This Week In The Drome: Hits, Hats and Sex Houses
Ins vs Outs : In today's City Paper, the Weekly Obsession is about The Hill. I suppose technically it's called the General Admission Area, but to Hill People, it's The Hill. And it will always be The Hill.
As detailed in this great 2005 Scene piece by Kay West, for the first 40 years or so of the Iroquois Steeplechase, there were only two places to sit: in the boxes (for the horse set and the bluebloods) and on The Hill (the rest of us).
When the Iroquois became a charitable event, more seating and dining and partying options were added, and as West and I both note, where you sit says much about where in the strata of capital-S Society you belong.
Let me be clear, though — I'm not a class warrior generally and I'm hardly a populist (please note my repeated references to European history and my Latin puns). I don't think there's anything better about the people on The Hill, per se. Indeed, drunken louts are drunken louts whether they just got off-shift at the factory or if their last name is Acklen.
I do, however, find The Hill far more pleasing. On a sunny day on May's second Saturday, I'd rather be watching the ponies from a picnic blanket than watching my language in a box or craning my neck from the infield.
But every year, it seems, The Hill gets smaller (and a little more dear — it costs $15 for a spot in the grass now). And one day, it might shrink down to a few square feet, with hardly enough room to prop up a cooler.
Even eight years ago, West wrote of the Hill's demise:
But what has become of the Hill People? There is still an area set aside for them, between the far side of the boxes and the new location of the Stirrup Club, with tickets priced at $13 per person in advance, $15 on race day. Though hardly big enough for the thousands who once covered the hill with their blankets and coolers and picnic baskets, the option no longer draws the spectators it once did, the theory being that the Hill People are now the Infield People. While box holders will entertain out-of-town guests that night at home or dine out, infielders look more likely to segue to Hillsboro Village, the Demonbreun Street corridor or Second Avenue.
But you'll never find me in the Infield (or in a bar on Demonbreun, for that matter).
You'll find me on The Hill, where we all belong.
The Week Behind
Battles Fought by The Young(s): The winner of last night's Jays-Rays game was, of course, Kyle Farnsworth, who picked up the W after a 10th inning bases-loaded walk gave the Rays a 5-4 win..
The game was started by the reigning Cy Young Award winners — and Middle Tennessee native sons — R.A. Dickey and David Price.
Both have had meh seasons so far, but last night they were both good. Price went eight innings, scattering seven hits for two earned runs; Dickey went just six — throwing 110 knuckleballs while also giving up two earned on five hits.
Shortened Sweep: With still two weekends to play, Vandy clinched the SEC East baseball title by winning two games at South Carolina last weekend.
Like all SEC series, it was scheduled for three games, but lo did the rains come to Columbia. Vandy ran its record to a preposterous 41-6 with an incredible 21-2 SEC mark. South Carolina, by some measures, the second best team in the East is 13-10 in the conference, just for comparison.
From White Shoes to Sex House, A History of The Franchise's ... Johnsons : This story from Deadspin is more than a little bit complicated, but Chris Johnson's sex house is at the center of a shooting investigation in Orlando.
As Deadspin notes, there's nothing connecting Johnson or Mike Sims-Walker or anybody else to the shooting and all parties involved have been cooperative with police in the investigation.
A great paragraph from the Orlando Sentinel story the Deadspin piece pivots from:
Spall stressed that he was focused on solving the shooting case: "Nobody cares if Chris Johnson, Brandon ... whomever comes to your house to knock boots with a chick. ... Nobody cares if you had ... 500 pounds of prime weed in that house."
Cool. So Chris Johnson has a sex house. And he watches Lifetime Movies. Does he watch Lifetime Movies at the Sex House? We don't know. We do know he is hosting the grand opening of a strip club in Memphis with "over 50 girls in the room" and, really? CJ?, it's "MORE THAN 50 girls."
We can all learn an important lesson here: if you are a multigazillionaire super-talented professional athlete (or Mike Sims-Walker), do not let your buddy — whom you have hired as the manager of your sex house, a job he must include on future resumes — store weed at your sex house.
