Hurricanes, Hoppers, Tigers

Posted by Andy Durham on June 2, 2006 at 1:06 pm under High School, Professional | 17 Comments to Read

The Carolina Hurricanes will be playing for the NHL title and the Stanley Cup, called by some fans the Greatest Trophy in all of sports. The Grasshoppers our local team from Greensboro won game one on the road at Delmarva. Delmarva was supposed to the best team in our league so maybe the Hoppers are on to something. The Ragsdale Tigers will be playing for the State 3-A High School Baseball Championship this weekend at First Horizon Park. This is the best Ragsdale team since back in the days of Shorty Rickman who came out of Ragsdale and later played in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Rickman is the biggest baseball and Sports name to ever come out of Ragsdale.

There’s not a lot going on these days but the events that I listed above will be enough to keep most people busy over the next few days. Hopefully the Hoppers can keep it up on the road. It would be so satisfying to see them win a title and bring it back to Greesnboro. It would all ours because it would have our name, Greensboro on it.

Ragsdale will have to win the best 2 out of 3 games versus DH Conley to get that 3-A crown. The Tigers will have a great shot playing just about 8 miles from their home park in Jamestown. We will see if the Ghost of Shorty Rickman is flying around the stadium on Friday night. Rickman played his tail off when he got the chance unlike some other so-called Orioles we have seen. Former baseball front office man Buzzy Bavasi said Fred Lynn was the laziest baseball player he had ever seen. Bavasi ran the California Angels for Gene Autry, a true baseball man. Lynn was in Boston with the Red Sox, went to the west coast with the Angels and then returned east to join the Orioles.

“Fred Lynn was the laziest baseball player that I have ever seen”, “he was a dog”, said Bavasi, who was with the Dodgers organization for over 30 years in Brooklyn and LA, and Buzzy helped start the San Diego Padres MLB club. Lynn would play a full season every 2 years. He would play 80 games one season and then 80 more the next year. Lynn said his ankle hurt him but just about all the games he sat out would be when the opposition had a left-handed pitcher going that day. “I better sit this out today, my ankle just does not feel right”, Lynn would say as another lefty took the mound. Lynn never failed to show when it was time to collect his paychecks and continue to collect on his 1.8 million per year salary.

Shorty Rickman was not a lazy man and the former Ragsdale Tiger bears a striking resemblence to today’s current Ragsdale star Trevor Mullins. Both men had a mustache and could grow a full beard when they were in the 8th grade. The same could be said for former Ragsdale player Gator Lankford, but I believe Gator got a jump start on Rickman and Mullins and had his beard going when he was in the 7th grade.

Rickman was a Ragsdale great from the past but how many of you remember Shorty? He went up the ladder with Baltimore Orioles pretty quickly and I don’t recall how much time he got in Earl Weaver’s system but I remember Weaver telling me in later years that Rickman was what some of you people call today a “stud”. I knew Weaver back when he was doing Monday Night Baseball with Jimmy Palmer and Al Michaels. I also knew Earl Bennett who said he watched MNB and his wife was a seamstress so you know what, I have known just about everybody at one time or another. I can walk down the street and all these people just start yelling, at times I really don’t know what is going on.

The big question this week is do you know Hockey? Are you super- pumped up that the Hurricanes are going for the Stanley Cup again? It’s good for them but does it directly effect us? How do you see this potential Championship playing out here in Basketball Country.

1) Are you a diehard Canes fan, why, and how did it happen to you, and do you live and die HOCKEY?
2) How can you follow a game that we don’t play here in North Carolina?
3) Who is the Michael Jordan of HOCKEY and better yet the MJ of the Hurricanes? (I haven’t seen kids running around with HOCKEY shirts and HOCKEY players names on HOCKEY Jerseys.
4) Do you just say that it’s a good thing the CANES are playing so well, but in reality you probably won’t be going to Raleigh for the Parade?
5) Will you watch some of the action on TV but switch channels if a NASCAR Race or the Braves come on?
6) Will you completely ignore the HOCKEY Craze and go Fishing with your neighbor?
7) Are you tired of the Anti-HOCKEY Fans that make our state look like a bunch of uneducated Red-Necks?
8) If you had to drop the NFL, College Football, and College Hoops and be a HOCKEY-only Addict could you do it?
9) Do you think HOCKEY will ever become the official Sport of our State?
10) To be a lifer in a Sport you have to have played the Sport and followed the Sport your entire life and still be playing any chance you can and not just sit back and watch all the games on your TV set. Are you a lifer, have you played it, are you playing it in your head at night while you are asleep,(You can’t really live the sport until you’ve played it and are still playing it today, that’s the true love of a sport and not just the talk, you have to walk the walk to talk the talk and the problem is we don’t play HOCKEY around here even on a recreational level) and finally are you living it today? Prove all of this to me and I will give a contract for life in the World of HOCKEY.

