12/04/2007 4:30 PM ET
Music City plays host to MLB
Nashville provides rockin' background to Winter Meetings
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Nashville has plenty to offer folks visiting for the MLB Winter Meetings, like the Country Music Hall of Fame. (Mark Humphrey/AP Photo)
At the Country Music Hall Of Fame 400K
Interview with Josh Turner 400K
Major League Baseball has descended upon Nashville for its annual Winter Meetings, and MLB.com/Entertainment can't help but take advantage of a week in Music City.
All week long, we're visiting some of the hot spots of the country music capital of the world, checking in with some of the personalities who provide the pulse of the town during the rest of the year when baseball's wheelers and dealers aren't clogging up the corridors of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, and talking baseball and music whenever we get the chance.
Our first day brought us to one of the shrines of Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, located downtown and not far from Music Row, where the greatest recordings in the history of the genre have been made.
Jay Orr, the Hall's senior director of museum programs, was kind enough to lead us on a tour featured in this video, and he took us right to the source of country music, the very first instruments ever plucked with that trademark twang.
Orr then led us into a few exhibit halls, showing us amazing artifacts from the original Grand Ole Opry at the nearby Ryman Auditorium, including Minnie Pearl's dress, Pee Wee Kings' accordion and Hank Williams Sr.'s suit.
In another room was Elvis Presley's solid gold Cadillac, a pimped-out ride if there ever was one. The King's Caddy had its own TV, a shoeshine kit and a communication system between passenger and chauffeur that was way ahead of its time.
The highlight of this visit, naturally, was a step into the hallowed Hall itself, where the plaques of the inductees are "displayed in random fashion so that no one is more exalted than another," as Orr explained.
Hoping to grace those very walls someday is Josh Turner, the 30-year-old country star with the unmistakable baritone voice who struck gold -- and platinum -- with hits such as 2004's "Long Black Train" and last year's "Would You Go With Me" and "I'm Your Man."
We caught up with Turner, who admitted that he grew up a Cincinnati Reds fan when they won the World Series in 1990 but switched allegiances, like a lot of Nashville residents, to another very successful team.
"I started collecting baseball cards, and just really getting into what all the players were like, and as I got older I became an Atlanta Braves fan," Turner said. "My wife is actually from just outside of Atlanta, so we try to go to a game every chance we get."
Turner, whose latest album, Everything is Fine, is climbing up the country charts on the strength of its first single, "Firecracker," was a high school outfielder before taking his guitar and his voice from his native South Carolina to the mecca of Nashville.
"There's so many people all across the country that move here every year to try to get a record deal and try to make a record and get their music out there," Turner said.
"Nashville is just flourishing with all different styles of music. ... It just inspired me to make that sacrifice of moving away from home and coming up here to chase my dream."
Doug Miller is Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.