Posted on: April 25, 2011 6:33 am

Smashville is More than a Hockey Town

There is some real-time celebration going on in the Music City right now.  In less than 12 hours, the Nashville Predators advanced to their first ever Stanley Cup Semi-Finals.  Vanderbilt alum Brandt Snedeker won the PGA Heritage Open and I am not done.  Those Vanderbilt Commodores are all over the national sport pages.   The Vanderbilt Baseball team is tied for first in the SEC, ranked seventh nationally and the basketball team is being hyped as a pre-season Top 5 before the season even starts with the return of John Jenkins, Jeff Taylor and Festuz Ezeli.  The atmosphere is unbelievable and  I have not seen or heard as much bragging and carrying on in Nashville, well since the Titans were going to the Super Bowl.  Eleven years of waiting for something like this has produced the perfect storm.

Right now the hottest item going in the sporting outlet stores is Nashville Predator apparel.  Flags, banners, and pennants but hats and jerseys in the home blue are number 1.  However you will see more Vanderbilt University ball caps and shirts. Tennessee fans, well right now you are in the minority.

The Nashville Predator hockey team made the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.  A lot of talk at the end of last year’s near miss against eventual Stanley Cup winners Chicago Black Hawks was on how new management would address the off season.  Well, the Predators have exceeded expectations.  Nashville fans love the Preds.   They like the hustle and the success of no real household names unless of course your household is in Nashville.  However all that is going to change.  Predator goalie Pekka Rinne is about to become the league’s best goalie this season.  Smashville has other favorites as well.  Defenseman Shea Webber and Ryan Suter and Forwards: Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, J-P Dumont all has made themselves local favorites.  A favorite of mine is the young impressionable Colin Wilson.

The come from behind win in game 5 is Predator 360 and has everyone thinking this year we are a team of destiny.  Nashville was the best team on home ice this year.  If they can win one on the road by hook or crook in my opinion this team can finish what it has started.

The Vandy baseball team (32-5) reached number one nationally before losing two out of three to SEC rival South Carolina in Columbus, S.C.  Since then they have gone undefeated and retaken a share of the SEC lead.  This team is loaded and when three of the teams in the SEC are2,3;7 a 32-5 record is even more impressive. 

The basketball team which made it to the NCAA tournament as a fifth seed lost again in the first round, but nevertheless all season long they were a strong legitimate Top 25 team.  When you recognize that every starter is returning from last season well, they are certain to be amongst the best in the country again and while a Top5 is a stretch, they no doubt deserve to be a Top 10.

Finally, everyone has been waiting for Snedeker to rebound after his Master’s melt down two years ago.  His win this week brought back childhood memories I had of watching the recently deceased Mason Rudolph who I watched at the Blue Grass Country Club in Nashville.  He has a smile, charisma, and boyhood good looks.  This win could easily lead to more, but more importantly it reminds that while Vanderbilt football is not on the map, they sure produce a lot of quality athletes, just ask the Chicago Bears.



Posted on: July 7, 2010 6:48 am

Broadcasters Have Demeaned the word “Great.”

If you look in the dictionary at the word “great” you will see:

Impressively large

Bigger than others

Much: extreme or more than usual

Lasting long time

Important: very significant

Exceptional talent or achievements

Being a good example

Emphasizing exceptional qualities one possesses

Every time I listen to a broadcast, sportscast, or reading another analysis I am always looking and listening for the word “great”. As someone that has hosted a sports radio show, written articles, and seen sporting events for over 50 years, we and I include myself have overused the word “Great” to the point that almost every athlete and play is great.

Now I try extremely hard not to use the word unless I really mean it. I may categorize it by saying, that was a great play” but not make the athlete great. After all in pro sports they all got there because of exceptional talent and possessing qualities that others did not have. Still once at that level great has to take on much more.

One way I would choose to define great is that it must possess almost all the attributes assigned to greatness.

Does it:

Stand out large over everything else in the game or the event?

Is it bigger than others I have already seen? The caveat might be to say something like. “He played a great game tonight.” The greatness stands for one night only and doesn’t make the athlete great.

Go outside the envelope? Was it a new move? Maybe that athlete has a signature move that no one else can do. That has to be a great move but when others can do it, well how great is it?

Will the performance stand the test of time. This goes to points one and two in that I might withdraw the word “great” in defining a player one night when I have seen them perform at a much higher level and others as well.

Did the play or performance make a significant change to the outcome?