That’s 10 Questions you can chew on for a while and spit it all out when you take it to the bank. It shocks me how much I know about all these Sports and I don’t even watch Television. I own a TV but I”m too busy out playing ball, because I am a Lifer and I need to keep training if I’m going to keep busting everybody’s chops. Hope you have a good weekend and good luck to all your teams and be careful if you dare to go outside and get some exercise with the lifers, because it hot out here and I’m not sure that any of the readers here can handle the heat. You have to be tough to make it on the outside where the true Sports People are headed.


  • Greg Johnson said,

    I bet you do not even know Johnny Weaver, and you probably could not even find Bennett College, as far as wachting the Canes I will be looking at Andy Griffith Show marathon all week, Barney does not know hockey.

  • Sassy Lassie said,

    In regards to a couple of your questions.
    2) How can you follow a game that we don’t play here in North Carolina?

    It might interest you to know (but I doubt it) that there is quite a bit of hockey played here in NC by all ages. There are a number of kids leagues and men’s leagues as well as some college leagues. Then you have the pros such as the Charlotte Checkers, the minor league team for the New York Rangers. The Checkers are a championship winning team and this past season drew 210,000 to watch them play. There are many in Greensboro who come down to watch some hockey and would love to see it back in Greensboro.

    3) Who is the Michael Jordan of HOCKEY and better yet the MJ of the Hurricanes? (I haven’t seen kids running around with HOCKEY shirts and HOCKEY players names on HOCKEY Jerseys.

    Hockey has several “Michael Jordan’s” because it takes a team to play and win the game. I could name you several but none of the names would mean anything to you.

    9) Do you think HOCKEY will ever become the official Sport of our State?

    No and neither will football, baseball, soccor, or any other sport and it’s not trying to be. But there are enough people in this state to support all of these so don’t be so snobbish.

    10) To be a lifer in a Sport you have to have played the Sport and followed the Sport your entire life and still be playing any chance you can and not just sit back and watch all the games on your TV set. Are you a lifer, have you played it, are you playing it in your head at night while you are asleep,(You can’t really live the sport until you’ve played it and are still playing it today, that’s the true love of a sport and not just the talk, you have to walk the walk to talk the talk

    You have got to be kidding.

    (10 cont.)and the problem is we don’t play HOCKEY around here even on a recreational level) and finally are you living it today? Prove all of this to me and I will give a contract for life in the World of HOCKEY.

    You need to get off of your high horse.

  • HockeyNut said,

    The above questions is exactly why I will never live in Greensboro again. I lived there all my life until 14 years ago. Greensboro is much to conservative to support any professional team for very long. I was a long time Greensboro Generals/Greensboro Monarchs season ticket holder. I now live in Atlanta Ga where professional sports is not only supported but appreciated and I for one WILL be watching and rooting for the Canes since the Thrashers are not in contention for the cup. I totally agree with Sassy Lassie… GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE!!!

  • Doug said,

    Greensboro is fully capable of supporting a professional team, as long as it is a real sport! Just come out to a Hoppers game if you don’t believe me. They have been among the leaders nationwide for attendance in 1-a ball all year as well as last year. I don’t know that I agree with everything in the article, but I do agree that people need to get off there butt and play these sports they claim to love so much! I love to watch sports, but I think I would rather go out and play some football then sit on my couch and watch the Super Bowl most years! I’m not sure who the “MJ” of Hockey is, but I believe the Lebron would have to go to that Crosby guy. I think his first name is Bing. It’s hard to get into hockey when you have to turn the channel to the OLN! It’s not outdoors, and it has very little to do with life. I just can’t get into hockey like i could before the strike. These hockey bums should have taken their pay-cut and realized they were lucky to be considered 4th, behind Football, Basketball, and Baseball. Instead they sat around for a year watching real sports on TV, and ended up not even being considered a sport and having to play on OLN!