Science! : A study by Emory University confirmed everyone's suspicions: Vandy is the best SEC school at developing NFL talent.
"Vanderbilt by FAR had the worst rated incoming talent during this period, but they still doubled up Auburn in terms of their number of draft picks!"
The Week Ahead
Hats: This preview of the Iroquois doesn't explicitly mention that last winner's, Arcadius, won't be there to defend his title, because he died, but still it's a good overview of the action set for Saturday.
In any case, the favorites are likely Demonstrative and Divine Fortune. The former is more of a closer, while the latter likes to take an early lead and hang-on. The clash of styles should make for an interesting race.
Also keep an eye on: Slip Away, who twice finished second to the semi-legendary Tax Ruling.
Hits: If sitting out in the sun isn't enough for you, head to Municipal Auditorium for roller derby, which is a lot like steeplechase except without the horses, the jumping and members of the Ingram Family. Also, it's inside and not really like steeplechase at all except that the action happens in a circle. The Nashville Rollergirls take on a team from our nation's capital and we fully expect them to give 'em the boot.
And if you want to go back out into the sun, the Sounds take on Sacramento Saturday, which isn't terribly exciting, unless you are the kind of person who salivates over the Oakland A's farm system, but there is a local element as Vandy product Sonny "One So True" Gray is scheduled to take the mound for the visitors.
From The Inbox: Do you like soccer and starting things?
A couple of weeks ago, three people had an idea was had to try and make an amateur team since the Metros folded. Grant it, not semi-pro, but we knew that there were people with skill that wanted to play still. We put "a feeler" out on social media and through personal contacts. We got a great response, to my surprise, and we decided to brain storm. This is what we came up with....
Nashville FC. Simple and to the point. The logo is being done right now, if that's what you were wondering. We are going to use the city flag as a basis. Our motto, "Our Town, Our Club." Why you may ask. Because, we are going to try a member only ownership Which means for a membership fee (1-year, or lifetime), they will have a vote in what goes on within the club. Although, the one fall back is, most leagues require a majority owner. We think if we play some colleges and maybe get a win or two, we can play some friendlies in those leagues.
We are having our first meeting at Bar Louie this Monday at 7pm. We will present this to those who are interested in playing or being apart of the club. Hopefully, all goes well.
Oh I See It's May Again : I get it. I do radio now (Tuesdays at 6 on 102.5). Once there's no more hockey, it's a barren wasteland for local sports topics.
But every year, like a particularly ugly case of shingles, we fall backwards into the "WHAT SPORT SHOULD WE HAVE NEXT???" conversation.
The logic for these discussions is usually predicated on things like "We are a city and other cities have teams in baseball/basketball/soccer teams; ergo, we should too." Sometimes they have a faint whisper of logic — interest levels based on TV ratings, because we all know how much time, effort and money it takes to sit on the couch and turn on the Grizzlies game.
On the other hand, there are actual facts, like our collective capacity to spend the kind of money needed to support a third team. A capacity, once again, we do not have. Don't believe me? Ask Maury Brown, a guy paid to cover the business of baseball and who believes any relocation or expansion is unlikely in the sport and, even if it were, Nashville doesn't crack his Top 10 list. This is in a piece he wrote WHILE IN NASHVILLE for the Winter Meetings.
And if you still don't get it, visit the Music City Center, all $585 million-plus of it. That's where any future debt capacity to build a new sports facility has gone. "But basketball doesn't need a new facility!" you say. Fine, go ask the Sports Authority for a copy of the Predators' lease with the city at Bridgestone and show me the parts of it that an NBA team would be happy about. I'm sure they'll love giving their concessions revenue to the hockey team.
"Maybe they can build their own facility!"
While certainly pro sports teams should do this, they don't. And a team relocating is doing so because they didn't get a sweetheart deal from their old town, which means they'll be expecting a sweetheart deal from their new one.
Instead of figuring out ways to bring in a new pro sports team, focus on keeping the ones you've got. LP Field isn't getting any younger — and neither is Bud Adams.
Emails to jrlind[at]nashvillecitypaper[dot]com