Fourth and Long

Published 11:03 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sports are often depicted as being dramatic and serious at all times and of incredible consequence. Every once in awhile, however, I enjoy being reminded that while I love it, sports really isn’t all that serious.

I must also remember that one of the reasons that I love sports as much as I do is that it has been historically filled with some of life’s oddest and funniest characters. One example of this was the new billboard pit up around Columbus, Ohio.

In case you don’t remember, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee opened his mouth and inserted his foot back in November when he expressed his opinions regarding TCU and their claim to deserve a shot at the national title. Gee told the press that “the little sisters of the poor” didn’t deserve the opportunity because their schedule is not as strong as that of a Big Ten school.

Appearing around Columbus after TCU’s defeat of Big Ten champion Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl was a billboard offering “congratulations to TCU for their Rose Bowl victory” from “Little Sisters Of The Poor”.  To quote Larry the Cable Guy…”I don’t care who ya are…that’s funny right there”.

Golf fans and video game enthusiasts alike all know that the hottest golf game on the market for the last 10 years has been Tiger Woods PGA Tour. In what can only be described as a splendid mix of karma and the cold blooded nature of business, Tiger Woods has NOT been selected as the cover boy of his own video game.

Instead EA sports, the maker of the popular video game series, will feature the pin flag of Augusta National golf course on the cover. You know you have lost a lot of popularity when you go from being the world’s most famous athlete to so unpopular that the makers of your video game no longer want potential customers to associate it with you.

2010 saw some of the funniest and craziest fan promotion nights in minor league baseball history.  Baseball has a long history of being creative in regards to the promotional nights that it holds for its fans, but rarely do they get any more creative than these promotions.

The Charleston River Dogs held Nobody Night. In hopes of having a zero attendance the club decided to padlock the doors until the bottom of the fifth inning when an official attendance of zero would be granted. Only then were ticket holders allowed to come in and enjoy the game.

The Hudson Valley Renegades introduced Toilet Seat Night, a promotion that earned 3,000 fans stadium seat cushions in the shape of toilet seats.

The St. Paul Saints owned by comedian Bill Murray brought to the fans “A Monkey Can Do That, Night”. The club actually brought in monkeys to do the jobs of several employees including one to tear up tickets and another monkey to rake the infield. This is hilarious for everyone except one of the people replaced at their job by a monkey that day.

The St. Paul Saints also offered up Larry Craig Bobblefoot Night. Senator Larry Craig was of course the gentleman that made national news after getting arrested for attempting to solicit sex from a male police officer in a restroom.

In what I can only assume was one of Bill Murray’s ideas, the Saints gave fans a miniature bathroom stall with bobblefeet dangling beneath the door. I know it’s wrong to laugh at the misfortune of others, but c’mon…that’s funny.

I don’t know about you but I love this kind of stuff. Don’t be surprised If I start featuring more of it in this column.

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