KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee women’s basketball team took some time out of its schedule this week to spread some holiday cheer. The Lady Vols participated in the Big Red Bow Project party at Shannondale Health Care Center in Knoxville.
The Lady Vols were guest volunteers along with staff from Alzheimer’s Tennessee and B97.5’s Jeff Jarnigan, who donned a purple Santa suit, as gifts were delivered to residents of Shannondale. The delivery was one of several conducted for individuals living in facilities in Knox, Blount, Anderson and Loudon counties Wednesday, Dec. 19 through Friday, Dec. 21.
Lexus of Knoxville collected suggested donations from an Alzheimer’s Tennessee “Wish List” for individuals touched by Alzheimer’s and dementia. From November through mid-December, the community responded in a big way. New, donated gifts like CDs/DVDs featuring older music/movies, blankets, scarves, books, craft items and more were dropped off at the dealership and put under the purple “Memory Tree.”
The Lady Vols helped hand out some of those gifts.
“It will warm all of our hearts in the most meaningful way to give the gift of joy to some of our most fragile loved ones,” Alzheimer’s Tennessee Executive Dir. Janice Wade-Whitehead said. “Nobody should have to face Alzheimer’s or dementia alone, especially during the holidays.”
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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Senior forward Anthony Campbell, of the Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team, has been named the Copies in a Flash APSU Athlete of the Week.
Campbell averaged 19.7 points over the Govs last three games, including a career-high 25-point performance against Lipscomb, Dec. 18. He followed that with a 20-point night in a losing effort against Illinois State, hitting a season-high five three-pointers against the Redbirds. He was the only Gov in double figures at Illinois State.
The Edwardsville, Ill. native hit his 144th career three-pointer at Illinois State, which moved him past Rhet Wierzba (2000-03) and into eighth place all-time in Govs history.
The Copies in a Flash APSU Athlete of the Week is selected by the APSU Sports Information staff each Tuesday during the academic year. Copies in a Flash, of Clarksville, sponsors the award.
Other notable performances by Austin Peay athletes included:
Senior Leslie Martinez, of the women’s basketball team, scored 12 points and added eight rebounds and five assists in the Lady Govs 69-42 victory against Lipscomb, Friday.
Freshman Chris Horton, of the men’s basketball team, earned his fifth consecutive OVC Freshman of the Week honor after scoring 10 points and pulling down a career-high 13 rebounds at Arkansas State, Dec. 16. Over his last three games, Horton has averaged 7.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks.
It was sunny and clear, but Tennessee’s mistakes snowballed Sunday in Green Bay.
The Titans suffered a 55-7 loss to the NFC North champion Packers, but avoided the shutout when Jake Locker connected with Kenny Britt on consecutive pass plays late in the game.
Locker hit Britt for a gain of 39 and followed with a 2-yard touchdown with 1:39 remaining. The two plays were the only times that the second-year QB and first-year starter connected with the fourth-year receiver on six targets.
Locker finished 13-for-30 for 140 yards passing. His numbers improved in the second half, but they weren’t enough to overtake a first half in which he was 3-for-12 for 35 yards with two interceptions.
“Obviously we didn’t play very well at all today against a team that I thought we would play much better against,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “On the offensive side of the ball, we struggled, turned the ball over and missed plays that were there for us. We lost confidence in what we were doing because of having a lot of different guys playing due to injuries. We got behind early and we were forced to throw much more than we wanted to. You aren’t going to win many games when you go three-and-out the first three times and turn the ball over twice against a good football team at home.”
A costly missed opportunity occurred on the first play of the Titans’ second possession. Locker bought time and spotted rookie tight end Taylor Thompson open down the field, but the ball was underthrown. Thompson tried to come back to it and secured it with his hands, but the ball touched the ground.
Tennessee suffered a delay of game penalty before its next play, creating a second-and-15. Locker’s pass on that play was too high for Nate Washington, which created one of several third-and-long situations that hurt the Titans.
“It is never easy to lose, especially like this,” Locker said. “You just have to keep working and find ways to overcome it and get better. There are a bunch of things that you can point to today, but it just seemed like there were a lot of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on today.”
Green Bay outgained Tennessee 210 to 96 yards in the first half and 460 to 180 for the game. The Packers’ offense scored seven touchdowns and their defense recorded seven sacks of Locker.
Green Bay often blitzed against the Titans’ offensive line that has one remaining starter — left tackle Michael Roos — from training camp that hasn’t suffered a season-ending injury this year.
Tennessee’s offensive line had two players — left guard Mitch Petrus and right tackle Byron Stingily — make their first starts of the season. The Titans slid Fernando Velasco back to center after playing the past two games at left guard in place of Steve Hutchinson.
Petrus, who was claimed through waivers Dec. 5, played for the first time in a Titans uniform, and Stingily was a late addition to the lineup for Mike Otto, who replaced injured David Stewart on Dec. 2 but missed Sunday’s game because of illness.
