Garth Brooks Joins Pittsburgh Pirates for Spring Training

Garth Brooks is taking a break from his music career to return to his other love — baseball! The superstar, who previously took a stab at the sport with stints with the San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Kansas City Royals in the MLB during pre-season, is joining the Pittsburgh Pirates, just for a week of spring training.

"As a celebrity, they haven't cut me yet, so we'll see," Brooks quipped, via Fox News. "You've got to use your advantages, you know. Before you could crowd the plate all you want because nobody wanted to hit you. You haven't got speed. You haven't got fielding. You haven't got hitting. So, use the other thing you've got."

Brooks has no plans of once again leaving music, after announcing retirement in 2001 to focus on raising his three daughters, now grown, only to return several years later. But the Oklahoma native is practicing with the Pirates, for one very good reason: the 20th anniversary of his Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation, which has raised more than $100 million for children's charities since its inception.

Neither Brooks nor the Pirates announced his arrival on Monday, Feb. 11, making it a surprise for everyone, including Brooks' temporary teammates.

"I went out to take some fly balls and the guy didn't look familiar," left fielder Corey Dickerson recounted. "Then it hit me. It's really cool. My brother and I grew up listening to his music and I'm looking forward to having a chance to talk with him."

Brooks will spend the next three years on his Stadium Tour, with the first round of dates already selling out.

"I wanted to call it the 'Big A— Stadium Tour,' but they voted me down on that, so we're just going to call it the Stadium Tour for right now," Brooks told PopCulture.com at a media event. "It was going to be a college tour, but because of the cities, how they worked out, there's going to be some professional stadiums in it as well. So we're just gonna keep it at a Stadium Tour."

Brooks isn't spending all of the week in Pittsburgh. He is currently in Nashville for the 50th anniversary of CRS (Country Radio Seminar). Brooks will perform a one-man show on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Nashvillle's Bridgestone, and will then be the featured speaker in a panel on Thursday, Feb. 14. Both events are closed to the public.

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Find a list of all of Brooks' upcoming shows on his website.

Photo Credit: Getty images/Tim Mosenfelder