Category Archives: Sports news

They’re getting anxious in Sod Poodles Land

I am hearing some faint — but growing — rumblings of excitement from up yonder on the Texas Panhandle, on the Caprock.

The fans of Amarillo’s Texas League champion Sod Poodles baseball team are counting down the days to the start of spring training in Arizona. The Sod Poodles will be preparing for their second-ever season alongside their parent club, the National League San Diego Padres.

It’s really quite cool for this former Amarillo resident to watch friends and former neighbors getting juiced up — no pun intended — in advance of the next season of hardball.

The Sod Poodles had the good fortune to win the Texas League pennant in their first season. Now comes Season No. 2. The team’s fans are getting hyped up. Heck, so am I … and I no longer live there!

Still, the Sod Poodles will play some games near where we live these days in Princeton. The Frisco Roughriders play in the same league as the Sod Poodles.

I’ll get a chance to watch the Sod Poodles this season just down the road a bit in Frisco. I’ll be there yelling loudly for the Sod Poodles.

I cannot join the fans in Arizona as the team prepares for their new season. It still excites me to see the anticipation building in the Panhandle.

‘No!’ to reinstating Pete Rose

I am directing these brief remarks to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Mr. Commissioner, do not knuckle or buckle under the pressure to reinstate Pete Rose, to bring the former Charlie Hustle back into MLB’s good graces. Rose has asked Manfred to be reinstated. He cites the relatively light punishment given to the Houston Astros for their high-tech sign-stealing in the 2017 World Series. C’mon, man. That’s apples and oranges.

Rose bet on baseball games. The MLB rules, which the commissioners knows better than I do, state categorically: Anyone who bets on big-league baseball games is subject to a lifetime ban from the game.

Lifetime ban needs to mean what it declares.

Pete Rose is still drawing breath among us. He broke a clear-cut, unambiguous rule. He should pay the price that he received from one of Manfred’s esteemed predecessors, the late A. Bartlett Giamatti.

Yes, he played a great game of hardball … even with supposedly limited athletic skill. He bet on baseball seemingly because he had a fetish he couldn’t control.

That’s too bad. He broke the rules. Pete Rose doesn’t deserve reinstatement.

Oops, the Chiefs play in, um, Missouri

To borrow a word … oops!

Someone forgot to tell the current president of the United States that the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs play their football in Missouri, which is across the Missouri River from the city in Kansas that shares the same name.

I am not going to beat up in Donald John Trump too badly over this gaffe, although I likely should.

Hey, the president has told us more often than many of us can count how smart, erudite, worldly he is. He calls himself a “very stable genius.”

It’s just that someone as smart as the president claims to be should know where the professional football champions do their blocking and tackling.

 

Look for big Texas connection to Chiefs’ big win

I am going out just a bit on a limb here, but I am betting that the Texas media are going to find every possible connection between this state and the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory in Super Bowl LIV.

The Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in a thriller. The score was 31-20, but the game was a barn burner.

The Texas connection? Well, let’s see.

  • Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was born in Tyler, Texas, in the eastern part of the state. He attended Texas Tech University in the western part of Texas. It’s been noted that football-mad Texas now can claim that a pure Texas product has won the biggest pro football game of the year.
  •  The Chiefs were born as the Dallas Texans. A Dallas businessman, Lamar Hunt, created the Texans and joined them with the American Football League. They moved to KC in 1963, changed their name to the Chiefs and won the 1970 Super Bowl against the Minnesota Vikings.
  •  Clark Hunt, son of the late Chiefs founder, is the current owner of the team. Clark Hunt was 4 years old when the Chiefs won their first Super Bowl. He still lives in Dallas.

Do you get where I’m going with this?

Sure, the team plays its home games in far-off Kansas City, Mo. A lot of football fans here in Texas, though, won’t let the Chiefs and their fans know about this team’s roots.

Will the Sod Poodles’ fans show up at spring training?

Here is a test for how loyal and dedicated the Amarillo Sod Poodles’ fan base has become.

The Sod Poodles will be training in Arizona this spring alongside their parent National League club, the San Diego Padres. For what it’s worth the Padres will compete in the Cactus League against other teams that are getting themselves into playing shape for the 2020 Major League season.

The Sod Poodles already have demonstrated that their fan base loves the team. I mean, they packed Hodgetown game after game during the Soddies’ initial season in the Texas League. They cheered the Sod Poodles on to a league championship.

I am going to presume that the dedicated fans will trek out west to cheer for the team as it preps for the upcoming Class AA season.

While living in Beaumont, I became friends with a dedicated Houston Astros’ fan who every spring would travel to Florida to cheer the ‘Stros on as they prepared for the next season of hardball. He wasn’t alone.

I look forward to hearing how the Soddies’ fans respond to Season No. 2 of their team’s quest to retain the league championship.

Loving the Chiefs’ back story

I am happy to proclaim that for the first time since I cannot remember I actually have an interest in professional football’s final game of the 2019-20 season.

Super Bowl LIV is coming up. I am pulling hard for the Kansas City Chiefs to win against the San Francisco 49ers.

