Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rangers Want Someone But Can They Get Him?

On our TXA21 pregame show, Rangers president Nolan Ryan didn't hesitate a bit when asked what this team could be in the market for as the trade deadline approaches.

"A veteran right-handed hitter," Ryan said.  "We face so many left handers and it would help to have that guy in the lineup or have him on the bench.  If we had a key situation where we needed a right hander to face a left hander and not have to send a let hander up there, that would be something that we would certainly have an interest in."

You had to see it to believe it: A Lady-Gaga-loving fan I found post-concert. .
Infer from it what you may but all signs say Ryan is alluding to the hole that is Lady-Gaga-loving Chris Davis.  He's your biggest concern thanks to the fact he's batting .184.  That being said, his defense is passable. You could have made the case that Justin Smoak was a drop-off from a defensive standpoint.

Finding a veteran right-handed hitter that can be effective is undoubtedly easier said than done.  To paraphrase Bill Parcells: this isn't a 1-800-dial-a-power-hitter league.

"Those opportunities don't come along very often," Ryan conceded.

You can't walk into Costco and pick up the guy like you can a five-pound container of spinach artichoke dip.  So, I ask you, with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching on July 31st,  are you content with what Texas currently offers or are you hoping for another move?

Do you have a number of someone who can help?
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dez's Deal is Done

Hold out, schmold out.  Okay that was weak. 

What isn't is how quickly and efficiently the Cowboys worked out a deal with receiver Dez Bryant.  Many speculated this would be a hold out situation but the Cowboys and Bryant's agent, Eugene Parker, started talking Monday and were able to come to agreement today.  Bryant is the first of this year's first-round picks to agree to a deal.

The DMN's Todd Archer says it's a five-year deal worth $11.8 million.

"This was very important to me to be able to get this done in time for the first practice," Bryant said in a team-issued statement. "I want to help this team. I want to compete. I can't wait to start playing football again."

My money says that's the best quote we'll get from him all year. 
Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones is meeting with the media Thursday night.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trust LeBron: If You Want to Meet the Hotties, You Gotta Take Pilates

LeBron James has sent half a dozen emails and twitter questions to me.  Okay, not him, but his tweet has you got you, dear peeps, asking me a few things.

On July 15th @KingJames (self-esteem is NOT an issue w/ him) tweeted: "just got done putting in work at my high school. Great workout! Headed to pilates class now". 

A few folks recalled that I have blogged about and done a story on CBS11 about pilates.  Many more just asked how to pronounce it.  Pih-lah-tees.  You're welcome. 

Tons of professional athletes practice pilates: LeBron James and DeMarcus Ware just to name a few.  It gives them an incredibly strong core, which is essential for everything they do.  But it doesn't matter if you play football, crunch numbers at a desk or cart kids around all day, pilates can help you move better in every aspect of your life.  I always get the "How tall are you?" question.  I respond by saying  my height depends on how much pilates I do in a given week.  Men take note: pilates improves your posture in ways you can't believe, giving you an extra inch or even two.

I could rave on and on about it.  Instead, I am reposting a blog entry I did on the practice in April:

April 6, 2010 
If You Want to Meet the Hotties, You Gotta Take Pilates
An NBA player, I am 90% certain you know, told me that.  I had heard he was taking classes at a popular gym.  I asked him about it and he simply responded with "If you want to meet the hotties, you gotta take pilates!"  Then he proceeded to form a wide sh!t-eating grin which led me to believe that he did, in fact, meet some hotties.  
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fenway Park Fun in Photos

View looking up to the press box from the camera well next to the Rangers dugout.
From fighting through hour-long rain delays that forced fans to jam-pack into the concourse to learning the significance of the red seat in right field, we did Fenway Park.  I didn't know quite what to expect.  It blew me away.

The structure is old and dated, yet its history is unmistakable and it possesses a charm that no amount of money can buy.  Here are a few of our photographic highlights, taken with the crappiest cell phone camera HTC makes.   Have to dedicate these pics to my friend, Andrea Bohnen.  She's a ginormous Red Sox fan and would have rocked the experience much more than me.

All the pics after the jump.  Enjoy!!!!!


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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fenway Fun

Rangers Thursday Workout
Rumor has it that the first time Roger Clemens arrived at Fenway Park in a cab in 1984, he thought the cab driver made a mistake.  I can see why.  On a non-gameday, Fenway could look like something you'd see in an urban warehouse district. 

"The cab ride in is always fun," said Michael Young.  "You have a ball park pop up in the middle of the neighborhood."

