Tag Archives: baseball

Fleischmann Plays Ball With Democrats (with an assist from Wamp)

Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says he has avoided much of the social circuit in Washington but discovered a different way to bond in 2011, when he went out for the congressional Republican baseball team and found camaraderie, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
On Thursday at Nationals Park, Fleischmann was the only Tennessean on either team in the annual Dems-versus-GOP showdown — a distinction he’s held for three consecutive years.
“I wanted to be a major league ballplayer growing up,” he said, “so it’s amazing to have fun with everybody — even those on the other side — and play at a big-league park.”
The congressman had some help representing Tennessee and its 3rd District. Before the game, Fleischmann’s eight-term predecessor, former Rep. Zach Wamp, was inducted into the Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame. Heralded for his .500 career batting average and slick shortstop skills, Wamp thanked the fans and threw out the first pitch.
Despite the Chattanooga connection, Wamp and Fleischmann aren’t tight. Wamp’s 26-year-old son Weston unsuccessfully challenged Fleischmann in last year’s Republican primary.
They differ on baseball, too. Wamp is a Braves fan while Fleischmann, a childhood New Yorker, loves the Mets. (Common ground exists, however: Both men said their Tennessee-bred sons cheer for the Braves.)

Bill Could Help Chattanooga Sell Baseball Stadium

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield is seeking state legislation that would help the city’s Sports Authority or possibly River City Co. purchase AT&T Field to ease the sale of the Chattanooga Lookouts to private buyers and keep the Class AA team playing downtown, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
“We don’t really want to be a player unless it’s necessary to save the team for Chattanooga,” Littlefield said in one of several interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday about the legislation.
Current Lookouts owner Frank Burke has been trying to sell the Class AA team since late December 2010 as he and family members settle the estate of their late father, another owner of the team.
Most cities in Tennessee and across the nation build stadiums to attract or retain professional sports teams, Littlefield noted.
But when Burke relocated his team from Engel Stadium to its current downtown site, he and other owners spent $10.2 million to build the new 6,362-seat ball field, which opened in 2000 — a move officials say was highly unusual in this day and age.
The land beneath the stadium is owned by River City Co., a nonprofit that promotes downtown development through the creation of public spaces. With team owners footing the stadium’s cost, River City leases the field — prime city real estate with a commanding view of the city and Tennessee River — for $1 a year.
Littlefield said that what he has “gleamed” from discussions with various parties is that “most teams don’t own the facilities that they operate in. They operate out of a lease or a rental agreement or something of that nature.”
The change in state law would allow the city to divert the state portion of sales taxes from tickets and baseball concessions to assist in paying off bonds used to purchase the facility.