Fame running back Eddie George who is the current head football coach at Tennessee State is also a part of the team.

“We started this process four years ago, Nashville is a fast growing city. It has a beautiful population of people.“ Stewart said. “There’s so much going on here. So, MLB put Nashville as one of its top places for expansion, and I think that triggered the idea to go down this path.” 

The lists of power names are growing as they try to push this historical moment to fruition.

 

 

With this process, including a working relationship with Tennessee State University, one of the more well-known HBCUs in the country, this movement has Jackie Robinson’s dream of equality in baseball moving incrementally closer to a reality.

Is All That Jazz Too Much For The Marlins? | Perception Carries More Weight In The Marlins Clubhouse Than Performance

Is All That Jazz Too Much For The Marlins? | Perception Carries More Weight In The Marlins Clubhouse Than Performance

With offbeat personalities and a penchant for improvisation, Jazz musicians have been misunderstood for decades despite creating music which stands the test of time.  Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk left a body of work that has matured over the years, creating fans of all generations. The Miami Marlins already have their choice of the new generation, but it seems some in the organization have tuned out.

Jazz Chisholm has been Don Mattingly’s best player and the only reason worth watching the Marlins over the first quarter of the season. He’s the Bleek Gilliam from Spike Lee’s “Mo Better Blues” of baseball these days. However, after last week’s well -chronicled, 90-minute, private team only conversation, it’s clear that perception carries more weight in the Marlins clubhouse than  performance.

There’s something to be said when a team is struggling and they call a meeting to air grievances.  It’s another thing altogether when the most productive player is at the epicenter of the controversy. In this case, when parts of the team don’t fit, that has more to do with management than the employee.

Chisholm is balling out for Mattingly, but his teammates are clearly hating on him.  He’s the only reason to watch anything going in the National League East division’s bad fish isle. When fish goes bad, it stinks, which is why they are struggling to stay out of last place. 

Jazz was reportedly criticized by his teammates for bringing more attention to himself in an hour-and-a-half session to purge the Marlins of what ails them. Mattingly reportedly was – at the very least – concerned about the team talking privately about Chisholm behind his back, so he brokered the meeting to clear the air.  

It appears the underachieving overpaid 30 somethings who have stolen money under Donny Baseball’s watch don’t get the style of a new generation in Miami.  John Heyman of the New York Post reported that “teammates apparently aren’t always as enamored as fans who love the style and sizzle.”

Heyman also reports that some in the generationally divided clubhouse see Chisholm as a “Dennis Rodman”- type character who is constantly bringing attention to himself, which doesn’t endear him.  However, Rodman is a Hall of Famer who won five NBA titles and is considered by many as the greatest rebounder in NBA history. So if that’s the case, Chisholm could be the fish that saves baseball in south Florida. Baseball needs some attention in Broward County and a player with all that Jazz should be a perfect fit. 

Miami won four straight games after the meeting and suddenly all is wonderful in Crockett and Tubbs’ old neighborhood — at least temporarily. The success is, however, misleading because they “own” the Washington Nationals and caught the Houston Astros in the midst of a slump.

These are no longer the days of romance and reverence that defined the game of yesteryear.  Fans are not returning to the ballpark in droves following the shutdown of the pandemic. Young fans aren’t developing a reverence for the game that created a base to sustain itself as an entertainment product for years to come. Jazz Chisholm is a five-tool player who has must-see talent and should be appreciated.  He can turn the masses of fans dressed as empty seats into paying customers who buy overpriced concessions at the stadium if the Marlins franchise catches his vibe. 

Monte Harrison’s Miami Mash Is Catching Up To His Elite Mitt

Monte Harrison’s Miami Mash Is Catching Up To His Elite Mitt

Monte Harrison showed a glimpse of why Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly believes he has the chance to be the best defensive outfielder in the organization.

 


Marlins fans have had Harrison under the microscope for years and there’s pressure for him to show they gained something from losing their former Silver Slugger and MVP outfielder MVP Christian Yelich in the notorious trade. 

 

 

Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter has not shown great promise as a trade negotiator during his tenure as Marlins owner.

He dealt away Yelich to the Brewers in 2018 for Monte Harrison and three other prospects, who each have made little no impact in the Majors.

Yelich would go on to win the 2018 Most Valuable Player award and finish second in the voting in 2019.

Harrison was a three-sport athlete during his time at Lee’s Summit West High School in Missouri.

He had over 1,000 receiving yards and 26 total touchdowns while also averaging over 15 points a game on the basketball court.

 

Harrison was a four-star recruit and the 33rd ranked Wide Receiver in the nation. He committed to the University of Nebraska before being drafted out of high school by the Brewers in the second round of the 2014 draft.

During his first season in the Brewers system he stole 32 bases and hit .260 in 50 games.  

After being sent to Miami in 2018, he played for the Jacksonville Shrimp where he hit 19 home runs and stole 28 bases in 136 games.

That led to him being added to their 40-man roster.  He was named to the Futures All-Star game in 2019 where he hit .274 with nine home runs and 20 steals.

Harrison made his Major League debut August 3rd of 2020, but his play at the plate during his time in the Bigs has been subpar. His lack of opportunity has factored into his struggles.

He’s batting just .167 for his career over 53 at-bats, including a 1-for-7 clip season.

 

 

Harrison’s bat will come around, but what he has proven is that his glove is ready for prime time. 

Harrison gave us a web gem of the year submission on Saturday night, when he laid all out and made a diving catch down the right field line to save extra bases and keep a nail biter against the Phillies at a 1-1 tie.

 

 

Plays like this come as no surprise to Mattingly, who has been raving about Harrison for years.

“Monte Harrison will be the best outfield defender at whatever position he plays in the outfield,” said Mattingly.  “The fans of South Florida are going to love this guy.”

Monte Harrison and his brother Shaquille, who is a member of the Denver Nuggets are in a rare club of brothers in the MLB and NBA; that group includes Klay and Trayce Thompson.

 

“We just worked our butts off every single day,” said Harrison.  We were always those kids that got in trouble, got made fun of and little stuff like that.  People thought that we weren’t going to really be anything.  We both sat down and were in like, “We can be whatever we want to be, we’ve got to work for it.”

Harrison has been used mostly as a pinch hitter and runner during his time in the Majors this season but with the trade deadline approaching he may get a chance at consistent playing time sooner rather than later.