June 2020 Newsletter

During the dark days of segregation in America, black ball players were not welcome to play with their white counterparts, leading to the birth of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Black and white baseball fans sat separately in the stands, partitioned by chicken wire. These divisions, on and off the field, were symbolic of the racial divide in our country.

Before Brown v. Board of Education, before Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, before the marches of the 1960’s and the Civil Rights Act, baseball set an example for our country when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, stepping onto the field as a Brooklyn Dodgers.  Our nation was broken, and baseball set an example to begin to heal the wounds of segregation.

Despite the gains, the death of George Floyd, as well as others, confirms how far away our nation still is from justice and equality. People are angry, terrified, and frustrated. Some feel hopeless and helpless. In times like these, people instinctively turn to our leaders for hope and a path forward. The real solution, however, does not lie with our leaders; it lies within all of us. We share collective responsibility to ensure basic human rights for everyone. 

Sports unite communities; championships can bring a city together. We believe baseball can be a catalyst for change. We saw it happen in the city of Detroit when the Tigers won the World Series in 1968 - a year of great turbulence. Our hope and belief is that Music City Baseball will inspire this unity as we work to bring Major League Baseball to Nashville. 

Tara Brach once said, “Paying attention is the most basic and profound expression of love.” Nashville native, Samaria Leach is a woman with a big heart full of love. While volunteering after the Nashville tornado in early March, and then when schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, Samaria was paying attention. She saw a need in her community and realized she had to act.

In a March 16th Facebook post, she wrote: “While School is out until April 3rd, I will be providing a small lunch for kids. Lunch will include a hot dog or a sandwich with chips, a fruit or snack and a bottle of water...Lunch will be provided on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30am to 1:00pm. If anyone would like to help or donate, please inbox me. I am just trying to make sure these kids get a meal. Some kids go to school so they can get a meal...We'll Get Through This Together.” Samaria started by gathering items from her own pantry and serving them from her window in her North Nashville home. By March 24, she was feeding 30-60 kids a day and extended the lunch service through April 24th as Mayor Cooper issued the “Safer At Home” order for Nashville. With each announcement, schools remained closed, but Samaria never thought twice about extending her lunch service. Now named “The Window of Love,” she has added a “Special Friday” edition where she serves kids, adults, and anyone who shows up.

Funded by Samaria and donations from the community, the “Window Of Love” now averages 80-125 kids a day, and on her May 15th “Special Friday,” she served over 280 people! As her daily post states, she greets everyone with a smile and a squirt of hand sanitizer. Books are also included with the lunches as she encourages 15-20 minutes of reading a day. Samaria recently announced she will continue the service through the end of summer. Donation information can be found here

In her own words, “Everyone should feel special at the Window Of Love. Every bag is the same and no one gets picked on for what they have or don’t have in their lunch.” Thank you, Samaria, for taking action and spreading love and hope throughout our community. You are truly a Nashville Star, and Music City Baseball is proud to honor you as our June Star Of The Month.

If you know of someone who is making a positive difference in our community, please let us know. Click here to submit your hero for our “Star Of The Month.” This form will remain open all month, but we will choose our July “Star of the Month” on June 15th. Submissions received after the 15th of each month will be considered for the following month. 

As native Nashvillian, Stacey has watched many phases of Nashville’s growth. She sums it up best in her own words: “Anyone who knows me would say that my love of sports has been recent and can generally be attributed to Music City Baseball. Their novel idea to honor and carry-forward the history of the city’s Negro League Team, the Nashville Stars is exceptional. I love the energy and creativity of this group and the fact that we are building something that will bring families and the community together. I also am energized by our drive to involve more women and have been intrigued and inspired after learning about legendary women in baseball like Effa Manley and Edith Houghton. I realize baseball mirrors the American dream, a place where everyone has an opportunity. Recently, the quarantine has taught me that the supercharged life we were leading left out a lot of good living. Personally, I am ready to enjoy quality time again, have a conversation, and hang out with family and friends at the ballpark. Are you ready for some baseball? I AM!”

Larry Gatlin’s love of the game began in the front yard of a two-room house in Olney, Texas where his Granddad, a Texas oil field worker, taught him to play baseball. He began playing in little league in Abilene and continued in Junior High School and High School in Odessa. Although he was born in Texas, Larry has lived in Nashville for the past 40 years. In that time, he has witnessed the city’s growth and support of various professional sports franchises and believes that the Nashville community will support a Major League Baseball team. Larry has a deep love for the game and is excited to support Music City Baseball’s efforts to bring MLB to Nashville. In his own words, “I’d rather watch a AA baseball game than watch The Super Bowl. Ever since my PAPA, a minor league catcher in the old Texas League, first pitched me a ball underhanded when I was 2, I've loved the game. I’ve sung at 3 World Series games-including the ‘earthquake game’ at Candlestick in 89...



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