  • Sassy Lassie said,

    Doug, I’m just curious, what makes a sport “real” for you? Are football, basketball, and baseball the only ones that qualify?

  • kimmer said,

    1) Are you a diehard Canes fan, why, and how did it happen to you, and do you live and die HOCKEY?
    Yes. Because I’ve been around hockey all my life(born and raised in charlotte *gasp*) and Yes.
    2) How can you follow a game that we don’t play here in North Carolina?
    Ummm Newsflash for ya bigfella…we do. Even girls play hockey. *Gasp*
    3) Who is the Michael Jordan of HOCKEY and better yet the MJ of the Hurricanes? (I haven’t seen kids running around with HOCKEY shirts and HOCKEY players names on HOCKEY Jerseys.
    If you haven’t seen any kids running around wearing this stuff, thats because you have your head stuck up your arse. I suggest you make a call to THE EYE in Raleigh and ask about sales of youth hockey shirts and jerseys. Duh.
    4) Do you just say that it’s a good thing the CANES are playing so well, but in reality you probably won’t be going to Raleigh for the Parade?
    I drive 3 hours to see a game, I’ll damn sure drive 3 hours for the parade. Good thing you and Doug won’t be there, that two less BIG HEADS that won’t be in my way.
    5) Will you watch some of the action on TV but switch channels if a NASCAR Race or the Braves come on?
    Who are the Braves again? And no…I wouldn’t change the channel even if Dale Earnhardts ghost appeared before me and asked me to. He’d be a hockey fan by the end of the night, I’d see to it.
    6) Will you completely ignore the HOCKEY Craze and go Fishing with your neighbor?
    Funny, but my neighbors are all hockey fans too.
    7) Are you tired of the Anti-HOCKEY Fans that make our state look like a bunch of uneducated Red-Necks?
    It’s not their fault and they can’t help it.
    8) If you had to drop the NFL, College Football, and College Hoops and be a HOCKEY-only Addict could you do it?
    Already did that years ago. Dropped nascar too.
    9) Do you think HOCKEY will ever become the official Sport of our State?
    Nope. It’s got no chance, but I will say ya never know what might happen with the way people around here like to jump on the winning bandwagon.
    10) Are you a lifer, have you played it?
    Now I could argue with you about this one all day long, yet it would do me no good. Just like nothing anyone here says, it won’t mean anything to you. Just make you laugh and roll your eyes. You said these things to get people riled up and to get some attention and I say good for you, cause I’m pretty good at doing that myself. So here is the reason I replied. When you get all tired and hot out there playing your little “game”….come on inside where the air is crisp and refreshingly cold. Strap on some skates (if you can skate ballboy) and we’ll welcome you for a pick up game. Oh you might wanna strap on a cup too…you’ll need it to preserve what little bit of manhood you’ll have left.

  • Michael Bondurant said,

    It might interest the rest of the hockey nuts out there that there is a current NHL’er who briefly called Greensboro (yes, Greeensboro) his home. To boot, he is one of the better defensemen to ever play the game. HIs name is Teppo Numminen (one of those names that will mean nothing to the hockey basher who wrote this column).

    I know this to be true because I had the good fortune to play alongside Teppo (we called him Tippy—–forgive us, we were kids). We knew even then how good this kid was going to be. His mother was a world class figure skater and his dad was the coach for the Finland Olympic hockey team that the USA beat for the gold medal back in 1980 at a little place called Lake Placid, NY. I would suggest the writer rent the movie “Miracle” for reference.

    As for the Canes, since they have been in Raleigh, this is their second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

    And as the others have said Mr. Column Writer, get off your high horse and get your facts straight before you speak in the future.

