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A's sign PDA with Triple-A Nashville Sounds

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Oakland's new Triple-A affiliate is the Nashville Sounds.

Wesley Hitt

The A's announced in a release this morning that the club has signed a player development agreement with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, after the end of an affiliation with the Sacramento River Cats that dated back to 1999.

Included in Oakland's release:

"The Oakland A's are delighted to enter into this new association with Frank Ward and the Nashville Sounds," said A's Vice President and General Manager Billy Beane. "As we did our due diligence of available Triple-A markets, it became very clear that Nashville was the most attractive.  It is a dynamic city and entertainment center with first-rate ownership, a long history of baseball, and a location that is convenient for player movement.  In addition, we are excited to be part of a new era of Nashville baseball with the 2015 opening of First Tennessee Park."

First Tennessee Park is the Sounds' crown jewel, an 8,500 fixed-seat park opening in time for the 2015 season near Downtown Nashville.

Obviously, the A's will have a tougher time ferrying players back and forth from MLB to Triple-A, but at the same time, if all that's needed is a place for a rehab assignment, the Stockton Ports are still in Oakland's backyard. Beyond that, the A's do spend plenty of time in the Midwest, in Florida and the Northeast, and access from Nashville will normally be quite easy when the A's aren't playing home games.

To answer a common question, all players under contract with the A's organization remain under contract with the A's organization. Players who spent last season with the River Cats will become Nashville Sounds if they stay with the organization.

Five quick facts about Nashville for East Bay folks who have never visited the South:

-The Nashville Metro Area's population is about 1.6 million. It's big.

-Nashville is home to the County Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

-Johnny Cash called Nashville home for most of his career.

-Nashville is apparently a bad city for people with allergies, thanks to its "long springs and autumns combined with a diverse array of trees and grasses." Thanks, Wikipedia!

-The second-tallest building in Nashville is the Fifth Third Center. Got it?

So no, you can no longer take a train straight from the Oakland Coliseum Station to Downtown Sacramento to see the A's future stars and has-beens play. But you can use Nashville as a vacation excuse, though I've heard the summer months are traditionally not the best time to visit the South.

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Update: Jason Zito of SB Nation's Nashville Predators blog (On The Forecheck) will be our local eye on this situation. He's already provided a couple of interesting links in the comments here. First, the Brewers are upset and feeling betrayed by the Sounds. Second, here is a neat video showing the brand-new First Tennessee Park that will be opening next season.

At least the A's are finally getting a new ballpark, even if they don't get to play in it themselves.