Tag: Nashville MLS

Predators’ Win, $100-Million Dollar Man, and more…

No Friday Flashback post today.  Instead I have a few sports-related rants and observations to share with you.  Yes,  I have a blog and I intend to use it.

The Nashville Predators beat the Winnipeg Jets last night to even their Western Conference Semifinal series at 2-2.  Yes, Pekka Rinne was in goal and played better than he has in recent games.  I still would have started Juuse Saros and I’m not so sure I can be very confident about Rinne even with last night’s win.  I also applaud the move to put Scott Hartnell in the game.  He’s a veteran player and definitely added the physicality to counter Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien.  I really was tired of hearing the endless comments from NBC’s AJ about how big and strong Byfuglien is.  I’m also glad that Patrik Laine FINALLY scored a goal so now the NBC commentators will shut up about it.  Enough already about how many games he had gone without scoring.  The young, goat-bearded wonder has scored now, let’s move on.

The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms with quarterback Matt Ryan on a five-year, $150 million contract with $100 million guaranteed.  Are you kidding me?  Why?  Yeah, I know they call him “Matty Ice” (which is detest) but has he won any Super Bowls?  I won’t deny that Ryan is good but I wouldn’t necessary say his consistent.  Speaking of highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL, when I asked Siri about it you won’t believe the top five:  Kirk Cousins (seriously??), Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr and Drew Brees.  What are owners and general managers paying all this money for?

Nashville’s Metro Council is set to vote on proposal to move our Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium which was originally supposed to be built on the Fairgrounds near downtown.   There is some consternation about the location.  A Nashville MLS spokesman fears that failure to support the site will cost Nashville its proposed MLS expansion which was awarded in December.  It’s a bit crazy to me that they can do this much work for a soccer stadium but they can’t come up with a plan to fix the traffic mess.  They will eventually approve and build a soccer stadium but it will be a mess trying to get there.

President Trump is going to appoint Bill Belichick to his sports council.  Yet another reason to dislike both.  Was deflate-gate not enough?

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart got a new 7-year , $49 million dollar deal from Georgia.  I’m a bit on the fence about this one.  At least Smart got the Bulldogs to the National Championship game right?  The Southeastern Conference is brutal.  It will be very difficult to repeat the success from last season.  Smart becomes the fifth highest paid coach in the big-time college football division.

Someone recently told me they would like the Kentucky Derby more if not for the horses.  They prefer all the hoopla (i.e. fancy hats, mint juleps) to the actual horse race.  You would hope they treat those awesome animals well and don’t abuse them.  Sorry, I’m not a fan.  It’s a horse race.

Who is Josh Rosen and why is he stirring up junk?  His feelings are hurt that he fell to 10th in the recent NFL draft before the Arizona Cardinals traded up to select him.  Really?  What exactly did he do in college football?  Well, he’s with the Cardinals.  It won’t matter much anyway.

I’m still disappointed that Georgia Running Back Nick Chubb got snagged by the Cleveland Browns.  I was hoping the Tennessee Titans would get him.  Poor Chubb.

In case you’re following the NBA playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Toronto Raptors 128-110 last night to take a 2-0 lead in their series.  Toronto is the #1 seed in the East but looks like they are fading fast.  To be honest, I haven’t been interested in the NBA playoffs since Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson retired.

I really wish the Washington Redskins would change their stupid name.

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Is It Finally Time to “Turn off the lights” on Monday Night Football?

 

The best reason that John Gruden has returned to coaching again is that he won’t be on Monday Night Football anymore.  Have you heard that the new announcers will be Joe Tessitore and former Dallas Cowboys’ Tight End Jason Witten?  I know who Jason Witten is but I have to admit that I had to click on Joe Tessitore’s name link to refresh my memory on who he is.  We have come a LONG way from the days of Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and Don Meredith.  Frankly (no pun intended), I think they should finally put an end to Monday Night Football.  Turn out the lights and let the party be over.

Yesterday my wife gave me a Savannah Bananas shirt from the Coastal Plains League team.  It will go along with the Macon Bacon shirt I ordered a few weeks ago.  I think the Portland (Oregon) Pickles and Montgomery (Alabama) Biscuits will be next on my list.

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Santa Brings Professional Soccer To Nashville

Christmas-FootballAfter months of anticipation, Christmas came early for soccer fans in the Music City at the Commissioner of Major League Soccer (MLS), Don Garber, announced that Nashville would be the next MLS expansion team.  The team will begin play in 2020.

The new professional soccer team will now join the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators in the Music City’s sports landscape.  Both the Titans’ and Predators’ organizations were also supportive of bringing an MLS team to Nashville.

The Nashville MLS team should probably put something in the Nashville Predators’ Christmas stocking as many think the success of the Predators in Stanley Cup playoffs increased the chances of securing one of the four coveted slots.

Work will now begin on building the home for the new team.  Current plans call for the stadium to be built at the state fairgrounds.  Personally, this isn’t the most ideal location and I have been opposed to this idea but it appears that the team will proceed with their plans to build their house of soccer in this south Nashville location.   On November 7th, the Metro Nashville City Council approved $225 million to build a 27,500-seat stadium.

