Hitting the wall

Hitting the wall

Friday, June 18, 2010
3:20 PM

By Frankie O

I cant help but feel a void now that the NHL playoffs are over. Honestly, how could I feel any other way? Two months of every other day action featuring the two teams that I root for the most. For an emotionally vested fan, thats a lot. It takes over and wears on you. The payoff is if your team wins, and we both know that wasnt the case for me. Everyones asking how Im doing and I tell them that other than living every Flyers fans worst nightmare, Im great! Nothing like serving up beers to the celebrating masses during both the clincher and the parade, how lucky can one guy get? (I swear I didnt charge any one extra! Well, okay, maybe one or two!) It was definitely the strangest time Ive had behind the bar. At least I have a little time to regroup before they hoist the banner to the rafters at the United Center. Ill only have to look at that every time I go to a game there for the rest of my life. And every Hawks radio or TV broadcast will start with Your 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champions! Thats all right. Im not a hater. They earned it and every one of their fans should enjoy it, even if they joined the party a little late. In the big-picture view, an Original Six power is good for hockey and for me, its good for business. With the core together for the foreseeable future, Im guessing this wont be the only title that they win. This team is going to be good for a while and being a hockey fan in this town is going to be exciting.

But, for now, I need to decompress. Sports-wise, I guess watching a Game 7 in an NBA Finals is supposed to be exciting, but Im just not feeling it. I know I have to watch, but as a Philly guy, there is no way Im rooting for Boston, and L.A. isnt too far behind on that list. Of course now that L.A. has won, its time for the Kobe is the best love fest. I just want to say, Stop the Kobe is as good as Michael talk! No way! Stop smoking whatever it is that youre smoking. Kobe can win more than Michael, but he isnt Michael. Jordan is the best ever, end of story! And Mark Jackson? Kobe is a better Laker than Magic? Really? One other thing: I seem to remember when Pau Gasol was available two years ago, the local media saying for the Bulls not to go after him, that he was too soft. That dude is anything but soft. He also has two rings now.

And this is a perfect time for the U.S. Open, especially at Pebble Beach. I love watching golf, always have. The best thing is that there are any number of guys who can win and Ill be happy. Theres no emotional baggage with golf. Well all right, Watson losing in the British last year was like a kick in the groin, but how often does that happen? Golf always has a story, no matter who wins and thats part of what I like. Having the Open on scenic Pebble only makes it better. Im guessing Woods-Mickelson will be too much to ask for, but I always enjoy watching the final round on Fathers Day.

But the rest of my summer will focus on one thing: Baseball, or, more importantly, my roto baseball team. Not that I havent been following, (how are the Cubs and Sox doing by the way? LOL!) but now that the distractions are out of the way, its time to get focused. Ive missed out on a few waiver wire wonders because of my hockey preoccupation and that makes me a little hot! My boy Jonny Gomes though, is tearing it up! If Chase Utley ever hits again I could be dangerous. Will he hit? Should I trade him? These are the types of question that will be taking over my brain for the next three months. And unlike rooting for my hockey team, I wont get sucked in. I dont expect to do well in fantasy sports because of the luck involved. Just as easy to lose as it is to win. You can recite every lineup and stat, but when your 1 pick Utley is hitting .250, theres little you can do.

Baseball will be the soundtrack of my summer, along with the occasional NFL training camp update, and the LeBron saga. Im a box-score geek and love to read them every morning. And since I have the baseball package on DirecTv at work and home, the sweet sound of Vin Scully calling a Dodger game will be a highlight whenever I get a chance. Other than that, its a down-time in the sporting calendar, at least for those of us with rooting disorders. One comforting thought though, at least I wont have to worry about the Cubs or Sox playing the Phillies in the playoffs, it couldnt happen to me again could it?

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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