Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Time to follow through by Rocky


Ok, well I have no problem with Byron Scott getting named NBA coach of the year...However now that Scott has been given this award, it seems fitting to me that the best coach also has the best player...Time to own up and give the MVP to Chris Paul. Kid is absurd, not to mention a triple threat as he showed last night...Chris Paul reminds me of those games in which Stockton played and Malone didnt...The type of cat who if he wanted to, could take over like an LBJ or Kobe because that part of the game comes so easy to him. Where he separates himself from those two is this...Kobe just doesnt make his teammates better, he just needs to play with better guys. LBJ makes his guys better, but not good enough to get out of the east. Now look at the ragtag bunch of guys people gave up on that play for New Orleans, throw a solid motivator like Byron in there, all you are missing in order to be the team to beat is the best PG in the game...oh wait, they have that. Let me close with this, I can't believe Byron Scott is the cause of careers being resurrected and David West playing like an undersized Karl Malone...its the game of John Stockton...It's Chris Paul...I'm telling you!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Now that the Pacman Jones question has been answered, it's time for the Titans to focus on FOOTBALL and once again, they have produced a curious cast of characters in the draft. Chris Johnson may be Eric Metcalf reincarnated. Kick returner, slot, wideout, I-back who can turn the corner...a true multi-weapon. This guy had not one, but TWO 400+ all purpose yard games including the Hawaii Bowl win over Boise St. He also had a 300 yard rushing game during the season. But not too many had him a 1st rounder. However, I'm a big believer in getting your guy, if that's your guy. Now the pick of Jason Jones in the second round was a head scratcher in that no one had this guy earlier than the 4th round...but again, he seems to be an athlete of "Freakish" physical proportions.
The one I'm most intrigued by is 4th rounder William Hayes. The Titans traded up in the 4th round to get to this guy....who no one, including the NFL itself, thought would be drafted! Ever! He has great speed for a big guy, but did nothing before last year and had to go 1-AA because he had no grades. But I defer to the coaches and scouts and somebody will look like a genius if this works out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Exit with Heads Held High

It coulda been worse...much worse. As the Preds left the ice, vanquished by the Detroit Red Wings in eerily the same fashion as 2004, I couldn't help think how this scene could have played out...Yesterday, a packed house send the overachieving Preds to the golf course with a lusty applause and anticipation of "Next year". But just imagine how it might have been. No David Freeman...no Karl Deal...no Fans raising their voices...and no more "I like it, I love it..." after no more goals.
Instead of a playoff exit on a Sunday afternoon on national TV, it would have been a lonely Saturday night in front of about 8,000 fans. A team looking to pack their bags having mailed this season of transition in. Preds gear in the discount, off Broadway stores, next those Nashville Kats t-shirts. And yesterday would have been just another quiet spring Sunday downtown with a few hundred people milling about. Thank you David Freeman. Thank you Karl Dean. Thank you Preds. Now let's get out of the first round NEXT YEAR!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From the pages of Center Ice Magazine


A SILENT ROAR?

Question: If a filled arena breaks out into a spontaneous, piercing roar but no one outside the building is willing to hear it, does it make a sound?

Answer: Apparently not.

Welcome to the dilemma that is the Nashville Predators.

It was a truly magical moment the night of April 3 at Nashville’s Sommet Center. The Predators were on the verge of clinching their fourth straight playoff appearance, which they did later that night with their victory and a Vancouver Canucks loss. At the time the Predators were clinging to a precarious 3-2 lead over St. Louis.

Then it happened.

During the final media timeout, over 17,000 fans stood up and started cheering. But this wasn’t just some fleeting moment of appreciation. Their cheering continued…louder and longer. The crowd had broken out into an unprovoked, ear-splitting roar that had rarely, if ever, been heard during the Predators’ 10-year history.

The tell-tale sign of an unforgettable sports moment is when its historical significance is realized in the moment. Sitting among the press corps that night at the Sommet Center, I knew this was something very special. Chills went down my spine as I realized I was experiencing perhaps the seminal moment in franchise history.

It was spontaneous, it was unexplainable, and – most importantly – it was real.

That moment may have signified a fan base finally and fully embracing its hockey team, a franchise nearly snatched from its city before the season had even begun.
Yet as special and memorable the moment was, an entire region outside the building failed to hear it.

This lack of recognition from everyone outside the loyal but smallish Predators fan base was just as deafening and equally measurable.