“I don’t want to use (the changes) as an excuse, because we’re all pros,” Velasco said. “Our coaches did a good job of getting everybody reps, so that isn’t an excuse. We just have to execute.”
Tennessee’s first five possessions lasted just three plays each. The Titans failed to convert third-and-11, third and 15 and two third-and-21s in the first quarter. They trailed 14-0 before gaining their first first down on a 22-yard scramble by Locker, who had 32 yards rushing on four carries.
The Packers (11-4) claimed their home finale and won for the ninth time in 10 games. The Titans (5-10) finished their road schedule 2-6 and will close the 2012 season Sunday by hosting Jacksonville (2-13).
RUN GAME STRUGGLES: The Titans’ run game also struggled, netting 79 rush yards on 22 carries. Those numbers were impacted by seven rush plays that gained zero yards or lost yardage.
Chris Johnson left the game briefly in the second quarter after Packers linebacker Clay Matthews landed on him during a tackle. Jamie Harper relieved Johnson, taking reps the following series, and had runs of 13 and 9 yards, but that drive stalled at the Green Bay 31-yard line when Tennessee was unable to convert third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 while trailing 17-0 with more than 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Johnson finished with 28 yards on 11 carries, and Harper had 19 yards on six attempts.
Green Bay, meanwhile, rushed 35 times for 117 yards, including 80 yards and two touchdowns by Ryan Grant, and threw for 343 net passing yards. Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, completed 27 of 38 passes for 342 yards with three touchdowns and ran for the Packers’ first touchdown of the game.
MARTIN ADDS SACK: Titans rookie defensive tackle Mike Martin recorded his third sack of the season. Martin dropped Rodgers for a loss of eight to force a punt late in the first quarter, but it was Tennessee’s lone sack of the day as Rodgers’ mobility helped him avoid pressure and he used several three-step drops to quickly get rid of the ball in the second half.
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals will arrive at Spring Training with few position battles to sort out, a luxury that is the byproduct of minimal offseason turnover.
The second base situation, however, cannot be considered so settled.
With Skip Schumaker now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cardinals’ depth chart at the position has dwindled by one. Schumaker’s departure came four months after the Cardinals dealt Tyler Greene, meaning that only one of the three players who competed for the second base job last spring remains in the organization.
That would be Daniel Descalso, who is currently positioned as the favorite to win the starting second base job in 2013. However, neither manager Mike Matheny, nor general manager John Mozeliak has promised away the job just yet.
“As far as second base goes, we have some very viable candidates, and we just go give these guys opportunities without drawing up conclusions at the beginning,” Matheny said. “There are opportunities. We’re going to give opportunities to all the players and just see how the pieces come together.”
One of the biggest remaining variables is the Cardinals’ level of activity this offseason. Club officials have confirmed that the organization has looked into acquiring another middle infielder, one who could play second or spell Rafael Furcal at short. But Mozeliak has also cautioned against assuming that a major move is forthcoming, saying earlier this month that “we’re not spending as much time as people think in this market.”
Rather, the Cardinals are taking an opportunistic approach when considering a middle infield addition. The list of middle infielders still available on the free-agent market is mostly underwhelming, which leaves the trade market as the one avenue left if the Cardinals desire an impact player.
More likely, though, is that the Cardinals keep the battle internal.
Descalso will obviously be in the mix, as could Matt Carpenter, Pete Kozma, Ryan Jackson and even Kolten Wong. Those latter four have only a combined 78 innings of Major League experience at second base.
Carpenter may be the most interesting variable, as his level of comfort at the position won’t be entirely known until Spring Training. Sent home with the directive of putting in extensive work at second base this winter, Carpenter intends to arrive at Jupiter, Fla., days before the start of camp to prove that his work has been fruitful.
Of the daily work he’s done so far, Carpenter described it as “great.” He then added: “Obviously you can’t simulate a real game, but there’s definitely confidence built when you are working with something every day. There’s a comfort level being built.”
It could well come down to whether the Cardinals want to emphasize the bat or the glove in their selection of a second baseman. If the Cardinals prefer the sounder defensive option, Descalso would likely get the nod. Carpenter has more offensive potential and could be a key piece in the lineup.
Kozma played more second base in the Minors than Jackson, though both should get some time at the position this spring. Questions remain, though, about how either would fare in an everyday role over a full Major League season.
Then there’s Wong, the wild card of the bunch.
The potential of a former first-round Draft pick is seemingly higher than anyone else in this second base mix, but the timing might not yet be right for him to make a Major League impact early in the 2013 season. Wong, who spent all of 2012 in Double-A, is more likely to begin the season as the starting second baseman at Triple-A Memphis.
Should the Cardinals have a need at second base at midseason, don’t be surprised if Wong becomes a serious part of the discussion.
