Category Archives: Sports news

Tiger is ‘bigger than the game’

Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it, but I believe most eyes tomorrow belonging to golf fanatics are waiting to see how one pro golfer performs at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.

That golfer is Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.

He hasn’t played much competitive golf in recent years, having to recover from surgeries and the effects of that near-fatal car crash in California.

Woods is teeing it up tomorrow. A lot of fans — and I am one of them — want Woods to do well. If he doesn’t and falls out of the race for the trophy early, well, I am not likely to watch much of the event.

That is, unless one of the older guys rises to the top, which can — and does — happen on occasion.

Still, I am rooting for the fellow who truly is larger than the game he plays.

End the all-star games!

Here’s a thought, and I admit it’s not an original one … but the National Basketball Association needs to end the annual all-star game.

The same for the National Football League and the National Hockey League. End ’em! Don’t bother putting on these charades where the athletes play zero defense.

The NBA’s latest disaster this past weekend had one of the teams scoring 211 points. 211 points! What the hell?

This is preposterous! I get that the athletes don’t want to get hurt. I don’t blame them for that. I do believe that the NBA is doing a disservice to them and to the fans who show up to watch these guys perform. Same for the NFL, which too often has players going through the blocking and tackling motions. Oh, and the NHL, which often produces all-star games with scores like 12-10.

OK, that all said, Major League Baseball should continue its all-star contests, which because of the nature of the sport can produce actual competition featuring players working hard to win the game.

Perhaps the most famous — or infamous — MLB all-star moment came in 1970 when Cincinnati’s Pete Rose sought to score a run and crashed into Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse who was guarding the plate. Rose was running full tilt down the third base line. The crash injured Fosse so seriously that he never was able to play the game at a high level; the event essentially ended his playing career.

The rest of the major pro sports leagues, though, need not bother to stage these idiotic exhibitions. They aren’t worth watching.

Dallas Stadium? For real … ?

A mild bit of grumbling can be heard in some North Texas communities over the temporary renaming of AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The place — known colloquially as Jerry World — was named over the weekend as a semifinal site for the 2026 World Cup soccer tournament. The locals had hoped the place would become a site for the finals. But … no dice.

FIFA, the World Cup governing body, doesn’t like to have corporate names on its venues, so it demanded they take down the name of the telecommunications giant. The new name?

Dallas Stadium!

The name has rankled some folks. I tend to agree with their hurt feelings.

The place is 30-some miles from Dallas. It’s closer to Fort Worth than to Big D. I can think of several non-corporate names one could have put on the place other than Dallas Stadium.

North Texas Stadium. D/FW Stadium. Arlington Stadium. They all come to mind. I’d even settle for Cowboys Stadium.

It just ain’t in Dallas. I get that FIFA wanted to have a name associated with the largest city in the region. That would be Dallas, with its towering skyline full of gleaming office buildings. Then again, Fort Worth has its share of cowboy glitz and glamor, too.

I should point out as well that the Dallas Cowboys, the pro football team that calls the place home, hasn’t played in Dallas since the team’s founding in 1960, when they played their home games in the Cotton Bowl. They have since moved to Irving and then to Arlington … where team owner Jerry Jones built the place now known temporarily as Dallas Stadium.

As for the grumblers, well, I’m with ’em.

Get real, theorists

Conspiracy theorists, seemingly to a person, seemingly have too much time on their hands.

Thus, they need to find something to occupy their usually vacuous skulls. Absent anything constructive, they are left to concoct idiotic theories that simply defy any sense of what’s real.

Example? The conspiracy theory du jour involves the Kansas City Chiefs, their tight end Travis Kelce and his girlfriend Taylor Swift. The Chiefs and Kelcie are playing in the Super Bowl a week from Sunday. The conspiracists have come up with a beaut, I’m going to tell ya.

Republicans across the land have glommed onto a notion that the National Football League has rigged the Super Bowl to ensure that the Chiefs defeat the San Francisco 49ers, that Kelce will bring his squeeze onto the field to celebrate and that Swift will endorse President Biden’s bid for re-election on the spot.

Supposedly well-informed conservative talking heads are actually breathing life into this nonsense by endorsing the notion they said could possibly be true.

Oh, my ever-lovin’ goodness. The insanity of it makes me want to hurl.

This kind of baloney too often takes on a life of its own. I mean, we do live in an era of social media where such nonsense spreads so damn quickly that the truth never seems to catch up.

I should point out, too, that Kelce happens to be a pro-vaxxer, displaying proudly in recent days a bandage on his arm that reveals his belief in the vaccines that protect him against contagions such as, oh … the COVID-19 virus. That’s anathema to the right-wing MAGA crowd that looks for reasons to despise public figures.

Social media is pervasive to be sure. It produces plenty of good in this world of ours. It also is largely to blame for the nonsense that permeates the atmosphere, which then gains even more traction when ostensibly bright people believe it.

Try someone new … Jerry

Jerry Jones, the egomaniacal owner of the Dallas Cowboys, won’t accept any advice from someone who in truth doesn’t really give a crap about the organization he calls “America’s Team.”

But I’m going to offer it anyway.

A Dallas man submitted a letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News, which published it in this morning’s paper. The fan writes that the team has gone “28 long years” since it last played for an NFL championship; the team has burned through 1,484 players, six head coaches and one general manager. “Can you guess the common denominator for all these … failures?” he writes.

Sure. That’s Jones, who doubles as GM as well as the guy who signs the ample paychecks.

