Monday, January 31, 2011

Wizards Source: Josh Howard has been Great

Josh Howard is back in Dallas tonight as his Wizards are still looking for their first road win of the entire season against the Mavericks.  He will miss the game while he's still bothered by a surgically repaired knee (Howard tore his ACL last February).

Dallas represents many things to Howard: the place where he started his NBA career and became an All-Star.  It's also the place where he starting making bizarre decisions and, in turn, even more bizarre statements before ultimately being traded to the Wizards last season.

Howard has only played eight games this season because of the knee issue but he has been a "great player" according to one Wizards source.  I asked him specifically about Howard and he said that the 30-year old has been just about perfect: doing what's been asked, supporting the team and having a good attitude about all of it.

Does that surprise you?  It surprised my Washington friend.  He did point out that Howard is not making nearly the kind of money he was in Dallas and doesn't have a long-term deal.  Howard signed a one-year contract with Washington this offseason.

Do you care?  When Howard went down that path, many Mavs fans were crushed.

So now, almost a year removed from the Howard trade, are you over it?  Or do you still wonder what could have been?
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Super Bowl XLV Parties, Already Half Off

It was like a late Christmas this morning when I logged on to my computer and found my email inbox sprinkled with offers from Groupon and Seize the Deal touting half off the Dallas SuperBash 2011, hosted by Pamela Anderson, and the Aces & Angels bash, hosted by Gene Simmons and wife Shannon Tweed.

Woo-hoo.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Which Pro Sports Teams are Getting the Most Bang for their Payroll Buck?

You haven’t asked yourself this? 

Neither have I but the fine folks at ESPN’s Page 2 did and the series has been a fun little read.  Basically it examines teams similarly to the way the financial types would assess corporations and businesses.  Which franchise is getting a solid return on simply its payroll investment?

So without further ado, here's a synopsis.  Click on the links to read the full report on each league.



NFL
In the NFL, the Cowboys were, unsurprisingly, near the bottom. Dallas ranked 24th out of the 32 teams. 
2010 payroll:        $130.86 million
Wins in 2010:       6 wins
Cost per win:        $21.81 million

The author also notes that "WR Roy Williams earned $3.45M in base salary but was less productive than rookie Dez Bryant ($320K base salary)."

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Allen Eagles $60 Million Stadium Project Gets NY Times Nod

And the Old Gray Lady is gawking.  A bit.

What a kick I got when I opened my New York Times this morning to find a profile on Allen ISD's stadium project.  Top of the sports page fold, no less.

It's what I expected: a well-written article outlining the new 18,000-seat shrine that will feature "a two-tier press box, an indoor golf practice area, a high-definition video scoreboard, a practice room for wrestling, and enough parking for every car in Dallas, or close."

Author Greg Bishop even points out that "Allen ranks among the state’s top academic school."

But he exhibits the utter shock and disbelief that most people do (let's just say it: the folks who ain't from here) when being introduced to Texas high school football.

"This is no ordinary stadium, in no ordinary state, where only football supersedes faith and family. Super Bowl XLV will take place a short drive southwest next Sunday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, but folks here know all about the sport’s oversize importance. Here, even the stadium is big."

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Dallas Stars Sale Update/Non-Update from the 2011 NHL All-Star Game

The sale of the Dallas Stars is moving along just fine, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

While speaking to reporters during the Saturday night festivities at the NHL All-Star weekend, Bettman was asked about the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes and noted that the sale is progressing.

Bettman then addressed the Stars situation, saying that the NHL is not in control of the team, unlike the Coyotes.  He then added that there are "about half a dozen interested parties" looking to purchase the Stars.  He described the sale, as a normal "orderly sales process."

Who would you like to see own the Stars?  Do you care?  Does the Stars sale give you tired-head?
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Davos Mistresses vs Wives...Sounds Like Another Day in Dallas or Any Other Pro Sports Town

While the happenings at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland are dominating the business talk world, a well-written piece by a Davos wife is dominating the blogosphere.  To me, it sounds remarkably familiar.

Anya Schiffrin, author and Davos wife of Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, is writing a great series on the complicated hierarchy of the "Desperate Davos Wives" and the "Jealous Davos Mistresses".

