Dallas Stars to Begin First Playoffs of Young Fan’s Life

Since I took him to his first hockey game, my son Zachary has become the biggest Stars fan I know while simultaneously, given his stature, being the smallest Stars fan I know. He listens to all of their games on the radio (we don’t have cable), then watches the highlights online. After seeing an in-arena promo for Little Rookies, the Stars’ free hockey lessons for kids ages 4-8, he begged me to sign him up.

Tonight, the Stars will skate in the playoffs for the first time since Zachary was born. To preview the postseason, I bring you this exclusive interview he granted me when I got home from work last night.

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Outside Magazine Editors Hate Dallas. Do You Care?

As Eric Nicholson has pointed out, the editors of Outside magazine have declared Dallas the “least outdoorsy” city in America. And while only the extreme fringe of civic boosters would claim that Dallas can compete outdoors-wise with cities like Portland or Seattle, how can they claim our city is the absolute worst?

Eric ran through the criteria that Outside used and demonstrates that the numbers don’t add up:

Curiouser still, Dallas’ Green City Index and Park Score put it firmly in the middle of the pack among U.S. cities. Among the five “least outdoorsy” runners up, Dallas has the highest Green City score, besting Cleveland and Detroit by enormous margins and squeaking by Charlotte (Memphis and Fresno, Outdoor‘s two other worsts, aren’t even included on the index). Dallas’ Park Score ranking (26) is one spot behind Cleveland, tied with Detroit, and better than Fresno (50), Charlotte (47) and Memphis (42).

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Leading Off (4/14/14)

One Year Later, Full Scope of Injuries From West Explosion Remain Unknown. The Dallas Morning News reports that the official government survey doesn’t account for people who were treated at private medical facilities as well as those whose injuries (brain injuries, hearing loss, PTSD) developed after the blast. Now, as safety regulations are up for discussion, and lawsuits are working their way through the system, the county is working to conduct a more comprehensive study.

Jordan Spieth Finishes Second at Masters. The 20-year-old from North Texas gave Bubba Watson a solid run for the green jacket but ultimately fell just short, finishing second in Augusta. He would have been the youngest person to ever win the Masters. From a quick Google search (my golf knowledge is not up to par), it looks like should Spieth win next year, he’ll share that record with Tiger Woods.

John Wiley Price Still Under Investigation, Still No Charges Filed. But the DMN is reporting that court documents in the federal investigation show decades of incidents and suspect dealings, stretching all the way back to the mid-1970s. Price is being accused of, among other things, money laundering, influence-peddling, and bankruptcy fraud.

Margaret Crow Dies at 94. The wife of real estate developer Trammell Crow, Margaret Crow was a philanthropist and, as Jeanne Prejean writes, had the kind of life story that makes for great movies. The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art opened in 1998 in the Arts District. She passed away Friday at her home.

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Dallas Stars Extend Ralph and Razor’s Contracts

Dallas Stars fans will have a second reason to celebrate today if their team beats the St. Louis Blues and clinches a playoff berth. Here’s the first reason to celebrate: The Stars have extended the contracts of broadcasters Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh, who are in their 24th and 18th seasons, respectively, with the team. Through the franchise’s on-ice ups and downs, these two have been an on-air pleasure.

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Why Is Arlington, Texas, Sports Capital of the U.S.?

Grantland writer Bryan Curtis spent a few days in A-Town, over Final Four Weekend, to learn more about this strange place that’s hosted the Super Bowl, two World Series, the NBA All-Star Game, among other major sports events, in the last few years, and which next year will host the college football national championship:

Yet no one raised outside “North Texas” knows much of Arlington — nor do they seem eager to find out. The NCAA’s parties during March Madness took place 20 miles east of Arlington, in Dallas. ESPN built its open-air set in Fort Worth, 15 miles west. These slights activated Arlington’s inferiority complex, as if the city were a puny referee throwing a tipoff between two all-conference centers. A former Arlington mayor once declared, “We’re nobody’s damn suburb.”

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Leading Off (4/7/14)

TxDOT Land Purchases Under Federal Investigation. This is what we know: In 2009, businessmen Kevin Bollman and Wade Blackburn started snatching up land the state would eventually need to widen I-35E in Denton County and make repairs in Dallas. They say they used public records in deciding where to buy. By 2011, the state was purchasing large swaths of the land, costing taxpayers millions. Now, the whole ordeal is under investigation.

Final Four Festivities Wrap Tonight. It’s been one heck of a weekend, no? The March Madness Music Festival finished off its three days of fun last night with a three-hour Bruce Springsteen show. The cold and rain kept the space from filling to capacity, but those who made it out were certainly rewarded. Tonight, Connecticut faces Kentucky (sigh) in the National Championship Game. And then, we can all set our sights on whether DFW will be home to the Final Four again in 2017.