This is my first trip here and I am digging it.  I've been to some minor league ballparks that are nicer than these hallowed grounds.  That being the case, it's an almost refreshing change from the MEGA-BILLION-MONOLITHIC-STADIUMS/BALLPARKS-ON-STEROIDS.  Fenway doesn't scream at you from a highway.  It just sort of invites you to come hang out and enjoy a game. 

Rangers Dugout Looking out to Green Monster
David Murphy played his first major league game here with the Red Sox and still thinks coming to Boston is cool.  "Everybody's going to the new expensive ballparks which are nice but to step in the batter's box on the field where so many incredible players have played and a lot of big games have been played it's just, as a baseball player, you find that special."

The Red Sox have spent more than $100 million dollars adding seats and upgrading the park but according to many Rangers perhaps the best improvement has nothing to do with aesthetics.  Well, at least visual ones.  I'd heard that Fenway sometimes stuck with you after you left.  Kind of like the stench of a smoky bar that lingers on your clothes for a few days. 

One Ranger, who shall remain nameless, mentioned to me that the vile, etched-in-the-concrete smell of  urine/beer is gone. 

 "It feels different because they changed the tunnel from the dugout to the clubhouse," Josh Hamilton told me.  When I asked him if it smelled better he smiled and said "Much!"
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rangers Are Back in Boston and So Am I

It's my first YouTube chat in FOREVER! We're in Boston for two games of the Red Sox series. We got a a big bag o' fun. At least we hope.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Where to Get Your Final World Cup Fix

This is it.  Your last chance to come down with World Cup Fever until 2014.  Just watching these matches is a better scene than being at some live sporting events.  While in Paris recently, I took in a two matches at the FIFA Fan Fest in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.  AMAZING.  In Barcelona, I watched a few at a beach side bistro, one in a tapas bar and one from the rooftop of a Gothic Quarter hotel.  All experiences of a lifetime.

There are a few places in Dallas that can give you that real European soccer experience.  I traipsed all over North Texas and found two fabulous options.  Whether you're rooting for Spain to win its first World Cup or hoping that for the Netherlands the third time is the the charm, these places will almost transport you across the pond.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

How The Cliff Lee Trade Unfolded in the Rangers Clubhouse

The timeline of the Rangers/Mariners trade was fascinating.  Watching this franchise-defining moment develop in the clubhouse was even better.

The Rangers clubhouse opens to the media at 3:35 before a 7:05 game.  Our first order of business is to check the lineup posted on the wall.  I noticed Joaquin Arias was playing first base instead of Justin Smoak.  Not unusual but interesting.

Manager Ron Washington typically does his media interviews shortly after we get in but not on Friday.  While we were waiting for Washington, we got some interviews with pitcher Matt Harrison, who was scheduled to start on Saturday, and Michael Young.

About 10 minutes later, still no call from Rangers PR man John Blake to talk to Washington.  Very curious.  Around that time, our ears are straining to try to hear anything being whispered.  Blackberries are working overtime with some of us, me mostly, overtweeting.  I sent the following around 3:50-ish or so, knowing something was going down: interesting day in rangers clubhouse. #anythingcanhappen. #fb
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Your Thoughts on the 3-Headed Heat Monster

You hate it.  I get it.

With the signings of Chris Bosh and LeBron James, the Miami Heat have formed a three-headed Bosh-James-WadeMonster. 

Not to be confused with Lost's Smoke Monster.  

But you despise it with every fiber of your being.  Not the Smoke Monster but this new look Heat team.  You hate the fact the Heat have got, on paper, the best team in basketball.  I don't need to remind you every girl's "good on paper" mantra.

You Mavs fans, of course, have hated the Heat for a few years.  Here are some of comments you sent me via twitter:

Claybo4131 I expect the NBA wants Lakers-Heat for the next 5 or 6 years

jdhainley  they are not a lock. they still have to contend with boston in the east and all of the western conference, including mavs  

HLmotorcars  Mavs Fans should be very Thankful we have Dirk, and that Loyalty still means something to some players in the NBA.

mkuhn325 If egos don't tear them apart they'll be a tough team to beat. Remember the 08-09 Cowboys?
 
FromDa401 not a lock to win it all. Celtics big 3 = success. the Miami superteam could be a disaster. it's a wait and see approach.  

