Hem and haw…few things excite in off-season

Published 5:38 pm Thursday, July 16, 2009

Normally when I write one of my rant and rave columns, discussing multiple topics that have caught my attention recently, it’s because there is a lot going on in the world of sports and I am having a hard time choosing just one subject with which to write about.

This week’s column however is actually the opposite of that. I have watched my Sports Center, read various columns and websites and even listened to sports talk radio. After a lot of research I am here to report that quite frankly, things are kind of boring on the sports front.

So instead of one of my rant and rave columns, I’m going to bring you, the reader something new. I introduce to you my brand new, never before used, patent pending hem and haw column. It’s similar to the rant and rave columns of the past, the difference being that while those columns were taken with little importance, this one should be taken with none.

I have a knock knock joke for you. Ready?

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?

National League.

National League who?


Who are they and why do they insist on making an appearance during Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game. Year after year the National League sends it’s best and brightest to square off against the American League for the prize of home field advantage during the World Series.

Year after year they return to their respective clubhouses dejected and unrested. The last time they won an All-Star game was last century, 1996 to be exact. At what point does a trend become a streak and at what point does a streak become a curse? I’m not entirely sure but I am fairly certain that we are witnessing the makings of one.

While a lot of talk regarding the National Football League this off-season has centered around free agency and new team acquisitions, I contend that some of the most important and news worthy deals brokered in the last few months have been by teams re-signing existing players to long term contracts.

Case in point, the Baltimore Ravens signing of Terrell Suggs to a six-year deal is huge. The versatile half linebacker, half defensive end was one of the most attractive free agents to be next year. Suggs is a game changer in the way he attacks opposing quarterbacks and now the Ravens have him locked down until 2015.

Speaking of new acquisitions, I’m sure you three NBA fans out there must be pretty excited about the Summer Leagues. It is most everyone’s first chance to check out their favorite teams draft picks in action. From what I have seen and read, looks like things are about like everyone thought they would be.

There have been at least two exceptions however. Stephen Curry has shown a willingness to shoot from anywhere, but an inability to do it well. Many thought that despite his seemingly undersized frame that Curry was a prolific enough scorer to create his own shot on the next level. That has not been the case thus far.

One of the biggest surprises however has been the play of Tyler Hansbrough. The former NCAA Player of the Year was predicted by many to a bust waiting to happen upon his arrival to the NBA. Hansbrough has more than held his own thus far and has impressed more than one scout and general manager over the last few weeks.

His play in the Orlando Pro Summer League prompted Nets president Rod Thorn to declare ”People who said what he did in college he wouldn’t be able to do in the NBA should come here and watch him.” Hansbrough averaged 18.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in leading the Indiana Pacers to a 5-0 record. Not bad for a slow, unathletic, overachieving guy from Missouri.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald. A Bertie High School

graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at