  • Marshall Brown said,

    I’m just curious “Sassy”. Are you on this website 24-7? Anyway, I would like to quote the greastest stand up comic ever (George Carlin) about hockey. “Hockey is not a sport because it isn’t played with a ball. Anything that isn’t played with a ball can’t be a sport. What is a puck anyway? Have you ever heard of a puck outside of Hockey? You know the only place you find a puck outside of Hockey? Inside the urinal of a men’s bathroom to control the smell! Any game where the main focus is something out of a urinal defintly can’t be a sport! Hockey is simply three activities taking place at the same time. Playing with a puck, skating, and beating the $%^& out of somebody. If these guys had any sence they would do these things one at a time. The day would last much longer and they would get much more enjoyment from it.” I say stay on your high horse Andy, even if he breaks his leg you could still be a millionaire from the stud fees!

  • Downinfront101 said,

    Check this out. For all of you idiots that know nothing about what you are talking about thanks for giving me a smile. I love to hear you goofballs talk about something you know nothing about. Hockey has been around here for a long time. I have played since I was 8. So I guess that makes me a “lifer” whatever that crap is. All of you that say it isnt a sport I would like to cordially invite you to step on the ice with me and go into the corner for a puck full speed one time. Dont question these guys who play for 1/3 of what ur precious baseball and basketball monkeys play for. Some sports still have heart so like you said dont cheer if u havent played? Dont criticise if you havent palyed either. My 2 cents. And if any of you want tot ake me up on that offer of stepping on the ice with me come to checkersfan.com and let me know.

  • Andy D said,

    Mr. Ed Hardin said in Sunday’s N@R that the Stanley Cup was on display in Durham, N.C. four years ago and nobody to came to see it, not one person. We are putting out the facts here at greensborosports.com and Mr. Hardin was doing the same. Hockey may grow in our area over the next 100 years but there will have be local involvement somewhere down the road, there are no Tar Heels on the Canes squad, they are all outsiders. We need local action, those of you who have weighed in on this topic you have taken the first step by reacting, but you still have not paid your dues. You have to Pay Your Dues. The guy from Charlotte that says he’s been on the ice since age 8, he is making a statement but that is just one example. If you live in Charlotte then run all this by John Kilgo and C. Jemelle Horton and and let’s see what they have to say. Mike B., I believe that I once read that you WERE from Greensboro. I also remember reading about a man by the name of Henry B. that was a local coach in the Guilford College community years ago. He did much for the local neighborhood but he could not hold a candle to what we are trying to here at this website.. Stay with us and all of you will be in for a wonderful ride at greensborosports.com…. Thanks for responding and keep it up and don’t let my approach cause you any harm to you or your family. Sometimes Major Sports People like me have to put it out there stong and thick to get our point across for those of you that are not down in the trenches.

  • Mac said,

    Do not question the popularity of hockey in North Carolina until you go witness a game at the RBC Center in Raleigh. The fans there are some of the best hockey fans in the U.S. and they will live and die by their team the Hurricanes.

    How can you say that hockey is not a sport? The athletes that play this game are some of the most skilled and conditioned athletes of any sport. There is apparently a lot more to hockey then you hockey bashers realize.

    I have been a fan of the Charlotte Checkers minor league hockey team and the Carolina Hurricanes for years now, and I’d much rather see a hockey game at the highest level than any of those other “real sports”.

    Open your eyes and get off your horse.

  • Marshall Brown said,

    I love to see how people get so worked up if you say something is not a “sport”. If you think about it, everything is nothing more then a game. Just different levels of physical activity. If you enjoy playing it or watching it, that is all that matters. I don’t think you could find anyone who would seriously sit here and say that hockey is not a sport, but the fact of the matter is that we would not even be talking about it if our team wasn’t in the finals. There will always be some diehard hockey fans just like any other game/sport and I think that is great. Lets face the facts, for the most part hockey is boring and no one cares about it or understands it. And they probably never will. Of course it is big right now because we have a great team and we are in the Stanley Cup Finals, but if we didn’t make the playoffs for several years it would just dry up like everything else in NC. I know it hurts to hear, but the truth will set you free. That is why they make 1/3 the salary and have to play on Outdoor Life Network, because no one wants to watch hockey! It is so funny to hear people around town all talking about how great the canes are, but I didn’t hear one word about them during the season!