As the eighth-seeded Predators approached a difficult, yet not impossible, opening-round task of upsetting the top-seeded and President Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings, the community at-large responded with a whimper, both in television ratings and ticket sales.

To be fair, trying to find the Predators on TV Рthrough the muddled mess of networks and times - was the equivalent of the clich̩ needle in a haystack. Additionally, the thought of buying tickets for a series in which the good guys were down 0-2 coming back to Nashville did not necessarily seem appealing. Game 3 did not sell immediately. In fact, it did not sell out until the morning of the showdown.

But here was the Predator faithful again during Game 3, letting loose a growl reminiscent of the regular season finale, practically willing the Predators to an unlikely 5-3 win.

Despite the fan and player heroics, one glaring problem remains: the Predators need more people shouting inside – and outside – the building, both with their voices and their wallets.
Otherwise the next generation of Predators fans will not experience the magical moments we did.

That’s because there won’t be a next generation of fans.

This will be the last time...by Rocky


I am begging everyone out there, pleading...this is not the case of whether you support him or like him or think he is a good person. This is NOT about whether or not he can change or if he is doomed to repeat himself and his actions. This IS about just letting it go...what has he really done to earn this? Has he hit over 756 home runs? Did he throw or catch the Music City Miracle or take this team on his back to the playoffs as in the case of an Eddie, Steve, or in the past 2 years the friggin head coach!?!? Of course not, instead he has gone the rout of others who fall from grace, and in his case these allegations were going on well before the pro-game. This isn't the blame game either, its not about the owners, coach, other players, or even him being at fault. This rant is about one thing, letting it go. We the people are power in numbers, and every now and again if we band together it actually works. Whether you know it or not, TV news casts have instant ratings feedback where they can see how well a story works. Imagine if everyone just turned it off the next time they show his face...

And DAMMIT GO PREDS!

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's OK....For Now...By Thom Abraham

By all accounts, Brandt Snedeker is a terrific guy. And my this account, I believe he will be a regular winner on the PGA Tour....and, man does he look like Johnny Miller out on the course! Having said that, Snedeker's emotional interview, just minutes after coming off the course revealed just how much these guys hold back on the course. And maybe that's an issue. In an effort to be ultra-controlled, maybe they need to blow a little steam out there...Tiger wears it on his sleeve, so did Arnie. Trevino would chat with the gallery to stay loose. Tom Watson just smiled...hence the nickname "Huck Finn". Snedeker is from the Watson school...in fact, he calls Watson one of his heroes. The question going forward will be, can Brandt Snedeker channel that emotion into positive results? I'm betting yes...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chip off the ol' block by Rocky


Tiger sat down with Scott Van Pelt for one of the more candid interviews I have ever heard regarding Woods and insight into his life. Woods for the first time I can truly remember came off what sports fans may consider "arrogant". For the most part I believe Tiger has been more on the invisible side then the in your face Barry Bonds/Curt Schilling/TO athlete who demands you pay attention, most of the time by throwing a tantrum with or through the media. Tiger has his quirks on the course, plays head games with his competition much like Jordan or Deon Sanders once did, but besides marrying his hottie babysitter, we know little about the man...again compared to these other men and sometimes women who insist we turn the cameras on every time they breathe. No Tiger has always been good with us, good with the fans, good with the country. (OK I know he went off on someone for clicking his camera phone during his backswing, but that's another rant altogether...Lets leave it at this, if the guy didnt stick up for himself, who am I to?) But he came out and said he has to bet on himself, he IS better than Jack, and 19 is more important than 100... And here we are again, ready to miss work to watch him play, something in the past reserved for the NCAA's. It's a sign we havent seen so far and I tell you this...if he has been playing this well without this chip, I fear for Rory and the rest of 'em!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rock Chalk or Choke Tiger?

I'd love to talk about the epic comeback for the Jayhawks to win their first National Championship in 20 years. And Mario Chalmers did go all Super Mario with is last second 3 to sent the game to overtime, and, essentially, forcing the Memphis Tigers to win the game twice. But, truth be told, this was an epic choke job...Jean VanDeveld at the British...Chris Webber's TO...Norman at the Masters...that kind of choke. And this goes straight to John Calipari as well. We were lulled into thinking that Memphis had the free throw thing licked. But pressure does funny things to a stroke. And then, up 3 with :10 to go in the game Cal needed a TO and he needed to set up the foul at mid court. Play tough defense for a few seconds and then put a Jayhawk, any Jayhawk, on the line. Make them bring the ball up twice to beat you.
In the end, Memphis may have been too good for there own good. To many blow outs in a weak conference, and then they got on a roll in the tourney. They had done it all...except have to come up big in clutch situations. So now "Danny and the Miracles" adds Super Mario to Kansas hoop lore.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Well?

