Whoa Nelly!

Whoa Nelly! An expression used initially to slow down a horse. In the past millennium it was used by the sports announcer Keith Jackson as momentum, patterns, or ideas changed in the course of a game. It still works today over longer periods of time…
…Remember throughout almost all of the hockey off-season in the Lou was that there was rampant talk of the Blues making available in the draft and/or trading Vladimir Tarasenko. Many thought that his salary didn’t match his pay scale or that he had “lost” a little something. They seemed to want him “gone” – 1 way or the other. However, Vlady’s play this year has said a loud “Whoa Nelly” to those doubters. He’s posted 62 points (1 behind the team leader). He’s tied for the team lead in goals and is 3rd in assists for the 21-22 season. He’s often been on the line with the speedy Robert Thomas & Justin Kyrou. He seems much more comfortable playing at that “breakaway” speed than in the slow-down, set it up format.
…on the other hand….when Craig Berube was hired by the Blues. It almost seemed like a “hold me until you get the coach your REALLY want” type move. The Blues fandom wasn’t exactly thrilled with the hire in Nov 2018. But…WHOA NELLY! Berube is direct, demands maximum effort, production in EVERY game-no excuses. Armstrong told NHL.com that Berube doesn’t look at these players as human beings, just adult hockey players. In a nutshell, he doesn’t baby them or wipe their a¬¬_ _ every time something doesn’t fall into place. He tells them to man up and get with the program. He demands production…if you don’t, you sit. In 2019 when a struggling Pat Maroon had to be scratched, it happened. When Robby Fabbri had to be benched, it happened. When Alex Steen had to go to the fourth line, it happened. When Jake Allen couldn’t cut it, he was a back-up right then and there. No BS. No waiting. This year Jordan Binnington’s play slipped, Ville Husso got into the nets That’s the Berube way. That’s how “The Chief” does it. Produce or sit! Thank goodness. Let’s show him a little luv. Further, his hockey concepts don’t just skate down the same ice as other current coaches. His all-out forechecking scheme in 2019 led to the 1st ever Cup in the Lou. They bottled up opponents, wore them out as they stretched their time on the ice each shift. Usually, their play faded over the time of the game as the Blues charged ahead.
…With Max Scherzer’s name popping up all winter as part of the MLBPA committee, some have talked that he’s the best “ever” from St. Louis. He certainly is a very, very good pitcher—no doubt about it. He’s only 1 of 18 pitchers in MLB history to beat all 30 teams. His career numbers are sparkling—191-97, 3.16 lifetime ERA and with his next start, he’ll have 400 career starts. But “WHOA Nelly” on the “best” MLB St Louisian ever. From my view, Yogi Berra is the best ever. Of course, we all know of the “Yogi’isms” that seem to make him appear to be dull and diminish his value. But…he played 18 years for the NYY. His lifetime batting average in 19 years was .285 with 358 home runs. To give you an idea of how many HR that is…he’d be #3 in Cards all-time HR hitters behind Stan & Albert! His lifetime OPS was .830. He was an All-Star 15 straight years! This was as an every-day catcher!! In case you’re wondering…the Lou area still is sending players to the MLB. Currently StL area MLB players are: Cody Asche, Ross Detwiler, Neal Cotts, Jake Burger, Luke Voit, Tommy Layne, Jake Odorizzi, Devin Williams, David Phelps, Max Scherzer, Jacob Turner, Scott Van Slyke, Matt Vierling, Nick Allgeyer, Jake Brentz.
….RedBird Country went crazy last year over the Nolan Arenado heist from Colorado. Rightfully so.. he’s a phenomenal batter & an unbelievable, flashy fielder. STL went crazy for him as our “superstar”. But, WHOA NELLY, Paul Goldschmidt belongs in that same class. Obtained just a year earlier, Goldy seems to be extremely shy about “promoting” himself. Compare the two…Goldy does have 12 years but Arenado had 8 years in HR Heaven-Colorado. I’m not saying that Goldy is better but that the two sluggers are very, very comparable. These are lifetime numbers—AVG: Arenado .289; Goldy .293; OPS- Goldy .911 Arenado .882; RBI: Arenado- 87/year Goldy 77/year. This is NOT to denigrate Arenado but rather to say that we have TWO Very Good, comparable Stars on the Cards.
…Eli Drinkwitz has assembled a terrific recruiting class for MU this spring. His class is rated #16 in the country! This has led to hopes & speculation that Mizzou will jump into the Top 10 (not of the SEC but of the USA!) WHOA NELLY on those extremely high hopes. Bringing in very talented athletes is probably the greatest challenge for each NCAA coach. You can’t coach speed, reflexes, athleticism. Great job for the MU staff! But…coaching is also vital for success. I’m uncomfortable with the huge turnover in coaches @ MU. Only 5 of the original 10 assistants from his hiring in 2020 remain in the program. Further, he’s on his 3rd defensive coordinator in 3 years. Some change is good…stability is usually better! My “gut” tells me that Coach Drink isn’t long for MU. Either he can’t climb much over .500 in the SEC and is pushed out. Or, he’s successful and moves onward & upward in the SEC.
….Experience vs Age is a question that all colleges/high schools face each year. Which is more relevant? Simply put, if an ol’ guy doesn’t win….he’s farmed out. The thought is that the “game” has passed him by or he’s “lost” his fastball in recruiting, game-planning, etc. WHO NELLY! That definitely is true some ..maybe most…of the time. But…not ALWAYS. The leader of the longest dynasty in NCAA-D1 football will turn 71 years of age in October 2022. Yes…its Nick Saban. At 68 years of age is-Kirk Farentz of Iowa. In his 1st 2 years @ Iowa(1999,2000), the club went 1-10 & 3-9. In his last 9 years, the Hawkeyes have gone 78-36 with a bowl game 8 of the 9 years.
…Well…. It’s a WHO NELLY for me now on this blog! If you want to read the thoughts of other readers, go to Bob Ryan Facebook. They are fascinating! Want more of Bob Ryan, go to http://www.bobryansportsblog.com. Thanks for spreading the word…1×1…I appreciate it. Thanks for the time & the read Bob

One thought on “Whoa Nelly!

  1. I agree with your comments about Paul Goldschmidt! I was excited when he arrived here in St. Louis; he is a reliable bat, and after his last Gold Glove win in 2017, he stepped up his defense last year, adding his fourth Gold Glove to his trophy case in 2021. A current superstar for the Cardinals indeed.

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