Jones’s ego compels him to pretend he knows something about pro football. He won’t give up the GM post to a real football pro. But he damn sure should.

The Cowboys choked this past weekend against a team described as “upstart.” The Green Bay Packers came to play tackle football. The Cowboys didn’t. There likely should be a coaching change in the Cowboys’ immediate future.

As for the GM matter, that’s up to the owner … who must decide whether to “fire” himself and then hire someone who knows how to build and maintain a professional football team.

That won’t happen. It certainly should, if only the owner’s ego would allow it.

Pac-12 goes out swinging

Let’s talk a little college football … shall we?

The Pac-12 in reality is now down to just the Pac-2: Oregon State and Washington State. All the other schools have bolted to other conferences and will play tackle ball with their new colleagues beginning this summer.

However, the Pac-12 is going out on a high note, with one of the former Pacific Coast teams, the Washington Huskies, preparing to play next week for the national collegiate championship against the Michigan Wolverines.

The rest of the teams that played in bowl games have done fairly well. The Pac-12 stands at 3-3. My Oregon Ducks took care of business 45-6 against Liberty University in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day. On the flip side, the Oregon State Beavers got walloped by Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl, 40-9, which is no disgrace given Notre Dame’s legendary football tradition.

Where do we stand? Oregon is joining the Big 10, along with Washington, USC and UCLA, next season. The Ducks and Beavers still will play their annual rivalry game. Other Pac-12 schools are joining the Big 12, but it’s not clear where OSU and WSU will end up.

For now, my Pacific Northwest loyalty compels me to root for the Huskies to defeat the Wolverines and bring home the national championship trophy to the NW.

Besides, Oregon’s two losses this year were to the Huskies, so if the Ducks are going to live with those losses, then they should take solace in knowing that they lost only — by a total of seven points in both games combined — to the national champs.

Going back to the beginning

Back in the olden days, I was a young whipper snapper looking to break into the newspaper industry as an up-and-coming reporter.

We had a weekly newspaper in my hometown of Portland, Ore., that decided to hire me as a part-time sportswriter. It was the Community Press. I worked for a guy who served as sports editor; he later went on to work as a reporter for the Oregonian. I went on to something else, too.

But now, nearly 50 years later, I am going back to the beginning in my freelance capacity while working for KETR-FM public radio. I am going to cover a college football bowl game. The Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl awaits next Tuesday.

I won’t cover the game, reporting on the snaps, touchdowns, turnovers, and the final score. Instead, I am going to focus on one team’s rather dramatic rise to bowl-quality football. University of Texas-San Antonio built a football program from scratch over the course of just 12 years. The Roadrunners are now going to face off against Marshall University in the Frisco Bowl.

This is quite a novel assignment. I write a feature each month for KETR.org; my boss at the Texas A&M-Commerce radio station publishes the feature on the station’s website. Honest to goodness, I am really looking forward to covering this game and reporting to our readers and listeners about how UTSA rose so quickly to a bowl-quality college football program.

I’ll have to dust off my knowledge of football lingo so that I can know what I’m writing. It’ll come back to me quickly.

What a way to go!

Someone has to explain this one to me, because my sometimes-pointy head can’t quite grasp certain realities.

OK, Texas A&M University fired head football coach Jimbo Fisher over the weekend after the Aggies blew out Mississippi State by 40 points or so. That means that Fisher — for whatever reason — wasn’t doing the job the Aggies expected of him.

So, does the coach clear out his office and skulk away into the night like a scorned hound dog? Oh, no.

Dude gets tens of millions of dollars! The university is going to pay Fisher $75 million over the course of several years. The money, according to the Texas Tribune, will come from “donor dollars from the school’s 12th Man Foundation and athletic department funds.”

“The decision to part ways with Coach Fisher is the result of a thorough evaluation of the football program’s performance, and what’s in the best interest of the overall program and Texas A&M University,” the school said in a statement.

“The best interest of the overall program” obviously didn’t include Coach Fisher. Which meant he wasn’t doing the job!

What in the world am I missing here?

How ’bout them ex-Soddies?

I just have to give a shout-out to my many friends in Amarillo and the surrounding area who have been spending many days and evenings at Hodgetown cheering for the minor league baseball team, the Sod Poodles.

You see, a lot of those former Soddies now are suiting up for the Arizona Diamondbacks of the National League; the Diamondbacks are the “parent” club of the Sod Poodles, so when a Soddie does well, he gets a chance to play in the Big Leagues. Thus, they have earned their way into the Bigs and starting Friday will be playing in the World Series … arguably the greatest sports event in the world.

I won’t join them in rooting for the D’Backs. My loyalty lies with the American League champion Texas Rangers, whose accomplishments have lit a fire under big-league baseball fans in the Metroplex, where I now reside.

I do think it’s cool, though, for Amarillo to lay claim as it will to one of the teams playing for the Commissioners Trophy. Therefore, I salute y’all and let’s hope for a World Series for the ages.

‘Home-field advantage’?

OK, kids, we now know the first two games of the 2023 Major League Baseball World Series will occur at Globe-Life Field in Arlington, giving the Texas Rangers “home-field advantage” in the best-of-seven series.

But … wait. Is that “advantage” worth having?

The Rangers and the Houston Astros played their guts out in the American League Championship Series. The “away” team won every game. The Rangers won their four games against the ‘Stros in Houston.

So, this year, allow me to declare that the “home-field advantage” that the Rangers have might not matter … unless of course they can peel away one win on their home field.