Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Popeye Jones. …
- The Nashville Sports Council has held its annual Celebration of Champions event for 15 years. They honor area high school, college and professional athletes and coaches for being the best that particular year.
Having served on selection committees since its inception, I can say that this year's candidates were off the chart.
They have never had a homegrown Cy Young Award winner. This year they had not one, but two. R.A. Dickey was the National League with former Vanderbilt star David Price getting the American League winner.
The Goodlettsville Little League team won the United States Little League championship, the first team to ever do that from the Nashville area. They were voted the No. 1 Top 10 Moment in Nashville Sports Moments and also won the Community Spirit Award.
Having covered major sporting events for more than 35 years, the championship game was the singular most exciting game I have ever seen. Off the field, these young men conducted themselves with a maturity and poise beyond their years.
In the Sports Person of the Year category you had pro tennis player Brian Baker, whose comeback from multiple injuries and advancing into the main draw at Wimbledon and ranking 57th in the world after a seven-year absence was remarkable.
There was Dickey and Price. Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin, whose team won nine games for the first time since 1915. And pro golfer Brandt Snedeker had a career year on the PGA Tour, winning the Fed Ex Cup and the Tour Championship, as well as the Farmers Insurance Open. He was also named to his first Ryder Cup team.
Any other year, any of these candidates would have won in a landslide. Sports Council director Scott Ramsey said the voting was the tightest in the history of the event.
Cumberland University baseball coach Woody Hunt won the Fred Russell Lifetime Achievement Award, a choice that would have made Mr. Russell happy.
- Brandt Snedeker has been off the Tour for several weeks, sidelined by rib injuries. He recently went to Mayo Clinic for treatment.
Snedeker also moved to Williamson County recently. They purchased ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit's house. No worry, the Herbstreits are not moving out of town. Kirk has been spotted at a number of local athletic events.
- Well, that traveling ambassador Dennis Rodman pulled off a diplomatic coup when he watched a basketball game with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Rodman assured Americans that Kim was a great guy, and that he wanted President Obama to call him. "I don't want to do war,'' Rodman reported that Kim told him.
It wasn't but a couple of days later, that Kim warned that he was going to retaliate against America for participating in war exercises in South Korea. Kim nullified the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953.
Rodman's trip was panned around the world.
Some tweets you'll like: From actor Rob Lowe – "Poor infrastructure… But NOTHING says stuck hopelessly in the past more than being a Dennis Rodman fan.''
From Joy Behar: "Dennis Rodman was in North Korea playing diplomat with Kim Jong Un. I hear Gary Busey's now heading to Iran to smooth things over with Ahmadinejad.
- Among underclassman college football stars expected to take out an insurance policy in case they are injured to the extent they can no longer play football are Heisman winner Johnny "Football'' Manziel and South Carolina defensive end Jadaveon Clowney. Clowney is considered to be a shoo-in first pick of next year's NFL draft.
The NCAA allows athletes who show promise to be a professional to take out an insurance policy up to $5 million in case of catastrophic injury.
- What is the world coming to when former LSU and current Orlando Magic basketball star Glen "Big Baby'' Davis announced he is going vegan. No more steaks, burgers and fried alligator for Big Baby.
He suffered a broken ankle in January and had a screw inserted Feb. 1 to stabilize the joint. He is listed on the Magic roster as 6-8, 289 pounds. And Big Baby has been known to break the 300-pound barrier.
Pass a carrot stick, please.
- Mamas let your babies grow up to be athletic directors. Louisville is paying its AD, Tom Jurich, $1.41 million this year, topping all salaries in public universities.
Vanderbilt AD David Williams reportedly makes $3.24 million, leading all salaries for athletic directors.
- The rich get richer, or so it seems in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has had a pipeline of running backs in recent years. The Tide hosted Leonard Fournette this weekend. He is recognized as the top running back recruit in the country. He will play his final season in the fall at St. Augustine High in New Orleans.
Fournette was joined by St. Aug teammate and defensive back Jermaine Roberts.
Bama's backfield seems to be crowded, as T.J. Yeldon is returning and prep star Derrick Henry signed last month.
- Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples gave his personal top three most powerful men in college athletics.
No surprise that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive topped the list. He oversees the conference that has produced seven straight national champions in football and football is the straw that stirs the SEC waters.
Second is former OVC and current Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany while NCAA President Mark Emmert gets the silver medal from Staples.
- Recent whatever happened to subject Dyron Nix has been located by a reader. The former Tennessee basketball star was taken in the second round (29th overall) by the Charlotte Hornets and was traded to the Pacers.
After one year in the NBA, Nix took his game overseas for 10 years. His daughter, Cree, played basketball one year at Lipscomb before transferring to Illinois-Chicago where she graduated with a sociology degree.
- How many of us could do what Peyton Manning did recently? No, not throw touchdown passes in the NFL.
While Manning was on a USO Tour to visit with our servicemen and women in the Middle East, there was one base where he was signing autographs and posing for pictures.
Manning came face to face with a man he had been in the same kindergarten class with at Newman School in New Orleans. They had not seen each other since that time, but Peyton immediately recognized him and knew his name. He is now a Marine captain in Afghanistan.
Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.