  • Doug said,

    Hello folks, this is Doug C. (not affiliated with the previous Doug poster), staff contributor here at GreensboroSports.com. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly state that I do not agree with the sentiments of the above article and the opinions stated within are that of our site’s managing editor but not our staff as a whole. I am sure that those of you who are familiar with my work, both on the airwaves and in the pages of numerous area media outlets, know that I am known for being both accurate and fair. I have been a supporter of the Carolina Hurricanes since they came to North Carolina from Hartford in 1997. This is a franchise that has experienced many ups and downs since relocating to the Tar Heel State. As most of you remember, the Canes first two years were spent right here in the Gate City. I was there for many of them. I was one of the few that were. Many so called “hockey fans” stayed home because the Canes’ “ran the AHL Monarchs out of town”. Many of these same “fans” chose not to attend AHL Monarchs games because they “ran the ECHL Monarchs out of town”. That should have been a red flag that hockey, real hockey, has a long way to go to catch on in this area. Those who supported the ECHL were not “true hockey fans” rather they were fans of a beer and brawl league full of has-beens and never-weres. If that’s your idea of hockey, save your money and don’t buy tickets to this upcoming weeks Stanley Cup Games in Raleigh. You will be disappointed. The NHL is for real fans. Fans like me, who have followed the NHL since they were small. Let me repeat, fans of the N-H-L not the ECHL. Fans like myself and Bruce “the Bull” Bullington (GreensboroHockey.com) were there, camping outside the Greensboro Coliseum for Playoff Tickets while other were home dreaming of the night that an on ice brawl at a Monarch’s game spilled into the drunken crowd. Real fans like us don’t want you on the bandwagon. We don’t care what recreation hockey league you have played in or how many ECHL games you have been to. Just because you can write your name, doesn’t mean you should enter the National Spelling Bee. Unless of course you like getting your butt kicked by a 13 year old girl. If that your hat, more power to you. Back to matter at hand…..In about two weeks, when the Canes hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, we, the true fans, will take a well deserved drink of the sweet nectar of Championship Success. For the rest of the hockey bashers and hockey wanna-bes out there, stay away from our championship bandwagon. There is only room for the true fans. Hockey has been successful in the past because of people like me and my Canadian brothers, who live this game. Thanks for coming to GreensboroSports.com. We appreciate you stopping by and hope you have learned a lot, both about sports and yourself, during your visit. Please come back again soon.

  • kimmer said,

    Oh look!!! Marshall Brown CAN use his own words!!! Way to go MB!

    Marshall I’m really sorry you can’t understand the game dear…tell ya what. Why don’t you email me and I’ll set you up with my Grandmother..she teaches kids with learning disabilites. I’m sure she could help you grasp the basics. Or maybe not…

  • Marshall Brown said,

    I’m not one to beat a dead horse (I’m not sure if he is Andy’s or not), but I just couldn’t resist after reading that the Women’s College Softball World Series beat game one of the Stanley Cup Finals in ratings nationwide! Even I didn’t think it was THAT bad…

  • Michael Bondurant said,

    How dare you compare your little blog and its opinions to a man (who happens to be my father) who has put in over 60 years of his life to making his community and its youth better through establishing a first class volunteer fire department to the Boy Scouts to coaching all of the major sports at the youth level and/or collegiate level at one time or another since long before I was born.

    I defy you to find somebody who has done more for youth sports in Greensboro than my father. You didn’t care for him or others like him because we lived in the little community of Guilford College. To be quite honest, I preferred it that way.

    He only retired from active coaching a year or two ago because he is physically not able to do it anymore and he had “paid his dues”, and then some. I’d like to see you out there hitting fungoes and taking roll blocks from young kids when you’re over 75 years old. He did all of that and then some with class and dignity and sportmanship.

    Happy Father’s Day a week early, Dad.

    All I see that you are trying to do here is spread gossip, innuendo, and personal opinion. You have every right to do that, but call it like it is.

  • Michael Bondurant said,

    Oh, one other thing. Ragsdale is located in Jamestown, not Greensboro.