"The Predators were life and death down the stretch to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season. The bigger question was whether anyone in Nashville noticed."-Scott Burnside-ESPN.com

And he likes the Preds! I know I'm excited! But will those outside the building catch Preds fever? What would an upset of Presidents Trophy winning Detroit mean to this franchise? Will the community jump on the bandwagon in a fashion similar to the Titans Super Bowl run in their first season as Titans? Will Hard Core Preds fans try and kick Bandwagon Fan off the Bandwagon? As for the product on the ice...I really don't think this is a group that anyone really wanted to see in the first round. Resilient, tough and with no expectations. If the Red Wings are looking for an easy out....FORGETABOUTIT. As they say in NASCAR; "You'd better reach up and pull those belts tight" but this one's going 6 or 7 games!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pro Hoops in the Music City


I'm truly excited for the opportunity we have as sports fans in this city to experience pro hoops in the new ABA team, the Nashville Broncs. I know the memories of the Rhythm are unfortunately still fresh in our minds...Yet right from the jump this team has a fresh new approach, a new look, and what I believe will be an entertaining product. I dont need to explain how absurd it was for the Rhythm to play on a campus where no alcoholic beverages are permitted...when alcohol sales are one of the KEY revenue makers in pro sports, right? And to all you haters think before you speak, or in certain cases write an article poisoning this effort. Basketball is what we love, look at UT, Vandy, Belmont, Memphis, Austin Peay...How great would it be to see kids who went to school here, have a chance to continue on and play in a much larger league with a larger player pool?

There are some things that jump out for me that cause me to believe this time around it will work...First, the man in charge, Scott Lumley, has been successful in so many other areas of business that I believe the mentality is such that he wont allow it to fail...at least not for the fans. I've sat with Scott and the feel I got is that he is a fan first, and wants the experience to cater to you first, not the ABA or the team. Second, from a basketball standpoint Oliver Lee is as good a coach you can find to not only provide leadership to players new to the league, but also mold and prepare players for the next level. The 2 time All-American killed comp back at Marquette, played in both the NBA and Europe. He has seen the game played on all levels. Let's be honest here, the better positioned this team is to not only win games but possibly advance guys to the next level, the better the product the better the reward for the fan...let's not lose focus, WE the fans are who this is all about.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

One for the Ages!

I have always said, "Sports is the ultimate Reality TV." What the Predators did in St. Louis last night was why we love our games! Down 3-0 on 7 shots in 7 minutes, goalie Dan Ellis is yanked from the game. Did I mention it took about 250 minutes for him to give up 3 goals prior to last night? Oh yeah, the Preds hadn't scored 4 goals to win a game in a month...an even dozen games. And the season hung in the balance...a loss almost assuredly meaning no playoffs. What happens next you wouldn't buy if it was a Disney movie. The Mighty Predators yank the star goalie for the guy who they yanked before the star became a star, the defense only allows 10 more shots in the last 53 minutes...the well rested back up stops all those shots, and a bunch of guys with names like Fiddler, Tootoo, Bochenski and Peverley score goals for the win. Did I mention that those last two weren't even on the team a few weeks ago? Of course, the story wouldn't be complete without a Vancouver loss putting Nashville back in the playoffs. Win the last two, and it's on to a best of 7 against Detroit...and don't doubt these Mighty Predators of Nashville. I wonder if Emilio Estevez will be available to play Barry Trotz in the movie?

One Tough Chick

I don't typically spend much time on Woman's basketball, and like the rest of the nation, I'm just waiting for Pat v. Geno, but the effort of Candice Parker last night merits some serious props. This girl dislocates her shoulder....twice...and goes all Willis Reed, coming out of the tunnel with 10 minutes left in UT's Regional Final to lead the Lady Vols to the Final Four. Did I mention she dislocated her shoulder.....twice? That's the heart of a warrior and that's what separates the athlete from the ordinary. Now when is the Pat and Geno thing going to happen!