Of the wives she writes about being an accessory to her husband and how underrepresented women are the power play summit.  She laments that "along with countless other wives I’ve put in my time and always felt that we are under represented."

You married a powerful influencer.  Deal with it.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Super Bowl XLV: The NFL Experience, A Review

For those of you not interested in shelling out four figures (at least) for Super Bowl XLV tickets to see the Steelers and Packers play on February 6th, you can get the full NFL experience at, well, the NFL Experience.


It opened at the Dallas Convention Center Thursday night.  Producer's bill it as "pro football's interactive theme park offering participatory games, displays, entertainment attractions, kids' football clinics, free autograph sessions and the largest football memorabilia show ever."  Here's a link to all of the activities and exhibits you can find there.



Two of my family members attended the NFL Experience Thursday night and were some of the first ones in the door for the 5pm session.


They really enjoyed the interactive exhibits which ranged from kicking and passing competitions to a chance to be a sportscaster.  The latter was cool because they were put in front of a green screen, given scripts on a teleprompter and had the opportunity to do play-by-play and color analysis of a game.  What's even cooler is that the kind folks at the NFL experience record it and email it to you.  I can't wait to see it because these are two guys who tell me every day just how easy my job is. 


RAGE Radio Boys
They liked it but it's one of the those things they don't need to do again.  They giggled when two players they didn't even know just handed them their autograph cards.  Another negative, they said, was that the fine folks at the NFL Experience wanted their information at every turn: email, phone number, mailing address, etc.  The event is heavy on the corporate sponsorships front and it's obvious those sponsors are looking to capitalize on their investment.

One tip, take DART down there to avoid a parking hassle (the link provides exact directions and info particularly for the NFL Experience).

Tickets are $25, $20 for children 12 and under.
You Can't Escape Him
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Monday, January 24, 2011

YES! You Can Get Super Bowl XLV Tickets AND Help Two Worthy Causes

The days leading up to Super Bowl XLV will feature parties galore, celebrities arriving in droves and opportunities to do things you might have never before imagined.

What have been tough to come by are tickets but here are few chances to score some with options at two price points.  One will only cost you a Benjamin while the other is quite a bit more but offers a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl XLV experience.

The Nancy Lieberman Foundation is raffling off two suite tickets to the game.  Raffle tickets only cost $100 and must be purchased by February 1st.  A portion of the proceeds from the raffle benefit the foundation.  Click here for details.  Considering the astronomical numbers I've heard people are willing to pay for nosebleed tickets, this is the best bargain out there.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is auctioning what it calls the Ultimate Gameday Package.  It's a simple auction that benefits the research hospital and its mission to erase pediatric cancer. While the high bid is currently $60,000, the prize package is pretty impressive.  Hurry, though, bidding closes Wednesday, January 26 at 3:30pm Central time.

If you are the winning bidder, you get the following:
  • Four Super Bowl XLV tickets in a luxury suite at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
  • One private Cessna CJ3 jet available round-trip to and from Dallas/Fort Worth for four passengers
  • Five-night luxury accommodations in downtown/uptown Dallas from Wednesday, February 2 through Monday, February 7, 2011
  • Chauffeured car service Wednesday, February 2 through Monday, February 7, 2011, including the Super Bowl on February 6
  • Luxury automobile from Park Place Dealerships for personal use during length of stay
  • Four seats to the Legends for Charity dinner presenting The Pat Summerall Award to the NFL on FOX broadcast team including Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Buck, Jay Glazer, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long, Curt Menefee, Pam Oliver and Michael Strahan on Thursday, February 3
  • Four seats to the Off the Field Players' Wives Association Fashion Show on Friday, February 4 joining current and past NFL players while enjoying fashions by designer Abi Ferrin
  • Four seats to one of the largest private events: The NFL-sanctioned 2011 Super Bowl Breakfast on February 5, featuring the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award
  • Full day of spa treatments for four at the Halcyon Days Salon & Spa at Neiman Marcus NorthPark
  • Dining for four at Al Biernat's, Sevy's Grill and Rugerri's Restaurant
Good Luck!!!!
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Super Bowl 45 Primer: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner & Guess Who Can't Get a Table

As the masses begin to descend on North Texas for Super Bowl XLV, little birds are chirping with all sorts of tidbits.  Who is sprucing up JerryWorld, who's renting out entire hotels and who can't get a reservation at one of the premier restaurants in Dallas?