RRavidgolfer No, they still need key contributors off the bench. Although some might want to play for the Heat now for less $$$.  
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Go Back Time by Getting Out of Town: Newport, RI


I was just telling someone this weekend how much I love Newport, Rhode Island.  It's like traveling back in time to another era.  Mark Twain  coined the term the "Gilded Age" to describe the era of excess that defined Newport.  That excess still exists but so does a restrained elegance that makes Newport so magical.

What a treat to get to my New York Times (finally) and see the travel section did a story titled "12 Unexpected History Trips".  Newport is on that list along with some of my other favorite cities including Washington D.C., Palm Springs.  The article suggests hitting all the mansions, I would add hitting Flo's clamshack and taking a tour of old Doris Duke Foundation homes in town.  I stayed in one built in the 1700's and it had a remarkably solid wooden structure build like nothing else.

I've spent a few summers in Newport touring Vanderbilt mansions, watching croquet matches with the intensity I would a Mavericks playoff game and having lunch with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' stepbrother (he had a thing for my hostess).  It's a special, special place.  You never know who you might meet.  When Jackie's stepbrother was talking to me having about lunch with the "President", I thought he was referring to the president of a beach club.  Turns out he was referring to JFK.

Only in Newport.  Trust me.
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World Cup Fever: Can Soccer Become a Permanent US Obsession?

I was getting coffee Tuesday morning and overheard two men talking about the World Cup.  Soccer was "about to explode" in the US according to these grande drip drinkers.  Many of my friends who had know clue who Messi or Miroslav Klose were a month ago can now tell you why Argentina failed and why Germany is such a dominant team.   The World Cup definitely has the US thinking, talking and tweeting soccer like mad.

Didn't we hear this during last World Cup?  I know I did when the World Cup was actually in the United States in 1994.  Six matches were played in the Cotton Bowl.  The great David Beckham walked through our fair town.  None of that, though, translated into a soccer boom.  Sure there might have been some growth but not the exponential kind officials and diehards had hoped.

How long has soccer been the favorite sport of young kids?  At least for a good twenty years.  It hasn't translated into a booming soccer fanbase in the US.  There are packed youth soccer fields across North Texas every Saturday morning with soccer moms and dads as boisterous and passionate as any drunken Philadelphia Eagles fan I've ever seen.  Yet, I've covered plenty MLS soccer games and there are empty seats galore.

The US is trying hard to host the 2018 World Cup.  I've heard from numerous sources that Cowboys Stadium is lobbying hard to host some of the matches.  No doubt that if there is a World Cup back in the States in eight years, it will be a World Cup on steroids.  A very American-sized, McMansion version of the world's favorite sporting event.  HD television and national tv contracts will help but if the World Cup does return, like those McMansions, I think it will be just a temporary boom.
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Monday, July 5, 2010

How Much Do You REALLY Like Mike? Rangers Want You to Prove It

This MLB All-Star game vote-in is getting intense.  You know the drill: cast your vote for one of the final five spots on the AL All-Star team and the player with the most votes gets to go.

Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher appealed to his 1,218,231 Twitter followers (at last count) with the following cry:

I need yalls help! Go to www.yankees.com and vote as many times as you want and #SENDSWISH .

It's working, as Swisher currently has the early lead in voting.  Boston's Kevin Youkilis is second, followed by Rangers third baseman Michael Young, who's made six straight All-Star game appearances.

In effort to get more fans to vote for Young, the Rangers will enter voters into a sweepstakes drawing for a suite to a 2010 Rangers home game for each of the first 25 times they vote for Young.  Today they added another incentive.

Jump for the cut and paste release.
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Parisian Fashion Observations...Men, Pay Attention!

What a treat to be in Paris earlier this June.  Forget the gardens, monuments and Fete de la Musique!  Yes, they were all fabulous.   But perhaps even better than the wine, strolling along the Seine and the soccer was the people watching.  It was just as much of a sport as was exploring the city.

Let me tell you: I've been all over the world and haven't had as much fun checking out the visual eye candy as I did in Paris.  It was fascinating discovering what the Parisians wore.

Surprisingly, the women weren't as uber-chic as I thought they would be.  Many of them wore suits to work or a simple dress.  I did see one young lady dressed entirely in vintage 80's fashions who put together a look that, in concept, might not be so hot but, on her, was amazing.  She had on sort of MC Hammer gypsy pants, a polka dot short-sleeved shirt with an olive-colored vest.  She carried a vintage alligator clutch and looked spectacular.  I know it sounds kind of goofy but it was very now.

What I did notice is that big statements rings were adorning the hands of many women.  Everywhere I looked they were sporting a big, honking cocktail or stone ring.

