Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Lester Hayes. …
LETS PLAY TWO: A true legend died Friday. Not only was baseball’s Ernie Banks a legend, he was the epitome of a professional athlete in every sense of the word.
Today’s pro athletes should strive to be the gentleman Ernie Banks was. I would run out of adjectives trying to count his attributes, not only as a baseball Hall of Famer, but also as a man.
Humble would be at, or near, the top of the list. Mr. Cub not only represented the Chicago Cubs organization and the city from his playing days to his death, he represented how one should live their lives no matter what line of work they chose.
I found it ironic that 24 hours after Nashville’s Old Timers Baseball Association held its 77th annual banquet, that one of the sport’s finest ambassadors passed.
Approximately 600 people made it the most memorable banquet of any I have attended since 1980. Somewhere the late Jim Turner, a Middle Tennessee treasure who played and coached in the Yankees organization for decades, is smiling.
It was also appropriate that on the eve of Ernie Banks’ death, retired Atlanta Braves star Dale Murphy was the guest speaker. He, too, carried a deep passion for the game he played. A main part of the program was devoted to young baseball players, who represent Nashville in a number of national tournaments. They also recognized two of the best college coaches in the game in Cumberland’s Woody Hunt and Vanderbilt’s Tim Corbin, who won NAIA and NCAA national championships, respectively.
Congratulations to Old Timers President Bart Leathers and the Board of Directors.
It was a banquet Ernie Banks would have appreciated. RIP Let’s Play Two.
I’M DEFLATED: Raise your hand if you are sick and tired of hearing about Deflategate?
Well, fasten your seatbelt because there is another week of it in front of us. It’s almost like we have forgotten there is a Super Bowl Sunday. We have to get to the bottom of how all but one of the footballs used by the New England Patriots in their 45-7 mauling of the Colts were tampered with to give an advantage to the Pats.
This is the best solution I have heard among the millions flooding the airways and the Twitter world. Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who by all accounts is an honorable man, should have eye-ball meetings with Coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, every member of the equipment staff and read them the riot act until someone ‘fesses up. Those footballs didn’t lose PSI by themselves. Someone knows what happened. I think Kraft has the respect and power to find out, so the rest of America can enjoy what should be a great Super Bowl. In the off-season the Competition Committee needs to take a close look at the current procedures as it pertains to the footballs used in games and ensure that every team is playing by the same rules.
There’s enough pressure in trying to win NFL games without worrying if the other team’s game balls have the correct air pressure.
THE GOLDEN RULE: Former Pope John Paul II and Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate Jr. has posted an interesting piece on his website.
He gives his side of the stories that have been written on him, social media gibberish, talking heads and dealing with fans.
Tate was a second round pick by Seattle in the 2010 draft and played four seasons before signing as a free agent in Detroit last season.
The Lions lost to Dallas in a Wild Card game.
Tate’s message is that he is often judged by people who really don’t know him and therefore are not able to portray who he is. He says he had a good relationship with many of his Seattle teammates. He vehemently denied having an affair with quarterback Russell Wilson’s wife.
“This is laughable for anyone who knows us. His ex-wife Ashton, is still best friends with my girlfriend. Russell and I were good friends when I was in Seattle, on and off the field. He knows the rumors about me were unfounded,’’ Tate wrote.
He also denied being punched by former Seattle teammate Percy Harvin during last year’s Super Bowl week. He admits they had a confrontation, but no punches were ever thrown.
Tate said the false rumors served to open his eyes and “sensitize me to what I read or hear in the media.’’
Granted, a lot of pure junk can be found on Twitter, where posters don’t have to use their real names or verify what they write on there. But then it’s the world we live in now. I personally don’t have enough time to spend on it. Talk radio hosts spend way too much time talking about what’s on Twitter and too little time on what is really happening in the real world.
2015 SEC Hoops Legends: The latest class of SEC basketball legends has been released. They will be honored at this year’s SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena.
Familiar names included former Vanderbilt star Bruce Elder, Tennessee’s point guard Johnny Darden, and C.M. Newton, who played at Kentucky, coached at Alabama and Vanderbilt. He is going in for his time at Alabama.
Elder was co-captain of the 1993 Vandy team and an All-SEC player for former coach Eddie Fogler. He scored 1,086 points in his career.
Darden is from Springfield and played at UT from 1975-79. The point guard led the Vols in assists all four years and left with a school record 715 assists. He played under the late Ray Mears and Don DeVoe.
The 1977 Vols won the SEC title and the 1979 team won the SEC Tournament.
Others include Kentucky’s Bob Burrow, whose son Brett, played for Vanderbilt and Georgia’s Jacky Dorsey.
BYRD BAGS WIN 700: Congratulations to Belmont Coach Rick Byrd, who nailed his 700th career win by beating Austin Peay last week in an OVC road game.
Byrd is one of the best coaches in college basketball. He found his niche at Belmont and never seriously considered going anywhere. His teams have made the NCAA Tournament six times since joining the NCAA.
He was offered the Vanderbilt women’s job years ago, but turned it down. His 1994-95 Belmont team went 37-2, losing only to Western Kentucky and Old Dominion. Western beat Michigan in the NCAA Tournament and Birmingham Southern, who made the NAIA Final Four.
They beat city rival Lipscomb three times and averaged 99 points a game that season. They scored more than 100 points in 20 games.
At least two players on that team became coaches. Casey Alexander, the current Lipscomb head coach and longtime assistant to Byrd at Belmont, was the point guard. Kerry West, a homegrown 3-point shooter, is head coach at Hendersonville High.
Brentwood Academy football-basketball star Al Allen, became center for that Bruins team and was an outstanding rebounder.
DaQuinn Goff remains one of Belmont’s all-time leading scorers.
Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.