MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Nick Lachey, part-owner of the Tacoma Rainiers and former boy-band heartthrob, stood by smiling and watching as the players sprayed beer and champagne throughout the visiting locker room at AutoZone Park Friday night.
The Rainiers had just completed a three-game sweep of the Memphis Redbirds with an 11-inning, 10-6 victory in front of 6,709 to capture their first outright Pacific Coast League championship since 1969. They did so by winning all three games on a field where the Redbirds, the defending PCL champs, had won a franchise record 50 games this season.
It’s one of many reasons why Lachey, wearing his gray Rainiers cap, just couldn’t stop smiling.
“When you invest in a team, you buy a team, this is what you dream of,” the former 98 Degrees singer said, “this moment when you’re dousing champagne in the visiting team’s locker room, when you’ve just taken their heart and soul away and you’ve won the championship on their field.