So now the REAL work begins as the front office, coaches, players and season ticket drives will begin.  I think professional soccer will be successful in Nashville.  As successful as the Predators?  Probably not but the Predators got off to a weak start themselves and at one point nearly left Nashville for Hamilton, Ontario.    I do believe that soccer will be a good fit to fill the void between the hockey and football seasons although they will overlap.

Nashville and Sacramento were the favorites for the next two teams.  Cincinnati and Detroit are also expected to round out the two remaining expansion slots.  Nashville becomes the league’s 24th team.  Just a year ago Nashville was considered a long shot to snag one of the coveted expansion slots.  Now, they became the first one to do it ahead of the other applicants.

Nashville’s chances were also helped with hosting soccer events at Nissan Stadium over the past few years which drew sell-out crowds for international matches.

Major League Soccer recently completed its 22nd season on December 9th when Toronto FC defeated Seattle FC 2-0 for the title.  The MLS started with 10 teams in 1996.

There is no word on what the team name will officially be titled.  Major League Soccer is a bit different than other leagues in that aspect.  Most teams stick to the traditions of the European leagues which do not necessarily name them the same as other leagues.  Some teams will put FC (for Football Club) at the beginning or end – such as Toronto FC or FC Dallas.  Some teams incorporate a little of both such as the Seattle Sounders FC.  Atlanta United was an expansion last season and should easily become a natural rivalry for the new Nashville team.

 

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Nashville becomes Major League Soccer’s 24th team

 

Will NHL Predators’ Success Help Nashville’s MLS Bid?

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During the Stanley Cup playoffs, the hockey world took notice of Nashville’s support for the Nashville Predators.  When fans couldn’t get tickets to the game, they filled the streets of Lower Broadway, Walk of Fame Park and other locations downtown painting the town gold.  Yes, Nashville embraced hockey.  Watching and being a part of the Predators’ amazing journey this season, I wondered if what happened here could help Nashville’s quest for a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team.

Nashville is one of 12 cities on the list for four slots that the league plans to expand to take the league to 28 teams.  Nashville joins Sacramento, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Antonio, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Diego and Detroit.

I  would think that the city of Nashville only helped their cause with the success of the Predators’ and a sport which people probably never thought would take in the Music City.  One thing that helps Nashville is that there is no other professional sports teams that would compete with MLS in the bulk of the regular season.  They would compete with the Predators in the first 1/3 of the season and then the Titans in the last 1/3.  There is definitely a big gap where a team would get the support since the city does not have a Major League Baseball team.  In fact, six of the 12 on the list would not have competition with baseball.  They all have minor league teams but I don’t see that as real competition with professional soccer.

The United States national teams have done well with matches here.  The four games between 2006 and 2015 averaged 31,998 fans, which was something that attracted CONCACAF Gold Cup to have matches in Nashville this summer.  On July 8th, the United States will play Panama and Martinique will play Nicaragua.  Also, more than 40,000 filled Nissan Stadium in October for a match between Mexico and New Zealand.

Even Nashville Mayor Megan Barry expressed her thoughts about how the Predators’ success should help the city’s bid.

“I have to tell you if you were an MLS official and you watched any fan participation for the Predators, I can’t believe you wouldn’t think this is a place that would be supportive of a soccer team.”

Most soccer experts list Nashville as 7th on their list of the 12 cities.  One thing that might detract from Nashville is that the city is an unknown as far as a soccer fan base.  Sure, the Predators had incredible support but would that translate to support for an MLS franchise?  Unfortunately, I think cities with past professional soccer teams in the old NASL (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Detroit) seem to be sentimental favorites.  Personally, I think I would mix it up if I were MLS officials.  Maybe include two old favorites and two cities who have never had a team.

Nashville already has support from the local community to build a stadium for an MLS team.  That is always a huge hurdle for a city to strengthen their position for an expansion team.

Here is my personal (non-soccer expert) ranking of the list of cities.  The numbers indicate professional sports teams:

  1. Tampa Bay (3)
  2. Phoenix (4)
  3. San Diego (1)  – Remember the Chargers have moved to LA
  4. Nashville (2)
  5. St. Louis (2)
  6. Charlotte (2)
  7. Cincinnati (2)
  8. San Antonio (1)
  9. Raleigh (1)
  10. Indianapolis (2)
  11. Sacramento (1)
  12. Detroit (4)

The Predators’ success certainly helped Nashville’s chances but is it enough to put them in the top four?  Another factor in the process is Miami’s on/off bid for an MLS team.  Who knows how that situation will work out?  Miami could be the factor that bumps Nashville out.  Of course, both Miami and Tampa had MLS franchises but lost them.

The next two expansion teams are planned to join the league in 2020.  With the length of time between now and the next decision for the next two teams, you also wonder how long the Predators’ success this season will stay in the minds of those on the MLS expansion committee.  But, the Music City will have several opportunities to show their support for soccer on their own with the upcoming Gold Cup games and other friendlies being hosted at Nissan Stadium.

Honky Tonkin and Corner Kicks in the Music City?  It isn’t so far-fetched.