Tennessee Diamonds are moving to Nashville

One week after the Tennessee Diamonds traded away the league’s franchise player, Blount County has lost the professional fast-pitch softball team all together.

National Pro Fastpitch commissioner Cheri Kempf confirmed by phone late Tuesday the Diamonds are moving to Nashville, effectively immediately, with Tennessee State University rumored to be the club’s new home. The Diamonds lost the league’s marquee name a week ago when pitcher Cat Osterman was dealt to the USSSA Pride in a player-for-player swap for former University of Tennessee Lady Vol Monica Abbott.

Kempf said Tuesday it became evident the Diamonds were having funding difficulties with the season set to begin June 9 at Alcoa High School. The decision to move the Diamonds, the NPF’s defending champion as the Rockford Thunder a year ago, was not an easy one.

“Yes, the team is moving,” Kempf said, “and it is mainly a lack of funding in East Tennessee. This is not a move the NPF wanted to make or desired to make.”

The Osterman/Abbott trade was a move negotiated by the respective clubs with the league playing no part, Kempf said.

“It was a smart decision,” she said. “We’re real lucky it worked out the way it did.”

Blount County minority investor Tab Burkhalter said early Tuesday he’d heard rumors about the potential loss of the club but deferred comment to the league office.

“I have not been informed of the any change or relocation of the franchise from the East Tennessee market," he said. "Any questions about the franchise would have to come from the league office in Nashville."

Later Tuesday, Kempf confirmed the worse.

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Comments » 1

FaithfulFan writes:

This is yet another reason why this league has failed to expand and continues to regress. You can't build teams and a dedicated fan base if they continue to pick up and move to different locations. Hum..the reason for moving this team was due to the deadbeat previous owner. It was then said that the league was going to be more cautious of any new potential owners. So early in the process it was determined that East Tennessee would be the new home. Thus eliminating any potential interested parties from bringing the team back to Rockford, where the fan base had been established dispite moving their home field to a new location due to flooding.

Now due to funding issues the team is being relocated and to top it off trade away their franchise player. Hum...how can a trade be negotiated by the respective clubs with the league playing no part? But yet these individuals that made this trade, were unaware the team was moving? So Cheri Kemp, how is any of this a smart decision? and how is anyone real lucky it worked out the way it did?