  • According to one source, Jay Z is renting one Uptown Dallas hotel for a few days.  The WHOLE enchilada.  My source says the very popular bar/restaurant as well as every room in the hotel will be on lock down.  Anyone without a pass, key or credential will be denied entry into the fly hotspot. 
  • Tables at your favorite hangouts will be tough to get.  Business types, entertainers and athletes have secured reservations at many of the area's marquee restaurants, leaving local regulars out in the cold.  According to one server at a celeb-friendly Dallas eatery, this particular establishment is booked solid like never before.  In fact, it's so jampacked with names-you-know that not even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could get a reservation for a large party during Super Bowl week.  That sounds almost improbable since he is serving as a sort of "guest host" for the week but according to this server, the likes of Adam Sandler and Cameron Diaz have Goodell beat for dining real estate. 
  • Famous faces are already filing into town.  According to one well-known business man who was visiting Cowboys Stadium this weekend, Martha Stewart was at JerryWorld.  Whether she was baking brownies, serving up freshly picked acorn squash or polishing the Owners Suites' granite is still unknown. 
Ready or not, the glitterati as well as some of the unwashed are coming to North Texas and they're doing so in a Texas-size way.

Are you excited about Super Bowl XLV or are you dreading the potential disruption of every day life? 
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Cowboys Stunk in 2010 and For That, Orlando Scandrick is Sorry

Going into the 2010 season, the Cowboys had optimistically hoped to be playing on their home field in Super Bowl XLV on February 6th. 

Then, the season happened.


You know the story: the Cowboys finished the year a disappointing 6-10, the defense struggled, the pass defense would up 26th overall, Jerry Jones fired Wade Phillips.....I could go on.

Add all that up and the Cowboys are instead serving as gracious hosts instead of participants during Super Bowl week and, because of that, cornerback Orlando Scandrick is sorry. 

"To all our Cowboys fans, I want to apologize for the year that we put you guys through," Scandrick said to a crowd at an appearance at the Arlington Salvation Army Community Center on Wednesday. 

"There's no team in America that's going to work harder to get back to success than we are. I look forward to seeing you guys at the Super bowl, the Super Bowl experience and in 2011 watching the Dallas Cowboys."

He said it while addressing the group and looked sincere, if not a tad uncomfortable at the podium.   Scandrick helped sort out sports equipment, books, board games and school supplies that was brought to the center by local public and private school teachers and students. The donated items will be distributed to local children in need.  The event was part of an initiative sponsored by the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee.


Nice of him to donate the time.  What do you think of his comments?  Does an apology from a player mean anything to you?  
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Spurs Guard Tony Parker: Mavs Miss Dirk

I know you're saying "Duh!"  but he actually said as much Friday morning at Spurs shootaround.  It's late in games, however, that the Mavericks struggle without Nowitzki on the floor according the former Mr. Longoria.

"It's been tough for them," Parker admitted.  "They play well most of the game and then down the stretch, Dirk usually makes the big shot, the big play."

"They don't have that guy anymore so it's been tough on them."


Does Parker have any advice for the Mavericks?
"Everybody has to be more aggresive when you have one of your main guys who average 25, 26 points."

Insighful, isn't it?

For the record, the Mavericks are putting up just under eight points per game less in the eight games without Nowitzki.  In the 29 games he started, Dallas averaged 99.4 points a game.  In the eight he's missed, it's been 91.8 a game, a number inflated a bit by the 107 the Mavs scored in a 10-point loss to Orlando.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium Facelift Progress Report

Clearing debris on west side
Those Frogs move fast.

