Tom Sorensen

Short takes: This week’s fighters include Bryce Harper, hockey fans, Davidson baseball

As fights between guys named Bryce and Hunter go, the one between Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (34) and San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland was a pretty good one.
As fights between guys named Bryce and Hunter go, the one between Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (34) and San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland was a pretty good one. AP

Hunter Strickland of the San Francisco Giants threw a fastball at Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, one of the best players in baseball. The last time they faced each other was in the National League Division Series, and Harper hammered two home runs off Strickland. For Strickland this was revenge. After getting nailed by Strickland’s almost 100 mph fastball, Harper charged the mound and tried to hammer Strickland.

Multiple punches were thrown, and Harper landed a good one. As fights between guys named Hunter and Bryce go (winner gets Asher), this one was pretty good. It also was unnecessary because Strickland’s fastball was unnecessary. He has been suspended for six games (and Harper for four). Strickland had to be …

▪  I don’t follow hockey so I won’t watch the Stanley Cup Finals. When I lived in Minnesota, where hockey was big, I’d volunteer to sit with my back to the TV screen.

The hockey players I’ve interviewed on the Charlotte Checkers and the Carolina Hurricanes have to a man been gracious, regular guys who get to play the game with which they grew up.

I liked them. I just didn’t like watching them compete. I like the sports with which I grew up. I tried skating a few times, but I was bad. I played basketball instead.

▪  I have a question. Is there anybody who likes sports so passionately that he or she watches every game that’s played in their city or on their TV? Do they watch the three majors – football, basketball and baseball – as well as hockey and NASCAR, fast and slo-pitch softball, volleyball, swimming, pro wrestling and collegiate wrestling, mixed martial arts, boxing, figure skating, tennis and lacrosse?

If so, where do they find the time to go outside and do things? I’m not criticizing. I’m curious. ...

▪  C Jackson Cowart wrote a good piece about the Davidson baseball team in Monday’s Observer. The Wildcats have played baseball 115 years, and for the first time they’ve made the NCAA tournament.

Underdogs are what makes the NCAA basketball tournaments. The Wildcats are an underdog. They’ll got to the regional that North Carolina will host. The Tar Heels are the No. 1 seed there, Florida Gulf Coast No. 2 and Michigan third. On Friday Davidson, the fourth seed, will play North Carolina, which is the No. 2 seed in the entire tournament.

The team that comes out of double elimination regional in Chapel Hill will advance to the super regional, and the eight super regional winners will advance to Omaha for the College World Series.

I went to Omaha one year to write about the tournament and was mesmerized. Also, I ate a lot of red meat. The city embraces red meat. It also embraces college baseball. It treats coaches and players as if they’re stars. Omaha is not a small town but it felt like one. This is Omaha’s tournament, and the city treats it with love and care.

Good luck, Wildcats. When people think about Davidson, they think about academics and basketball. It’s a baseball school now, and will be into the weekend and, many of us hope, longer.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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