Rain Pushes Duck Commander 500 to Today. For hours, attempts were made to get the track ready for the race, but it just wasn’t possible. The race is now scheduled for 11 a.m. today at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Country Music Awards Headed Here in 2015. In more big event news, Jerry Jones is bringing the awards show to AT&T Stadium next April. He was on hand for the announcement last night in Las Vegas.

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Conan O’Brien Says Goodbye to Dallas, or Dallas-Fort Worth, or North Texas

The best part of last night’s final Dallas episode of Conan O’Brien’s show was the return of the Walker, Texas Ranger lever. It was a great recurring feature on O’Brien’s old Late Night show on NBC, and his trip to Dallas spurred him to bring it out of retirement. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty simple: he has a lever that, each time he pulls it, plays another awesomely bad clip from the 1990s North Texas-made drama starring Chuck Norris.

The segment doesn’t seem to be posted online, probably because that would have involved paying more for the rights to the Walker clips. But it included an audience member (who will likely be insufferably full of himself for the rest of his life as a result) coming on stage to pull the lever once, plus an appearance by four Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

For the finale, Conan showed the most famous of all his Walker lever clips, which features Haley Joel Osment. It is real, and it is spectacular. You can see it for yourself on this old Late Night clip.

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Leading Off (4/4/14)

Storms Pummel Denton and Collin Counties. Last night as the weather rolled through, tornadoes were spotted, cars and buildings were damaged, Twitter feeds were filled with photos of huge chunks of hail, and most of the “G.I. Joe” episode of Community was preempted by nonstop meteorology. So, yes, the damage was severe.

SMU Loses NIT Championship Game. Though the Mustangs led by seven points with about six minutes left, they fell to Minnesota, 65-63, at New York’s Madison Square Garden. “We didn’t handle prosperity very well,” SMU coach Larry Brown said. “We had some terrible turnovers in the guts of the game.”

Transportation Official Says Poor Left Out of I-345 Debate. Michael Morris of the North Central Texas Council of Governments claims the voices of minorities have been missing from the discussion over the future of a stretch of road that connects U.S. Highway 75 and Interstates 30 and 35 in downtown Dallas. Morris says proponents of the effort to remove the highway are white, wealthy, and they don’t live in the neighborhood. Urban planner Patrick Kennedy, who’s spearheaded the effort, said his group is beginning to reach out to South Dallas neighborhoods to discuss their ideas for the corridor. NCTCOG released estimates Thursday that two-thirds of the 200,000 daily trips on the road are coming from or driving to somewhere in Dallas.

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New Nicknames For Dirk Nowitzki

The best part of last night’s Conan show was the appearance by the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, who administered the host a “Texas citizenship test.” During the bit, Dirk launched into a recitation of acceptable nicknames for himself, in addition to “The Dunking Deutschman.” We need to adopt one of these immediately:

  • Dirk Diggler
  • The German Wunderkind
  • The Germanator
  • The 7-Foot Schnitzel
  • The Berlin Tall
  • Super Streudel
  • Baron von Slamminstein
  • Admiral von Slamminhausen
  • Kaiser von Dunkinslammin
  • Der Dunkinschnitzel
  • Der Dribblemeister
  • Der Dunkinmeister
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Prediction: The Texas Rangers Will Not Win the 2014 World Series

That is not an especially bold prediction. Always take the field. Vegas’ favorite to win the Major League Baseball championship is the Los Angeles Dodgers, but you’d be wise to bet that one of the other 29 teams will beat them out too.

Today’s Opening Day at the Ballpark in Arlington (I know that’s not the official name anymore.) First pitch is at 1:05 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Rangers of this year look quite different from the team that took the field in 2013. Gone are Nelson Cruz, Craig Gentry, Ian Kinsler, David Murphy, and Joe Nathan, among others. In are headliners Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo. They will be a competitive team, so long as they can tread water well enough while their many injured players heal. The earliest they can hope to have the full strength of the roster that they’d hoped to have this season is late June. It could be a long first half.

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Your Texas Rangers Are in Pain to Start the Season

The Texas Rangers open their 2014 campaign next Monday at Spheroid Vitality Park in Arlington against heated rivals middling acquaintances, the Phillies. Former Rangers playoff hero Cliff Lee will take the mound for Philadelphia, but Texas will not be able to counter with staff ace Yu Darvish. Today we learn that a stiff neck will keep him out of the game and could force him to start the season on the disabled list.

It’s just the latest in a slew of injures the team has suffered.

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Why Dirk Nowitzki is the Most Under-Appreciated NBA Superstar

I’ve probably written more words about Dirk Nowitzki than any other subject I’ve written about, about half of which have been the phrase “I SEE YOU, BIG GERMAN!” It’s long been my contention that, despite all Dirk has done for basketball in Dallas, he’s never been fully appreciated by the city. Liked? For sure. Loved? Definitely by more than a few. But that’s different than appreciated. The folks at ESPN’s True Hoop site were kind enough to let me expound on that idea here as part of its True Cities series. And I managed not to say “I SEE YOU, BIG GERMAN” even once.

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