November 1, 2018

Offseason Adventures

by Mark Jent

Someone once asked the great Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby what he does during the winter when there is no baseball and he replied, “I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Nothing could be further from the truth for those of us who are baseball fans as we patiently wait for pitchers and catchers to report in February. But, by being a friend and follower of Simply a Fan, one doesn’t have to wait until spring to enjoy baseball! With Spring Training and Opening Day still several weeks away, Simply A Fan has a schedule full of offseason adventures in the month of January! With five different events on the docket, baseball fans have a chance to wet their winter appetite with both local adventures and a couple of road trips. Check out each below for the where, what, when, pricing and other details.

Location:    Evansville, IN
Dates:          Saturday, January 12th
Cost:            $49
Guests:       Don Mattingly, Jim Edmonds, Mark Grace, Rick Ankiel, Bob Griese

Description / Itinerary:
This day trip from Nashville to Evansville will depart about 10am Saturday morning, January 12th and return about 11pm that evening. We will make the 2.5 hour trek north Evansville, Indiana, the hometown of Yankee great Don Mattingly. This will be our 6th trip since 2010 to the annual event. The Night of Memories is a fundraising event hosted by the Tri-State Hot Stove League and has raised over $1.5 million since it’s inception in 1993 distributing the proceeds to youth organizations, local athletic programs and yearly scholarships.

We will eat lunch upon arrival into Evansville and then be there when the doors open at 3:30 for Meet and Greet Autograph Session where fans will have a chance to meet Don Mattingly, Jim Edmonds, Mark Grace, Rick Ankiel and Bob Griese. 

Cost Includes:
The cost will include roundtrip ground transportation and a day full of great January baseball fellowship! Admission into the event is $20 plus whatever money you choose to spend on autographs during the meet and greet. For a full listing of prices for autographs, click here: All  ages welcome. To secure spot in the van, please register by January 9th. Upon completing your registration, you will be promoted to pay online or mail your check. Contact for slightly adjusted pricing for families bringing two or more. 


Local baseball legend Sonny Gray is headlining the 81st Nashville Old Timers Banquet on January 16th.

Location:    Airport Marriott – Nashville, TN
Dates:          Wednesday, January 16th
Cost:            $75
Guests :       Sonny Gray

Description / Itinerary:
This event is a staple for local baseball fans! The Nashville Old Timer’s Association has been around since 1939 and its creed is “To enjoy fellowship with baseball enthusiasts and to honor and support the great game of baseball at all levels.” The Banquet is dinner, awards presentations for local teams and their achievements and will conclude with featured guest Sonny Gray sharing his baseball story and more.

Cost Includes:
This is a no-cost off-season adventure for Simply A Fan, rather you pay $75 to the Old Timer’s Association for your ticket to the event that evening. Cost includes your dinner, an evening of great baseball fellowship and a chance to meet Sonny Gray. To secure your spot, contact Farrell Owens at 615.587.1384 to purchase your ticket to the event. Registration through Simply A Fan is optional. It’s only necessary if you want to sit together and want Simply A Fan to obtain your ticket.


Reds Caravan 2017 at Cool Springs Galleria Mall. Mark Jent and Paul Stevens (with son Everett) meeting Reds legend and Mr. Perfect Game, Tom Browning.

Location:   Cool Springs Galleria Mall – Franklin, TN
Dates:        Friday, January 18th
Cost:          $0
Guests:     Coming Soon

Description / Itinerary:
Join Simply A Fan at the Cool Springs Galleria Mall for the Reds Caravan on Friday night, January 18th! The Reds have a tremendous Middle Tennessee following so each year they schedule their caravan tour to make a stop in Nashville to rally their local fans. Each year they bring an array of Reds personnel including current players, former players, coaching staff, front office executives and even Mr. Redlegs makes the trip! Recent names include Billy Hamilton (2018), Tom Browning (2017) and Joe Morgan (2016). The Reds have not yet released the lineup of special guests but they are expected to do so after the first of the year.

Cost Includes:
This is a no-cost offseason adventure for Simply A Fan as it is free and open to the public. Registration is optional; only necessary so we can know who all to be on the lookout for and we can arrange to meet up ahead of time for dinner in the mall food court.


Location:   Suntrust Park – Atlanta, GA
Dates:        Saturday, January 19th
Cost:          $49
Guests :     Numerous!

Description / Itinerary:
Join Simply A Fan for a day trip to Suntrust Park to the Braves’ Chopfest! This offseason adventure gets you closer to your Braves than ever before with the player parade through The Battery outside the ballpark, from there you can take a photo with the NL East pennant, enjoy photographs and autographs with the players and legends, attend baseball clinics, Q&As, on-field activities, interactive exhibits and so much more! To read more about Chopfest, click here:

The scheduled event time is 10am-6pm EST, therefore we will want to be there when the parade of players start, so we will be leaving Nashville at 4:30am to ensure we make it in time! Since this is a come-n-go type even and with Simply A Fan having a wedding in Nashville that evening, the plan will be to depart Suntrust Park at 2pm for home, so in total we will be at Chopfest from 10am-2pm….which is more than nine innings worth of fun!

Cost Includes:
Admission is free to Chopfest, so your only costs to attend this offseason adventure is the roundtrip ground transportation to Simply A Fan. To secure spot in the van, please register by January 16th. Upon completing your registration, you will be promoted to pay online or mail your check. Contact for slightly adjusted pricing for families bringing two or more. 


Location:  Allen Arena – Lipscomb University, Nashville
Dates:       Saturday, January 26th
Cost:         $0 / Donations Only
Guests:    Fred McGriff, the Crime Dog

Description / Itinerary:
Join Simply A Fan for it’s fifth and final offseason adventure as we support the Lipscomb Bisons Baseball team at their annual First Pitch Dinner! This event not only highlights the upcoming season for the Bisons, but there is a silent auction with tons of great items to bid on in addition to a live auction. Past guests include Buster Onley, R.A. Dickey and Caleb Joseph. The Crime Dog Fred McGriff is the featured guest speaker this year and will surely appeal to all of you 90’s Braves fans! The owner of 493 career HRs, this five-time All-Star hit homeruns in more major league baseball parks than any one in history. McGriff won the ‘95 World Series with the Braves, has seven consecutive seasons of 30 homerun seasons and twice led his league in homeruns. McGriff is in his 10th season on the ballot for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame and although he will fall short of the required 75%, he has gained significant traction so far in this voting cycle which will bode well for his eventual and deserved election into Cooperstown when he hits the ballot for a Veterans Committee ballot in the future.

Cost Includes:
Admission is free to the First Pitch Dinner, but donations to Lipscomb Baseball are requested to cover the cost of your meal. Simply A Fan has reserved two tables (20 spots) at the First Pitch Dinner that will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, so your registration is required to secure your spot at our table. I will then send your name on to  Lipscomb so you will be on the RSVP list.


Featured Image: 2011 Night of Memories.
From L to R: Garner Goode, Jason Jent, Don Mattingly, Mark Jent, Patrick Cameron.

November 1, 2018

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