Tag: nashville

Nashville Sports Loses Nightwatch gains Power

nightwatch.pngPowerMost people won’t hear about it on the local news but the more obscure sports in the Music City has lost one franchise but gained another recently.

The Nashville Nightwatch professional ultimate frisbee team announced this week that they will no longer field a team in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).  The Nightwatch played four seasons in the AUDL’s Southern Division but never had a winning season.  They showed a lot of promise at times but could only post an 8-44 record and finished last place each season.  In their Facebook announcement this week the team posted:

“We would like to thank our players and supporters from the last 4 years. Going forward we will not be playing in the AUDL. We are going to turn our efforts into building our community through club efforts and focusing on our Professional Women’s team, Nashville NightShade. We will be forming a club team with the goal of competing at the highest level. Our experiences learned in the AUDL will allow us to give our club team a pro experience and grow with our community. More information to come, and thank you for your support.”

The Nightwatch organization has been one of the more influential franchises in promoting women’s ultimate so it appears that the Nightwatch could live on through their female counterparts.  I’m not sure how the club team will work out and competing at the “highest level” will look like but with the AUDL being the only professional ultimate league, this announcement will leave a void.

The Nightwatch could never get the following necessary to sustain a start-up professional franchise, especially in a non-major sport.  The press never really helped the Nightwatch plus the fact that they could not field a competitive team on the field.  The team also could never find a good home as they began at Tennessee State University in their inaugural season then moved to Overton High School in their second season and then a terrible move to Hunter’s Lane High School in North Nashville the following season and finally to an awkward field at Vanderbilt University.  The move to the Vanderbilt area was one I thought would help but the home field was not really a spectator-friendly venue.

With the demise of the Nightwatch, another team has moved into the void as the Nashville Power brings the city their first indoor football team since the Nashville Venom played in 2014-2015 at the Municipal City Auditorium.  The Power will also call the Auditorium home when they kick off their season in the spring of 2019.  The Power will play in the Elite Indoor Football League which is basically a semi-pro type league in comparison to the bigger leagues.  The Power will join 12 other teams located throughout the East and Southeast.

Although they are playing in an obscure league, they will have a local favorite involved.  One of the greatest arena league players of all-time, Cory Fleming, is the Power’s defensive coordinator. Fleming played for the Kats (1997-2001, 2006), Carolina (2002) and Orlando (2003-05). The former Stratford and Tennessee star was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Will this new indoor team make it?  I doubt it.  The league looks pretty weak.  There had been rumors of the return of the Nashville Kats franchise in the National Arena League (NAL) or even a new team in the Arena Football League (AFL) but nothing has been made public.

Don’t be surprised if the Power doesn’t last any longer than the Nightwatch.

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Can Nashville Support Major League Baseball?

Nashville_MLBMajor League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred recently mentioned Nashville as a possible candidate for a future expansion team.  Nashville was mentioned along with Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Montreal and Vancouver.  It is expected that MLB will expand from 30 to 32 teams in the future but no timetable is set at this time.  The last time MLB expanded was in 1998 when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now Tampa Bay Rays) were added.

So what are Nashville’s chances of added yet another major league sports franchise to join the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Predators and Nashville’s Major League Soccer team?

Nashville continues to grow.  You only have to look around downtown to see the construction and towering cranes at work to know that the growth continues.  Nashville is currently 24th in the United States in population with 667,560 which is larger than current MLB teams in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Atlanta, Miami, Oakland, Minneapolis, Arlington, Cleveland, Tampa, Anaheim, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.  Yes, I was surprised by that too.

The Nashville Sounds average about 9,000 fans per game  but we’re talking about a minor league team so those numbers isn’t the same as if Nashville had a MLB team.  It’s a bit difficult to attract fans to watch the Sounds play the El Paso Chihuahuas or New Orleans Baby Cakes as opposed to the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees.  So, you really can’t determine support for a MLB baseball team on attendance figures for a minor league team.   The Miami Marlins are currently averaging 9,762 per game so I wouldn’t doubt that a Nashville team could exceed that and more.  If the Nashville Predators can average 17,307 per game I am confident that a MLB baseball team in the Music City could average at least 25,000 per game.

The Nashville Sounds issued a statement that First Tennessee Park could not be converted to MLB standards but that statement is in conflict with what was reported when the stadium was initially being constructed.  At that time it was said that the ballpark could be expanded with addition levels to support a MLB team.  Even if that were the case, it is certain that Nashville would have no problem constructing a stadium.  If they can do it for a Major League Soccer team they certainly could clear that hurdle.  I’m not knocking soccer but – seriously – a baseball stadium wouldn’t be a problem.

So what about Nashville’s competition for one of the two expansion slots?