I have not a single thing against the Niners. They’re a fine team, coming from a fine program. They have wonderful fans; a beloved member of my family is one of them. They have a storied history of winning the Super Bowl.

Which brings me to one of the key reasons why I am pulling for the Chiefs.

You know perhaps already that I am a staunch American Football Conference fan, owing to my previous allegiance to the American Football League, of which the Chiefs are a charter member, although they did enter the AFL as the Dallas Texans; the Texans moved to KC in 1963.

The Chiefs have played in two Super Bowls, the first one and the fourth one. They lost the initial AFL-NFL World Championship Game — which wasn’t even yet called the “Super Bowl” — in 1967; the Green Bay Packers beat the Chiefs 35-10. Ahh, but the Chiefs came back in 1970 to defeat the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings; the score was 23-7.

So, it’s been 50 years since the Chiefs lined up in the Super Bowl. Fifty years! The 49ers have been to six of them. What’s more, the 49ers have won five of their Super Bowl games. Do you get where I’m going with this?

The Chiefs are long overdue to play, let alone win, this media extravaganza that now masquerades as a football game.

Do I care about the halftime show? Or the commercials? Maybe the halftime show; I mean, who can look away from Shakira and JLo, eh? The commercials … not so much.

I am intently interested in the behemoths who’ll be beating the daylights out of each other during the game.

So, there you have it.

Pass the popcorn.

Kobe Bryant’s death has robbed world of future greatness

It is beginning to sink in.

Kobe Bryant’s death this morning in a fiery helicopter crash — along with the demise of his young daughter and seven other people — has brought tears to the eyes of grown men.

They are crying over the memory of Bryant’s remarkable basketball skills, which elevated him to “legend” status over a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Although I appreciate the amazing talent he exhibited for virtually all that span of time, I was not a giant Kobe fan. I have cheered other contemporary NBA stars more fervently.

Kobe Bryant’s death saddens me nonetheless.

What is sinking in, though, as I listen to commentators offer various perspectives on this young man is the sense of a future realm of greatness that was yet to be built.

I have heard most of the evening about all the projects he intended to pursue. They involved his daughter Gianna’s desire to be a pro basketball player. Gianna, tragically, was among the victims in that helicopter crash. His projects involved working with inner-city youth to show them the path out of despair. Bryant wanted to parlay his good name to do good for others.

Bryant played his last pro season in 2016, just three seasons ago. He won his share of pro basketball championships; he won many individual honors; he achieved all he could possibly could during a career that began straight out of high school, as he chose to forgo a college education before getting paid big money to play pro basketball.

However, I am feeling increasingly saddened by the loss over this great athlete’s accomplishments not yet achieved.

So very tragic.

Milking the D/FW connection for all it’s worth

I cannot help but chuckle at the Dallas-Fort Worth media’s concentration on a certain aspect of the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs, who are heading to the next Super Bowl next month in Miami.

It’s the Dallas connection that gives me a giggle or two.

The Chiefs came into being in 1960 as the Dallas Texans. Then the owner of the franchise moved the team to Kansas City, where they became the Chiefs. The owner was Lamar Hunt, a young Dallas business mogul. He went on to build the Chiefs into an American Football League powerhouse.

The Hunt family has retained its Dallas roots. Lamar Hunt is now deceased. His son, Clark, runs the Chiefs. Clark Hunt still lives in Dallas.

The media are all over the Dallas connection and keep reminding viewers and readers that the Chiefs are actually direct descendants of the team that was born in Dallas but gravitated a bit north nearly 60 years ago.

It’s OK. You have to look for ways to retain interest among viewers and readers. The media here are doing their level best in that regard.

So cool to see the KC Chiefs return to the Big Game … 50 years later!

Allow me this moment of pro football joy, given that I don’t really follow the professional game as I used to do when I was a kid.

The Kansas City Chiefs are heading back to the Super Bowl, a game they have played twice. The lost the first one. They won their second game.

Here’s the deal: The first game occurred in 1967 against the Green Bay Packers, who won that contest 35-10 in the very first championship game that didn’t even have the name “Super Bowl” yet attached to it; the Chiefs’ second appearance was in 1970 against the Minnesota Vikings, which the Chiefs won 23-7.

Let’s see. That’s 50 years between that second appearance the game they are going to play soon in Miami against either the Packers or the San Francisco 49ers.

You might know already that I am a diehard American Football Conference fan, particularly of those teams that merged in 1970 with the National Football League. The Chiefs were among those former AFL franchises to join the rival NFL.

So … here we go. Now that you know about my AFC preference, I supposed you can presume — correctly, I should add — that I don’t have a favorite for whom the Chiefs should play in the next Super Bowl. I say that with reluctance, given that I have a very close family member who lives just south of SF Bay and is an avid 49ers fan. Too bad, sis. We all have our bias.

I believe 50 years is more than enough time to lapse between winning the Super Bowl trophy, which now carries the name of the late Vince Lombardi, the legendary Packers coach who, I hasten to add, led the Pack to that initial AFL-NFL championship victory over those long-ago Kansas City Chiefs.

The here and now is upon us. I am delighted to see the Chiefs set to play for the championship of the NFL.