NEW YORK -- Jason Aldean will perform on the field at packed Major League Baseball stadiums this season, and that's close enough to a dream he had as a young first baseman.
The multiplatinum country music star, close friend with several Major League players and a lifelong Braves fan who has taken batting practice with the club, was at the MLB.com studios in Manhattan on Thursday, and he announced that at least four MLB stadiums will be included on his 2014 Burn It Down Tour that starts May 1 and hits roughly 50 cities through year's end.
The tour stops will include Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Nationals Park in Washington, PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and Aldean said more ballparks may be coming.
"I grew up thinking that baseball was going to be my career path for a while," said Aldean, 36. "I played in high school [Windsor Academy in Macon, Ga.], had a chance to go to college and play, and kind of got into music and went down that path instead.
"To get a chance to go into some of these ballparks -- especially where I grew up watching games -- to me, it's a pretty big deal for us. I always thought I'd play them as an athlete, not so much as a musician. But at least now I can say I played the park, even if it was as a singer."
Last July, Aldean brought his high-octane, level-11-amp sound to sellout crowds at Fenway Park (two shows) and Wrigley Field, smashing attendance records at the former by selling out in minutes, faster than the likes of Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen. He said the Major League setting was a natural pairing and wanted to "take it a step further this year."
"Last year was really our first experience of going to play stadiums like that, and just to see the atmosphere that surrounded those shows was pretty incredible.," Aldean said. "It's just a really cool experience, not only for us, but also for the fans who came out to the shows. It's something we wanted to do more of this year. It's going to be a different experience for them, which is what you want it to be."
Each ballpark secret was unveiled at MLB.com with a trivia question as a clue, and then that city's corresponding home jersey was shown, with the No. 14 on the back for the tour year. When PNC Park was revealed, Aldean looked at the jersey and said, "I used to play for the Pirates when I was a kid, like Little League Pirates. I wore the black and gold for a couple seasons."
Aldean said Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have been a favorite tour stop over the years for his band, and he said he hopes his friends down south will understand why he is playing at the home of the Nationals and Phillies.
"I may take some flak in my home state of Georgia for this, because this is one of our big rivals," Aldean said of Philly. "I'm a big Atlanta Braves fan, but we are going to Philadelphia and play Citizens Bank Park. It's gonna be a good time, man. Another great ballpark, one of the newer ballparks, it's really cool. And again, Philly -- great town, looking forward to getting up to Pennsylvania and seeing everybody.
"I grew up about an hour south of Atlanta, I'm a huge Braves fan, and the last few seasons the Braves and Phillies have had a pretty good little rivalry going -- and now Washington, too. So here I'm going to two of our rivals and before I even go play Atlanta at Turner Field, so I'll probably take a little heat from some of my buddies on the Braves. It's all good."
Red-hot duo Florida Georgia Line and breakthrough artist Tyler Farr will join Aldean on tour, and country star Miranda Lambert will appear with him at Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Fans can purchase tickets beginning Jan. 24 for select cities as part of tour promoter Live Nation's Country Megaticket at Megaticket.com, and additional ticketing information will be available in the coming weeks at jasonaldean.com.
Aldean is the reigning Academy of Country Music Awards "Male Vocalist of The Year" and has sold more than 8.5 million albums to date and notched 12 No. 1 country hits. His current album "Night Train" claimed a No. 1 debut on the Billboard all-genre Top 200 and earned platinum certification in only four weeks. The album is currently nominated for "Country Album of the Year" at the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
"It's going to be a fun year," Aldean said. "My goal is that when the last song is over, and you're walking back to the parking lot, you're already on your phone searching to find the next show."