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.
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.  
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!!!!!

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!"
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.
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
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 $$$.  
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.
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.

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.


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?

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.