Tag Archives: Texas Rangers

Sexual abuse story now heads for Texas

Larry Nassar, the serial sexual assailant, has settled into his new “home,” which happens to be a Michigan prison, where he will spend the rest of his miserable life.

The story of this monster is still unfolding, in Texas.

Nassar — a former physician — was sentenced to 175 years in prison after he was convicted of sexual assault of young women and girls while they were under his medical care at Michigan State University. His victims were young gymnasts, some of whom were Olympic champions.

The Texas connection? Several of the women contend that they were abused while they trained under the eyes of Bela and Martha Karolyi at their famed “ranch” near Houston.

Gov. Greg Abbott has deployed the Texas Rangers — the elite investigative arm of the Department of Public Safety — to look into the allegations of abuse that have been leveled against the Karolyis.

The Texas Tribune reports: “The public statements made by athletes who previously trained at the Karolyi Ranch are gut-wrenching,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “Those athletes, as well as all Texans, deserve to know that no stone is left unturned to ensure that the allegations are thoroughly vetted and the perpetrators and enablers of any such misconduct are brought to justice. The people of Texas demand, and the victims deserve, nothing less.”

Indeed.

I have supreme confidence that the Texas Rangers will get to the truth, whatever it is and whomever it involves.

Nassar’s conviction and sentence already have brought down members of the U.S. gymnastics association, as well as the Michigan State president and athletic director.

I am not going to bet against the Rangers finding more culprits lurking right here, in Texas.

Now, that is going to be some ballpark

baseball

Amarillo is getting ready — soon, I hope — to unveil plans for construction of a baseball park downtown.

Its price tag has inflated a bit, from $32 million to around $50 million — give or take. The plan is to lure a Class Double-A baseball team that’s affiliated with the San Diego Padres of the National League. The team would relocate here from San Antonio, which is seeking to bring a Class Triple-A team from Colorado Springs.

Musical chairs, anyone?

Get a load, though, of what they’re planning for Arlington, Texas, where the Texas Rangers play hardball in the American League.

The city leaders want to replace a 22-year-old ballpark with a $900 million structure. Good deal, yes? I guess so. These ballparks cost a lot of dough these days.

I only wish the Arlington folks would drop the idea of putting a roof on the new stadium, presuming it will be approved by voters who will be asked for their blessing.

Read about it here:

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/arlington/article78764147.html

I happen to be a baseball traditionalist. I dislike playing an outdoor game under a roof. You play basketball in gymnasiums, not baseball. For that matter, you also play baseball on grass, not something called “artificial turf.”

Don’t get me started on the designated hitter, pine tar and all the body armor that batters wear when they’re facing a fastball-throwing pitcher.

When the Amarillo ballpark gets rolled out, my sincere hope is that the architects that the Local Government Corporation will hire will keep it simple.

I am not thrilled at the escalated cost of the ballpark — aka the multipurpose event venue — but it can be kept somewhat in check if we dispense a measure of the glitz and glamor that’s likely to be built into that showcase down yonder in Arlington.

Bat flips: the latest in showing up fellow athletes

brawl

Let’s talk a little baseball … shall we?

They had a big fight yesterday during a game between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays.

It featured a nicely thrown straight right thrown by the Rangers’ Rougned Odor against the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista. It landed flush on the side of Bautista’s jaw.

Muhammad Ali would’ve been proud.

I’m not sure we’re seeing more of these fights these days in baseball, where the brawls generally become a sort of comedy of errors. Your average baseball player isn’t the handiest with his dukes … although many of us still marvel at the time 45-year-old Nolan Ryan clamped a headlock on the much-younger Robin Ventura and delivered about a dozen blows to the top of Ventura’s noggin.

The cause of these baseball fights rests often with players’ knack for showing up guys on the other team.

I refer to “bat flips,” which have become the insult du jour on the baseball diamond. Bautista likes to flip his bat when he hits home runs. It’s meant to stick it in the eye of the pitcher who threw the ball that Bautista has just deposited in the outfield seats.

Pitchers don’t like being shown up.

They’ve been known to respond by throwing at or near the head of the next batter — or waiting until the bat-flipping offender comes to bat the next time.

I dislike the idea of showboating on the field. There’s really and truly no need for it. These men get paid a lot of money to play a kids’ game. That doesn’t mean they have to act like kids.

I recall listening on the radio to an interview that talk-show host Jim Rome was having with Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt. They were talking about how batters sometimes stand in the batter’s box and “admire” the home run they’ve just hit before taking off on their home run trot.

Schmidt didn’t like the way hitters would act when they hit one out.

He told Rome of how it was in the old days. If a player were to do something like to a pitcher, they’d be sure to take a high, hard one somewhere on their body the next time they came to bat.

Schmidt mentioned a couple of the meanest pitchers ever to throw a hardball: Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson. You show either of those guys up, Schmidt recalled, and you were going to pay for it … guaranteed!

So, let’s just play the game.

As for showing off after hitting a home run, I’ll borrow a quote from a coach who participated in another sport. It might have been Vince Lombardi who told his players when “you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”

 

Is Austin a ‘thorn’ in the Republicans’ side?

An interesting back story is profiled by an Associated Press story about how Texas Republicans are trying — finally — to remove what some have called a “thorn” in the GOP side.

The city of Austin is just a pain in the Republicans’ rear end.

This liberal bastion — nicknamed by some as The People’s Republic of Austin — keeps electing progressive politicians, which of course is the city’s prerogative. Why not? The Texas capital city is thriving. Its population is booming with high-tech employees, educators and learned professionals moving there.

Someone is doing something right there. About the most serious gripe one hears about Austin is the traffic, worsened by the fact that it’s the largest city in the country with just a single interstate highway coursing through it.

Texas Republicans, though — who control every statewide office in Texas and comprise a super-majority in the Legislature — have had enough of those liberals who populate public offices in Austin and Travis County.

http://news.yahoo.com/texas-gop-tries-pluck-liberal-thorn-side-182836892.html

As the story notes, the “last straw” was the Travis County grand jury’s indictment of then-Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts: abuse of power and coercion of a public official.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s office runs the Public Integrity Unit, which investigates allegations of wrong doing by state officials. Lehmberg, though, got herself into a jam in 2013 when she pleaded guilty to drunken driving. She should have quit, but didn’t. Perry then insisted that she quit. Still, she didn’t. Then he threatened to withhold money appropriated by the Legislature for the Public Integrity Unit if she didn’t step down. She stayed. Then he vetoed the money.

The grand jury said he shouldn’t have done it that way. Thus, the indictment.

The 2015 Legislature has taken action against Austin. The Public Integrity Unit has been moved out of the DA’s office and put under the authority of the Texas Rangers, an arm of the Department of Public Safety, whose head is appointed by, um, the governor, who now happens to be Republican Greg Abbott.

Oh, but hey. They’re going to take politics out of it, isn’t that right?

Sure thing.

Meanwhile, Austin and Travis County voters will get to continue electing politicians more to their liking.

Keep it up, folks.