The day they received their invitation to the Rose Bowl, TCU imploded the north and west sides of Amon G. Carter stadium.  That was December 5th and just a little more than a month later, structural elements of the new additions are already in place.  (here's a link to the plans)

The entire project is expected to be complete and ready for the 2012 season.  This means that construction will continue during the 2011 season.  Can you imagine the challenge this could present?  Construction will stop for the six gamedays next season and then resume as soon as possible once a game is complete.

What's the biggest concern with this entire $125 million renovation?  "The weather," according to TCU athletic director Chris del Conte.  Understandably.  Lengthy weather delays could be a nightmare.

During 2011, seating capacity for games will be limited to low to mid-30,000 range.  Once the renovation is complete, the school anticipates capacity to be a little more than 40,000.  The new stadium will also feature 25 luxury suites.

The pièce de résistance for anyone who has ever covered a TCU game is the proposed new press box.  The old one featured an old, creaky elevator that you literally had to pray to whatever God you worship on the ride up because you didn't know if you were going to make it.  The accordion-style gate and oh-so-popular handle that got passengers to the top will be on display in the new stadium.  Sweet, sweet memories.

Enough babble.

Here's a look at the progress, as off January 11, 2011:

Debris on the west side of stadium next to lower level which will remain for 2011 season

View to the north of Amon G. Carter stadium





Beams in place on the north side of the stadium for structural support for a future second level. 




Everything still coming up roses on-campus
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Adrian Beltre's Contract Stats, Plus the Question I Could Never Ask

By now you know about new Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre's no-cup-wearing idiosyncrasies.  Seriously, could there be a more awkward question than this one:

Q: Are you still not wearing a cup? Will you wear one next season?
A: No, I won't wear a cup.

God bless you, Richard Durrett.  I NEVER want to ask anyone that question.

Anyway, there's a mildly interesting thing to note: MLB, the Rangers and players' union consider Beltre's deal with the Rangers a five-year, $80-million dollar contract, not a 6-year, $96-million deal.

According to the Associated Press:
"Beltre gets $14 million this year, $15 million in 2012, $16 million in 2013, $17 million in 2014, $18 million in 2015 and $16 million in 2016. Texas can void the final season if Beltre doesn't have 1,200 plate appearances in 2014-15 combined or 600 in 2015.

If Beltre is on the disabled list at the end of the 2015 season and a mutually agreed on doctor determines he won't be healthy by spring training, Texas may defer $12 million of his 2016 salary at 1 percent interest.

Beltre also will donate $100,000 annually to the Rangers Foundation."

And now you know.
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What's Your Workout? Ideas for a New One

The Wall Street Journal series "What's Your Workout" is insightful, interesting and perfect for anyone looking to experiment with a new workout.  It focuses on the routines of different people.  It's great for the exercise-obsessed like me looking for ideas to incorporate into a workout plan.

The latest one really intrigued me.  If features 35-year old Kristen Silverman who participates in various bootcamp and Crossfit workouts.  They have completely changed her body and it hasn't been through the use of any special equipment.  She uses her body weight as the "machine" to get her in shape.

"The 35-year-old chief operating officer of Nandana, a private resort in the Bahamas, had been attending hour-long group fitness classes that mimicked the routine Marines go through in boot camp. Three to four days a week Ms. Silverman completed obstacle courses that included hurdles, monkey bars, a six-foot rope climb and six-foot walls to scale."

I love the idea of just using your body weight.  No equipment, no crap (a la my Shake Weight, which I love).  Just your own body weight.  It's functional fitness and it's becoming more my go-to choice for getting in shape.

A number of former athletes I work with are done with lifting weights.  I won't name names but one simply practices Jiu Jitsu five days a week.  Another one is fascinated with the Insanity workout.  Yes, the one on the infomercial that claims to "PUSH YOU PAST YOUR LIMITS!!!!!!".   They are both in their 40's, in phenomenal shape and don't lift a single dumbell or Shake Weight, for that matter. 


What fitness routines are you into this year?  Any plans to change yours or get started?
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Adrian Beltre Thanks Michael Young

One of the people on new Ranger Adrian Beltre's "call list" Wednesday morning was Michael Young. 

