Hurricanes, Hoppers, Tigers

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.