This second base situation sets up to mirror the multi-player competition that took place last Spring Training. But while that competition did not conclude with a definitive answer, the Cardinals would prefer one of these candidates to emerge the clear choice in 2013.
“It did turn into a revolving door at times [in 2012],” Matheny said. “Just what we’re looking for is for that position to be taken. We have talented guys on this club that can do it. It’s just a matter of putting them in position to where they can show what they can do and take advantage of the opportunity.”
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
ATLANTA — Dale Murphy understands that he will likely be disappointed when the next batch of Hall of Fame inductees is announced soon after the new year arrives. But as the holiday season approaches, he finds himself overwhelmed by the love and support shown by his children and the loyal fans who will forever view him as a Hall of Famer.
“It’s been like Christmas and Father’s Day times 100,” Murphy said from his Utah home. “It’s just an emotional and tender feeling of what the kids have put together in their efforts. They’ve just gone the extra mile for me. ‘Thanks’ does not sound like the adequate word.”
Other than Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones, there might not be another former Braves player who is more beloved than Murphy. Fans remember him as the two-time National League MVP, the iconic figure on those otherwise forgettable teams that were beamed into living rooms across the county on a nightly basis via TBS.
There was a time during the 1980s when it seemed Murphy was destined to one day be enshrined alongside baseball’s greats in Cooperstown. But the past 14 years have provided reason to believe that history will remember him as one of the greatest players to never be elected.
This year marks the 15th and final time that Murphy will be included on the Hall of Fame ballot. Players need to be included on 75 percent of the ballots to gain induction. Murphy has never received more than 23.2 percent of the votes, and that total came in 2000, his second year on the ballot.
“I thought I would get a higher percentage than I have over the years,” he said. “To be honest with you, that has been a little disappointing. But don’t misunderstand the word ‘disappointing.’ To be on the ballot and be considered and to have people be very supportive, that’s a tremendous feeling.”
Murphy’s spirit has been lifted over the past few weeks as his children campaigned for him to gain election to the Hall of Fame. His oldest son, Chad, wrote a compelling letter to the members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. His 25-year-old son, Tyler, started an online petition, 27-year-old Tyson showed his artistic talents with a cartoon tribute to his father.
The only daughter among Murphy’s eight children, 19-year-old Madison, penned an essay titled “My Dad Is a Super Hero” on the baseball blog hallofverygood.com.
“The kids know it’s been a little uncomfortable for me to toot my own horn,” Murphy said. “But I can’t say I’m not out there now being a little more aggressive with it. They’ve really motivated me to get out there and start talking.
“The response has been great. The kids have made me and [my wife], Nancy, proud. I’m just glad they inherited all of these good genes from their mom.”
There is certainly some irony in the fact that Murphy’s final year on the ballot comes the same year that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are on it for the first time.
While Bonds, Clemens and Sosa have become three of the most vilified players of the steroids era, Murphy has maintained his squeaky-clean image, dating back to when the Braves took him with the fifth selection in the 1974 First-Year Player Draft.
This has created some to wonder: If Bonds, Sosa and Clemens are punished for character issues by Hall of Fame voters, then should Murphy’s candidacy not be enhanced by the tremendous character he has continued to show during his retirement years?
Many fans will remember that Murphy won consecutive NL MVP Awards (1982-83), made seven All-Star appearances and earned five Gold Glove Awards. Along the way, he also received the Lou Gehrig Award (1985), the Roberto Clemente Award (1988) and the Bart Giamatti Service Award (1991). Sports Illustrated named him one of its Sportsmen of the Year in 1987, and the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame inducted him in 1995.
“I think one thing that has been beneficial has been the timing with the discussion — just to revisit careers, qualifications and the guidelines for voting,” he said. “It appears the guidelines for voting are much more than just statistically based or how long [a player’s] peak years lasted. All of those things are good. You’ve got to have the numbers, but maybe if the numbers are debatable, then overall, take away how guys handled their careers and the other things that maybe give them a boost to get in.”
Murphy compiled more total bases than anybody during the 1980s. Over that 10-year span, Mike Schmidt was the only player with more homers, and Eddie Murray was the only one with more RBIs. Both have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
In addition, Murphy led all Major League outfielders during the 1980s in home runs (308) and RBIs (929). He ranked second among outfielders during this span in hits (1,553) and extra-base hits (596).
But his candidacy has been hindered by his .265 lifetime batting average, which was damaged as he battled knee injuries late in his career. He hit .289 from 1982 to 1987, but just .238 from 1988 until the end of his career in 1993.
Logic indicates that Murphy will not receive the record-shattering increase in votes he would need to gain election to the Hall of Fame, but his children and the power of social media have provided the iconic figure at least some hope that this January will prove to be a little different from the previous 14.
“I think there are guys that I’m comparable to that are in,” Murphy said. “I think there are guys that I played in the same era with that should be in. I believe there is a spot there. It’s not a Hank Aaron spot or a Babe Ruth spot, but I think there’s a spot in there.”