Beltre's addition to the Rangers means that Young, once again, will change positions, marking the second time in three years he'll do so.  Young is on the record saying he's willing to do whatever it takes to stay on this Texas team and help it win.  Expect Young to DH and play a variety of infield positions.

Beltre appreciates what Young is doing and the newest Ranger let him know that when the two finally connected on the phone this morning.

"I want to know how he felt," Beltre said.  "I have huge respect for Michael. Playing against him for all these years, I know what kind of guy he is. I want to be part of his team. Him being here, allowing me to come and let me play third.  That means a lot.  I want him to know that."
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Roddy B Free. Sorta

He's jumping!  And shooting.

Rodrigue Beaubois has been cleared to begin taking jump shots and showed off at Mavericks practice this morning.  His three-point shot was good enough to beat Dominique Jones and DeShawen Stevenson in a little competition.

Beaubois told me on a Mavericks pre-game show in November that he had hoped to be back around the first of the year but now admits it's going to be a while longer.

"I don't know," he said "I still need more time."

How important was being able to jump, finally?

"It's big because I've been on the floor so long. Now I can go up. It's a first step. Now the conditioning part is going to be hard because I can feel that I am getting tired very quickly."

Beaubois was scheduled to see a team doctor today to track his progress.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Super Bowl 45: Be Ready to Pay to Play

Few things Super Bowl related are a bargain.  And if you want to experience Super Bowl 45 to its fullest, be ready to hand over some cash (or high-interest rate plastic).  Email offering Super Bowl 45 "packages" is filling my inbox and it continues to amaze me how many people are buyers.

Jetsetter.com is a site that bills itself as "a private online community that provides members with insider access, expert knowledge, and exclusive deals on the world's greatest vacations."  I've bought one or two hotel stays on the site as it offers relatively decent bargains at good properties. 

Jetsetter is offering five Super Bowl 45 packages ranging in price from $8300 to more than $23,000.  Each package offers game tickets, a three-night stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Addison, a bus ride to the game from the hotel and two tickets to the open-bar ESPN Game Day Super Party VIP Lounge.

The price for the Premium Package starts at $12,000 and offers two 100-200 level tickets in a corner and two tickets to the Pepsi Musica Super Bowl Fiesta at Nokia Live on February 4th.  There is a $14,000 Player Package that offers 100-300 level tickets between the end zone and 15 yard line and also comes with passes to the Leather & Laces party at Hotel Zaza (which I've also heard a certain musically-gifted celebrity couple is renting ....more on that later).

If you really want to break the bank, go for the MVP Package.  It features 100-200 Club level game tickets between the 15 and 25 yard lines, two VIP passes to the MAXIM Super Bowl Party, airport transfers, and an upgrade to a 750 square foot executive suite at the Intercontinental Hotel. 

How much will all this fabulocity set you back? $23,000.  Yeah.

Are you interested?

How much cash would you drop for a "Super Bowl Experience"?
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Mavs Fan Therapy: Time for a Hug and a Question

You're not making this up.  It's not some self-hatred you manifest.  The Wall Street Journal notes today that it really is tough to be a Mavericks fan.

"The Mavericks have had the best-ever 10-year stretch in the NBA without winning a championship. Through Saturday, they had gone 534-236 (.694) in the regular season since 2001-02. During that stretch, they earned a top-four seed in the Western Conference playoffs six times and won at least 60 games three times, but they reached the finals just once—losing to Miami in 2006. They have fallen in the first round in three of the past four seasons."

The article goes on to compare the Mavericks to the Utah Jazz of the 90's, those John Stockton/Karl Malone led teams that won 50 or more games in all but two seasons during the 90's but made the playoffs every year.  They won 64 games in the 96-97 season, 62 in 97-98 only to lose to the Bulls in the Finals twice.

The Mavericks have had regular season success.  They are a playoff fixture, making the postseason 10 straight years, second only to the Spurs who have 13 consecutive playoff appearances. From every email, tweet and Facebook post I get from you, I get the impression you're a little tired of it. 

Soooooooooooooo, would you give up some of that regular season success for just one championship, one parade and one year of bragging rights?  Would you take an NBA title if, say, like the big, bad Heat you won just 15 games a two years later?
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