Jessica Simpson's ex-husband Nick Lachey is stepping up to the plate to become a part-owner of the Tacoma Rainiers franchise baseball team in Washington State. The team is an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, and realises the former 98 Degrees singer's longterm ambition to become involved with sport in a business capacity. He says, "It had always been a dream of mine to be involved in team sports in general, especially on a local level." The WHAT'S LEFT OF ME star is a self-described "huge baseball fan" who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where the games is "kind of a religion". The 33-year-old, who will be practising with the team as part of his new duties, adds, "That's the biggest perk! Sports is, outside of entertainment, my passion. "Clearly I'm not going to be playing (professional sports) for anybody in my lifetime, so to be involved in the ownership level is the next best thing."