The common assumption is that Montreal is a lock to get one of those expansion slots but I’m not so sure I agree with that.  True, they have a stadium and structure to support one but they have already lost the team that they had so I would be inclined to think MLB should go elsewhere.  Portland would have a natural rivalry with Seattle but I still think Portland is just too small of a market for a team.  Las Vegas is a gamble – no pun intended.  The National Hockey League (NHL) was lucky with the Vegas Golden Knights but I really don’t see Major League Baseball there.  Vancouver doesn’t seem to fit either.  They lost the Grizzlies to Memphis and really don’t have much experience as a major league city.   Charlotte is another good possibility which I think would be a good market for MLB.  Charlotte is 17th on the U.S. Population list.  Of course, market size isn’t the only factor MLB would consider.  They must also consider placement of franchises to fit into any realignment that would be needed.   It is not clear if MLB would realign into two leagues with four divisions or if they would just insert new expansion teams into the currently alignment.  If I were in charge of it, I would place the Nashville MLB franchise in the National League Central Division with Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati.

So what would you name a Nashville MLB team?   Personally, I don’t see any reason the team couldn’t continue to be called the Sounds.  Some have offered other ideas such as:  Tennessee Banjos, Nashville Stars, Tennessee Raccoons, Nashville Fiddlers, Nashville Jammers or Nashville Pickers.

So what would the standings in the NL Central look like with a Nashville team?

  • Chicago Cubs (58-42)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (58-45)
  • Nashville Sounds (55-47)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (53-50)
  • St. Louis Cardinals (51-51)
  • Cincinnati Reds (45-47)

I like it.  I think that looks right.

I think the Music City has proven that it can handle the big leagues.  An expansion team – or even a relocation of an existing MLB team would be a good fit here.  It “sounds” good to me.

 

 

 

National Anthem, Barry Trotz and Bird Scooters

trotzOkay, so let me get this straight, the National Football League (NFL) will have a new policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field for the national anthem but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer?  Yeah, that’s not a fix.  Not to sound anti-patriotic here but do we really need to have the national anthem before sporting events anymore?  This whole thing started back in the World War days to rally the country in support of our troops and the war effort.  Honestly unless you are patriotic or a veteran, not many people really care about the national anthem.  People are on their cell phones, talking or anything but being rallied so we’re going to punish players for kneeling?  The fix is to not even have the national anthem performed at sporting events.

Barry Trotz is the head coach for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL).  Last night he led his team to a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 to win the Eastern Conference final and advance to the Stanley Cup final against the Vegas Golden Knights.  This will be the second appearance for the Capitals in a Stanley Cup final in their 44-year history.  Trotz is in his fourth season as head coach for the Capitals.  Here’s the interesting part to this story – he was the head coach for the Nashville Predators for 15 years until he was replaced by Peter Laviolette.  Laviolette took the Predators to the Stanley Cup last year.  Wouldn’t it be a kick in the gut if Trotz won the Cup with the Capitals?

Downtown Nashville has been invaded by bird – scooters.  This is a new form of transportation downtown where you can rent a scooter and leave it at random locations.  Yes, add this to the pedal taverns, golf carts, bicycles, cars and pedestrians.  There has been controversy over these scooters not being safe and riders not using the appropriate lanes.  They aren’t supposed to ride on sidewalks or the roads unless they are in the bike lane.  People ignore the rules.  No surprise there.  In fact, yesterday I saw two bird scooter riders nearly get smashed because they were going the wrong way and crossing in front of oncoming traffic to the sidewalk.  These folks already can’t drive all these other vehicles downtown and now we have to deal with these bird scooters?

Why is it when you get on an elevator and press the button to go to the top floor that some folks feel the need to comment like “Oh, going to the penthouse huh?” or “All the way to the top I see?”   What’s up with that?  These aren’t people I know either.  Random strangers.  What compels people to comment?  I usually ignore the comment or give one of my fake laughs (as if were the first time I have heard this).  One day I responded that that is where the psych ward is located and I’m going back to my room.

Jim Bakker is claiming that Yellowstone is going to erupt into a Super Volcano which will devastate America.  Yes, I’m talking about THAT Jim Bakker.  But, not to worry, you can order emergency food buckets he is selling on his website to survive it.  My fav would be the Italian Variety Bucket for $100.  Included in the bucket are all of the ingredients you need to prepare Pizza, Italiano Marinara, Fettuccine Alfredo, Breadsticks and Macaroni and Cheese. These delicious meals are easy to prepare and, with an extended shelf life, offer your family a convenient way to enjoy a hot comforting meal during an emergency or to fulfill your Italian food cravings whenever they may arise.  So, there’s a super volcano erupting, let’s make a pizza!