Anyone who knows me knows I love a statement ring.  My always impeccably dressed colleague, Mr. Laufenberg, constantly gives me crap for wearing big rings.  Big ring wearers are on trend right now but it's one I've always subscribed to and one I don't think I'll ever give up.

What knocked my socks off was how impeccably dressed the men were!  They wore everything from slim, European-cut suits my stylish colleague Steve Pickett wears to colorful and perfectly blended resort shorts and casual looks.  It was the visual equivalent of a good, natural gelato: cool, elegant and something that I could take in all day long.  The men knew how to dress for their bodies and worked it like nothing I've seen in the States.

What really blew me away were the scarves.  French ladies are known for having a flair to wear a scarf that complements and completes a look.  But who knew the French men had such a knack for perfecting them?

I saw a number of men wearing scarves in place of a tie with their jacket-and-pant work ensemble but one man really epitomized Parisian chic.  He was having lunch two tables away from me at Cafe Balzac  in the 8th Arrondissement.  He was probably in his 60's with a full head of white hair and was having lunch with a gorgeous woman on an even more beautiful summer day.  He wore a camel-colored jacket with a slate-blue shirt and an elegant burgundy scarf knotted under his shirt collar.  I should have snapped a picture but I didn't want to look anymore like an American tourist than I already did but WOW.  He wasn't particularly handsome just incredibly put together and that made him stunningly attractive.  And let me say this: every woman who walked by the cafe noticed him.

It was proof that style has no gender rules or age limit.  Anyone can work it and it's amazing how far a little effort and fashion sense can go.

Here's a great link to some shots that GQ photographer Tommy Ton took of real European men on the street.  They may be a little "out there" for many Texans' tastes but they could be a springboard for experimenting with different looks.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dirk's a Travelin' Man But Why the Pitstops, Detours & Runarounds?

Dirk Nowitzki's travel plans just get curiouser and curiouser.

First Donnie Nelson was going to meet him Germany.

Then Nelson gets a phone call while he's supposedly standing in line at the airport from Dirk's adviser, Holger Geschwindner, that they are coming to Dallas to meet with him on Thursday at Dirk's home in Dallas.  The Mavericks organization even told us as much.  I had confirmation that Dirk was arriving in Dallas from Germany on Thursday.

Then there's the New York city detour to meet with Jason Kidd.  I have confirmation from an impeccable source that Dirk is scheduled to arrive in Dallas on Friday morning from NYC.

BUT WAIT, then ESPN's Marc Stein tweets that Dirk arrived in Dallas on Thursday night.

WTH?

No doubt, Stein is right.  Of course, Dirk has every right to do whatever the hell he wants and I applaud him for doing it, although if I were him, my butt would be enjoying a mojito on the roof of the Peninsula Hotel.   But why the game of travel cat and mouse?  Dirk reportedly has a killer schedule and sponsorship commitment.  Cool, I get it.  But why was his itinerary released by the Mavericks?  Is there a reason?  Is he trying THAT hard to shirk the media and avoid any fans that might be waiting for him at the airport?  Is it beyond that?  I'm not saying it's crazy, right or wrong but is it just a little peculiar?
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Dirk's NYC Pitstop. Cause for Concern? No, According to the Mavs

Dirk Nowitzki was supposed to be in Dallas Thursday to meet with Mavs GM Donnie Nelson.  He was even confirmed on a flight from Germany to DFW.

That all changed in the last 12 hours when it came out he was stopping in New York, supposedly, to have dinner and chill with teammate Jason Kidd. 

How concerning is this to Mavericks and could Dirk be meeting with Nets/Knicks execs or some other team brass?

Here is what I know:

-From multiple Mavericks sources, I am hearing they are not concerned with Dirk's change of plans to spend the night in NYC.  They still remain confident that he will return to the Mavericks.  Donnie Nelson has been quoted saying it's no big deal.  I've heard from people who do not have to tow the company line say the same.

-I can understand Dirk's desire to lay low.  Jason Kidd has said that Dirk isn't about glitz and glamour, which is true.  I can see him exiting that Terminal D at DFW airport beaten down to a pulp seeing Mavs fans (sorry) and media (that I already know he hates) greeting him and welcoming him home.

-Finally, for what it's worth, I've heard from some very-in-the-know NYC area folks that all the Knicks and Nets brass are in Ohio trying to pitch to LeBron James.

So, it seems Dirk's layover in New York is something just about any of us would do: hang out with a friend in one of the best cities in the world and possibly avoid delay that inevitable onslaught of media and fans waiting to welcome him back to town.
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