Also has this achievement been accomplished by several others. Can everyone be great. The HOF is supposed to help us define greatness with a combination of several criteria. Perhaps if broadcasters applied the same principle to defining a play, a game, a performance, a season we would know what is truly great.

Being a good example. Is that on the field or off the field? Should we caveat by saying, “Pete Rose was a great baseball hitter.” He certainly wasn’t the best baseball player at any position and his gambling exploits would hardly make him a shining example off the field. I use Pete as an example because I believe he did great things in baseball and is deserving of the HOF but if we understood the criteria perhaps we wouldn’t need to be still arguing this point. There were many in the HOF that were not of great morale character.

Again doe the athlete have exceptional qualities that define greatness? I believe this is something that reveals itself over time. A high school athlete my have exceptional talent against his or her peers but when they move to the next level the word great needs to be removed until such time the performances measure head and shoulders again above the peers on the field, court or whatever.


Category: World Sports
Posted on: July 2, 2009 11:27 pm

Do the Red Sox's Know Something?

The though occurred to me the other day while listening to conversation on Manny Ramirez.  The Nashville Sounds were playing some team where Manny was given an assginment in preparation for returning to the Dodgers.  The discussion was why was Manny sort of being treated differently from others that have been involved with performance enhancing drugs.  As the discussion went on the name Roger Clemens came up.  Then it sort of dawned on me. Both Ramirez and Clemens played for Boston and did quite well.  Did the front office suspect perhaps the use of steroids and sort of very quietly almost under the radar work to get these people out of the organization before all______ hit the fan?

Of course this is sort of perhaps a farfetched thought but bringing embarrassment to the Yankees in the case of Clemens well, that would seem to me as a pretty clever underhanded move.  After all who really knew who the 104 players were that tested positive.  I just thought  I would put this in my blog and see if anyone may have contemplated other thoughts about this whole who knew what about what in the steroid era. 

Do any of these players ever make it into the HOF?  The fact that McGuire took that android growth that was found in his locker and he stopped taking it is all we really know about him. He didn't want to talk about it to Congress, he didn't want to lie under oath but the 104 people were supposed to be kept secret.  In truth he was probably on it, however we don't know until the names are all released.  

I know that steroids really belmished the game. Mantle was no saint but his HRs are real. His, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.  I think Griffey is clean and so was Frank Robinson. Lets  put the HR leader records in the Steroid era in another part of Cooperstown.  Just words and thoughts for today.

Titans resume on 31 July.  The Commodores play 12 games without a bye and Tennessee should go 2 for 1 to get a QB.  
Posted on: February 9, 2009 7:32 pm

Where Have All The Heroes Gone?

Where have all the heroes gone, gone to steroids everyone, when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.  The news this week on Alex Rodriguez is to say the least unfortunate.  What I mean is that it is unfortunate that another hero bites the dust just when we thought maybe he was the one that would put the likes of Bonds, McGuire, and Sosa behind us.  Unfortunately that now won't happen.  If he plays a little longer and there is no reason to suspect he won't then he can put behind him some of this where as Bonds, McGuire and Sosa never will. 

Looking back, I am not surprised Alex lied when asked about use to Katie Couric afterall the information from the sampling was supposed to never be used against him and forever remain a secret.  I would not be surprised that once he learned he tested positive he gave it up.  If the samples had been destroyed he could have and actually should not have had to look back on it.  I would gather there are some sealed records of a lot of people that lie everyday because that it never supposed to be revealed.  If in fact they turned the corner that is what should matter most.  I for one want to at least think that wrong as it was, Alex lied only because he thought it would never come out and he had made the decision to never use again.  Sometimes it takes only one scare.  As much as he is about his records, I feel confident he made the decision any future use would not be worth the risk.

Bonds on the other hand and Clemons are an altogether different situation.  There use was evident by many and they have categorically denied it, even when the proof is there.  There is no way for them to make amends.  Now what about McGuire? He owned up to some growth enhancement that was found in his locker.  It was legal and he supposedly stopped after that was brought to the light.  He also cannot make amends on the field.  So where does he stand in all this?

I would like to think the Hall of Fame could have the athletes that have the records in the Hall.  Perhaps we will see a Hall of Fame that won't have the HR Leader, the Hits Leader, the player that broke Roger Maris' record, the best pitcher of the live ball era and you name it. It might not have the future HR leader that breaks Bond's record.  Do we need a Sports Records Hall of Fame that could have caveats like this athlete did this or is alledged to have done this.  We could include all sports and someone could go see their stuff.  My guess is it would have quite an appeal because there are going to be a lot of heroes in there.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com