Trump has cancelled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.  Maybe I’m the only one but I’ve been highly suspicious of this whole summit to begin with and the sudden change in Kim Jong Un.  It wasn’t long ago that he was test launching missiles and name calling.  I’m not so sure we know the real story about what’s going on here.

I was dropping off a package at UPS last week at the Music City Center and saw that they were having the American Colon/Rectal Surgeons Convention there.  Talking about awkward.  I was only passing through but when I got on the escalator there was a banner which covered the entire side of the escalator advertising the “new” triple staple device.   Yeah, I got out of there real fast.

 

 

5 Tourist Things Not To Do In Nashville

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If you plan a trip to the Music City and looking for things to do here, there are many options if you are a Country Music fan.  Now that I have lived in the Music City for the past three years, let me give you some things NOT to waste your time on.  These are things that might come up on your Google searches but let me just keep you from wasting your time and money.

  1. Antique Archeology – This is the store from “American Pickers” television show.  I have seen people line up to get in this store only to leave frustrated and disappointed.  You won’t see Mike from the show, you won’t be able to buy any of the stuff you have seen on the show and you won’t be able to sell any of your junk to them either.   You can buy an expensive t-shirt or guitar pick.
  2. Trolley Tours – There are several to choose from and you will be tempted to do it but you can get to the places you want to go by other means.  Some of the stops aren’t anything most people would want to stop at.   Do you really want to stop at the Farmer’s Market or Vanderbilt University?
  3. Tour of Stars Homes – You will see some of the stars homes on these tours but not enough to make this worth your time.  For some of the homes you’ll be told “Look up yonder in the trees.  See the corner of that house up there?  That’s Keith and Nicole’s house.”   Forget going inside any of them, the tour is only drive-bys of the homes.  If you still want to do this, you need to choose “Tommy’s Nashville Tours”.   Tommy is very entertaining and has lots of stories you’ll want to hear.
  4. Horse Carriage Tours – Nashville is not the place to take one of these.  If you’re coming in the summer, definitely avoid it because it is too hot.  Lower Broadway, where all the honky tonks are, is not a good place to see by horse carriage.
  5. Country Music Hall of Fame – I know it seems odd to have this on the list but I do it for people who aren’t big Country Music fans.  Definitely go if you are but you’ll have more money in your pocket if you aren’t.

Even if you aren’t a fan of Country Music you can still have a good time in the Music City.  There are plenty of things to do and places to see around the area.  You’ll definitely hear music especially if you take a walk down Broadway.  The city is definitely alive.  What surprises many people is that there are other genres of music here other than country.  Bars and Honky Tonks are too many to list here but you can find the one for your specific tastes.   Nashville is growing fast.  One thing you will definitely notice downtown is the number of construction cranes in the city’s skyline.

Hopefully these tips will help you to make the most of you time in Nashville and singing a happy tune when you leave.

 

Nashville Is Hockey Tonkin’

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I just went to the Predators’ team store at Bridgestone Arena during my lunch break to purchase Western Conference Champion T-Shirts.  Sold out.   The store was packed.  I have been before during my lunch break and have been the only one in the store.  A television camera crew was outside interviewing random fans leaving the store.

The Music City is fully infected with Predators’ fever.

The Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks last night 6-3 to win the Western Conference title and advance to the Stanley Cup final against either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Ottawa Senators.  A sold-out, standing room crowd watched inside the arena and another 6,000 fans watched in a park near the arena.

It is exciting to be in a city that is excited about their sports team.  It doesn’t hurt to be a winning team and playing for a championship either.

The Nashville Predators sold out every home game for the first time this season which is a rarity and in addition to that, for a team that is mostly in a Southern market.    It’s hard to imagine now that just 10 years ago the Predators were close to being sold and moved to Hamilton, Ontario.  Fortunately, the team found local ownership and stayed in the city.   Hockey wasn’t really the first choice in the beginning.   A group was actually was trying to lure the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to move to Nashville.

So for the first time in their history, the Nashville Predators will be playing in the Stanley Cup final.  The only other time that a Nashville pro sports team played in a final was in 1999 when the Tennessee Titans played their first season in Nashville and lost in the Super Bowl to the St. Louis Rams 23-16.

It would be nice to watch the Stanley Cup final in person but the running price right now for a seat in the “nosebleed” section is currently $727.   Prime seats in the center ice, second row are going for $15,000.  Unbelievable.   More than likely I will be one of those in the park watching on the big screens with other fans not able afford or willing to pay those prices for tickets.

Hockey in Nashville?   Yep.  You wouldn’t think it would be a “thang” here.   Most people in the South only think of football, baseball and NASCAR.  What’s a hockey?  Why are they skatin’ on ice?

