Kenny Chesney’s love of football is well-known, but he’s also a huge baseball fan. His father was a high school coach and Kenny himself played second base. While he opted for a career slinging a guitar instead of a bat, the nerves he feels before going onstage are a lot like the nerves he experienced playing ball.
“Everyone’s eyes are on you,” he told MLB for a feature in their All-Star Game program. “When you do well, fans know it. When you don’t, it’s like an error in a very important game. I try not to think about that too much because like a ballplayer, I get more anxious than nervous. I’m comfortable in my skin, but I still get jitters like anyone else.”
Kenny has met and become friends with a number of professional athletes throughout the years. Rick Sutcliffe was the first baseball player Kenny met and the pair have remained friends throughout the years. Nick Swisher is one of his best friends and Kenny confesses a big part of him wishes he could be Dustin Pedroia and play second base for the Boston Red Sox.
“There’s a mutual respect between musicians and athletes,” Kenny said. “It’s interesting and one of the things I enjoy most about what I do is getting to meet some of my heroes and become friends with the guys I respect and admire. These are guys who are also in the public eye and share the limelight, who work really hard to get where they are and sacrificed a lot to get to do what they love.”
Kenny and his father still bond over their love of baseball even though Kenny’s playing days are long behind them. His dad also benefits from Kenny’s relationship with some of Major League Baseball’s best players and the two took in a very memorable game together a few years ago.
“The last year the original Yankee Stadium was still standing, I took him to a Yankees-Red Sox game,” Kenny said. “It was a dream. There I was with my father in the Yankees’ dugout, this very historic place where a lot of my dad’s heroes sat and played. It was a great father-son moment for us.”
Kenny will get personal and recount the road he took from a sports fanatic teenager growing up in East Tennessee to country music superstar in Backstory: Kenny Chesney, premiering Thursday, July 12 at 10 p.m. Eastern on GAC.
NFL coaches Sean Payton and Jon Gruden and tour mate Jake Owen will help paint the picture of who Kenny is during the special and Kenny will share never before seen photographs from his personal collection in this one-hour biodoc. Watch a sneak peek!