CHICAGO (AP) — As a kid, Jason Aldean thought he would eventually see his name on a scoreboard at baseball stadiums. He gave up that dream when he turned to country music, but achieved it nevertheless Thursday when he made two announcements at iconic landmarks.
Aldean continued his whirlwind tour of surprise appearances around the country by stopping in at Wrigley Field just hours after leaving Fenway Park in Boston.
"I have a love of baseball and a love of music," Aldean said in an interview in front of Wrigley's ivy-covered right-field wall. "To kind of combine those two — not just playing any stadium but a historic stadium like this that has so much history — to me it's just unbelieveable.
When he returns to Boston, he'll be making history. He'll be the first country music star to play a concert at Fenway Park, the iconic home of the Boston Red Sox. The July 13 appearance will be the initial stop on his 2013 tour.
Aldean made the day's first announcement with the Green Monster in the background with an assist from Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. Red Sox players David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia welcomed Aldean in a video, and he signed the wall inside the scoreboard, alongside historic figures like Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio.
"Being the first country music artist to ever come here and headline a show is amazing," Aldean said. "It's going to be a fun night. Over the last several years, my career, especially the touring side of that, has been pretty amazing. It's been growing. So thank you guys for having us. I can't wait for July 13."
The Cubs gave him a blue team hoodie for the announcement in Chicago, where it was windy, cold and rainy. By mid-afternoon the secret was already out and several fans stood outside waiting for a glimpse of Aldean. He's got one more stop to make Thursday night.
The Georgia native released his fifth album, "Night Train," this week. That title is an apt metaphor for his career, which has been steaming along on a steep trajectory. About the only thing he hadn't attained yet was a stadium tour, and he's crossing that goal off the list.
Aldean is one of country's top draws, but the stadium tour will move him into rare company. Currently, only Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney have that kind of drawing power. But the hard-rocking singer has earned the status, selling more than 1.9 million tickets on his yearlong "My Kinda Party" tour that wraps in Dallas on Oct. 27.
"You think about how long ago he started, you know, playing the small gigs, holes in the wall and honky-tonks. I mean that's what he did. How do you get here? There's no logical path. It has to consume you," said Chris Parr, one of his managers.