Yeah, it’s an amazing thing to witness here.  Somehow it works.  The capital of country music is now the capital of hockey.

Stanley Cup Final Schedule:

  •  Game 1 – Monday, May 29th:  Nashville at Pittsburgh or Ottawa
  • Game 2 – Wednesday, May 31st: Nashville at Pittsburgh or Ottawa
  • Game 3 – Saturday, June 3rd: Pittsburgh or Ottawa at Nashville
  • Game 4 – Monday, June 5th: Pittsburgh or Ottawa at Nashville
  • Game 5 – Thursday, June 8th:  Nashville at Pittsburgh or Ottawa (if necessary)
  • Game 6 – Sunday, June 11th:  Pittsburgh or Ottawa at Nashville (if necessary)
  • Game 7 – Wednesday, June 14th:  Nashville at Pittsburgh or Ottawa (if necessary)

 

#1 Way To Improve Nashville Traffic

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Since moving to Nashville in 2014, I have heard and read several things about the growth of Nashville and never ending complaints about the traffic.  There have been talks about the “25-year plan” and light rail as well as express buses.   Nashville already has a commuter rail called the Music City Star which I used when I first moved here and lived East of downtown.  Even with the convenience and ease of riding the Music City Star, the traffic for those who do not ride the train to/from that direction is still a pain.  When you travel from points east to downtown you have to deal with 24/40 split and 40/65 split.   Since there is no Interstate by-pass around Nashville, that means everyone has to go there.

So what’s the answer right now for improving Nashville’s traffic headaches?

More roads?   More buses?  Light Rail?

Nope.

The #1 way to improve Nashville traffic is for drivers to obey the traffic laws.   Every driver in Nashville should take a refresher course on traffic rules.  Here are some of the simple things that most Nashville driver’s need to do:

  • Stop At Red Lights – The most elementary rule in driving.  If the light is red you MUST stop!  If you think I’m exaggerating this problem, try driving on one of the streets where traffic exiting the Interstate has a traffic light.
  • Use Your Turn Signal – Unless we live in a city where everyone has ESP, it is a necessity to put yourself out and operate that device on the steering wheel that lets everyone know where you are going.
  • Get Off The Phone – Who are you talking to?  You are in the car and behind the wheel so DRIVE!
  • Be Patient – Gosh people don’t you think ALL of us are trying to get somewhere too?  Impatience is one of the big things Nashville drivers are lacking.

The main thing about driving is to simply do what you are supposed to do.  Simple.  Just obey the rules.  While this wouldn’t solve Nashville’s congestion issues it would make things flow a lot smoother if everyone would cooperate.   Somehow the Music City was deemed the “Friendliest City” in America last year.  I can’t imagine this was based on Nashville drivers.  Maybe they mistook that gesture for meaning they were Number One!

Here is my unofficial ranking of the worst commutes in Nashville:

  1. I-24  between Nashville-Murfreesboro
  2. I-65 between Nashville-Madison-Goodlettsville-Hendersonville
  3. I-65 between Nashville-Brentwood-Franklin
  4. I-40 between Nashville-Donelson-Hermitage
  5. Downtown-Hillsboro Road
  6. Downtown-Lebanon Pike
  7. Downtown-Gallatin Pike
  8. Lower Broadway (anytime)
  9. Downtown-Charlotte Pike
  10. Downtown-Belle Meade

When is rush hour in Nashville?  It seems to start around 2:30 p.m. and starts to thin out around 6:30 p.m. during the week.

Whenever and wherever you travel just remember to be patient and do what you are supposed to do.

Nashville Nightwatch Release 2017 Schedule

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The Nashville Nightwatch will be back for the 2017 season in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).   The Nightwatch will open their third season at Jacksonville then opens at home two weeks later against Atlanta.  The defending AUDL champions, Dallas Roughnecks, will come to Nashville on April 29th.  Here is the complete schedule (home games in bold):

  • April 1 – at Jacksonville
  • April 15 – Atlanta
  • April 23 – Jacksonville
  • April 29 – Dallas
  • May 6 – at Dallas
  • May 7 – at Austin
  • May 13 – at Atlanta
  • June 3 – Austin
  • June 10 – at Raleigh
  • June 18 – Raleigh
  • July 1 – Austin
  • July 8 – Raleigh
  • July 14 – at Atlanta
  • July 15 – at Jacksonville

The Nightwatch finished 3-11 last season to exceed their win total from 2015.  They closed out the season with an impressive 30-26 win over the Jacksonville Cannons.  They scored a franchise-high with 30 goals in the game.

If you have not attended a Nightwatch game and live in the Nashville area, please mark your calendar and at least try one game.  The sport is very exciting to watch and usually lots of scoring.  This could be a break-out year for the team.