Reason No. 27 that I love this guy: Dirk Nowitzki says he’ll take a “significant pay cut” next summer so that the team will have a better shot at signing another superstar (like Chris Paul, hopefully). ESPNDallas’ Tim MacMahon reports that Dirk says, “At this point of my career, it’s all about competing and winning. It’s not about money.” Swoon.
On the front page of today’s Dallas Morning News, sources say the Dallas Cowboys may abandon their practice facility in Valley Ranch for greener pastures in Frisco or Arlington. Irving, the Cowboys’ home for more than 25 years, is also in the mix. But the story says nothing about Dallas. Come on, Mayor Rawlings. You want to Grow South? Get America’s Team back in Big D. Personally, I find the concept of the Cowboys neither practicing nor playing in Dallas County offensive — and that’s coming from a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan.
What a difference in attitude a couple of months have made for Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne. As Krista mentioned earlier, AT&T and Dallas have (nearly) finalized snatching the very lucrative Byron Nelson PGA tournament away from Irving—a deal the mayor was understandably upset about earlier in the year.
In an April story in D CEO magazine she told writer Art Stricklin: “From Day One we have been partners with the city of Dallas. The mayors of Dallas and Arlington, Fort Worth, and Irving agreed that we were not competing with each other. … [But] this seems to be the aim of taking a golden nugget from one city to another city.”
Now, though, Van Duyne apparently has got her mind right about things. The Nelson “is and has always been a regional event,” she told today’s DMN. “The tournament is bigger than any one city and benefits every community in North Texas.” As she spoke harps may or may not have been playing in the background.
Taylor Thornton is a Hockaday kid who plays lacrosse at Northwestern. She’s one of the finalists in this year’s voting for Female College Athlete of the Year. You can cast your vote for her here. There’s just one problem: Thornton is up against a lady by the name of Brittney Griner. And they are both up against an apparently popular Oregon volleyball and basketball player named Liz Brenner, who leads with 29 percent of the votes.
Today at lunch, while working out, between monster sets of biceps-blasting curls, I watched Sarah-Jane Perry, with her charming British accent, bitch out a squash umpire for not calling a let. Perry is a 6-foot-tall right-handed pro squash player who is ranked No. 20 in the world and who turns 23 next Wednesday. You probably already knew that. Me, I had to look it up. And while I’m on the subject, why don’t they list the heights and weights of lady squash players? They do it for the men. This is relevant information!
Today, Perry was playing a Dutchwoman by the name of Natalie Grinham, who is ranked No. 10 in the world. Grinham is 12 years older and a lot shorter than Perry. How much shorter? I don’t know. A foot? Maybe even 14 inches? Couldn’t find that information anywhere. Perry’s height was hidden in a corner of the internet so remote that finding it left me without sufficient energy to find out whether a squash umpire is actually called an umpire. Maybe it’s a judge. You’ll have to look that up for yourself. But bottom line is this: when I’m watching ladies play squash, I want to know their dimensions. I think that’s a reasonable expectation.
Anyway, the 2013 Texas Open continues through the weekend at the T. Boone Pickens Y. I can’t tell you how tall or short the ladies are, but I can tell you that they are good at the game. If you’re around, check it out.
Your favorites from the worlds of Dallas arts, sports, and media still need your help if they’re going to be crowned our Best of Big D Readers’ Choice champions and be honored in the August issue of D Magazine.
Voting comes to an end Sunday night, so you’ve got three more daily chances to cast your ballot on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.
Last December, as you’ll likely recall, Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was arrested after a DUI-related accident killed his teammate, Jerry Brown (who was also Brent’s college teammate and roommate). There was some uproar when, out on bond, Brent was allowed to attend a home game and momentarily walk the sidelines with his teammates.
Now my friend Thomas Lake, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, has an interesting feature looking at why, given so many other viable options, NFL players continue to drink and drive. The story, which centers on the Brent case, hasn’t been posted online yet, but there is a short teaser here.
Pro athletes, Lake writes, are arrested for drunk driving less frequently than the general population, but “what distinguishes the sports figures is their financial ability to hire drivers. And now, with Safe Ride solutions, they have fewer excuses to drive drunk than they ever had before.”
Here’s how the story recounts December 8, 2012, the night of the accident, when Brent and Brown were at a bar just five miles from the apartment they shared:
“Brent had a choice to make…He can call a confidential safe-ride service administered by the NFL Players Association. He can call one of two limousine services affiliated with the Cowboys. He can call a member of the Cowboys’ staff whose job it is to be available all day and all night to help the players however he can. Josh Brent does none of those things.”
Earlier this week, we noted how the first-place Texas Rangers were slighted by the ESPN Power Rankings after sweeping the Boston Red Sox. The team then immediately proceeded to drop two games to the not-so-good Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.
Since I am not a fan of the world’s most popular sport, I’ve failed to notice another local pro sports team that’s flying high in the estimation of power rankers from coast to coast. FC Dallas is the best team in Major League Soccer right now, according to ESPN and SB Nation and Bleacher Report and Yahoo! Sports and AOL Sporting News and MLS itself.
That’s enough love to have me seriously considering a trek up to Frisco to watch a game (or is it a match?) And I’m not alone in this newfound temptation. Attendance is up, closing in on a record average. They next play Saturday night against DC United.
Both the team and player Kenny Cooper are nominated in our Best of Big D Readers’ Choice: Culture voting, going on now through Sunday. Show them your support.
ESPN’s headquarters is in Connecticut, which I believe is located a mite bit closer to Boston than it is to Arlington, Texas. So, no, we’re not really surprised when the Worldwide Leader in Sports treats the Red Sox (and the Yankees for that matter) as a sacred institution while paying far less attention to the teams out here in flyover country.
You would think that the Rangers weekend sweep of the Red Sox, during which they outscored them 16-4 over the three games, would be difficult to ignore, bias or no bias. But a co-working FrontBurnervian passes along this morning’s ESPN Power Rankings of all 30 Major League Baseball teams.
Last week Boston was ranked No. 3, and Texas was ranked No. 1. How did the just-concluded series change the list? Now the Red Sox are No. 1 and the Rangers are No. 2. Despite identical records, nearly identical run differentials, and, you know, that whole 3-0 head-to-head record in favor of the Rangers.
Ashley Fox on ESPN.com thinks so. She calls the Cowboys owner/general manager’s decision to spend the hours leading up to the NFL draft at the celebration of the former president’s new museum his “Cabo moment.” She’s referring to when quarterback Tony Romo was criticized for taking a trip to Mexico with then-girlfriend Jessica Simpson in the week before a playoff game in 2008.
Romo needed a Mexican beach and a blonde to prepare for his next big moment. Jones apparently needed five United States presidents and an adoring audience to prepare for his. While every other general manager in the NFL was disseminating false information and trying to orchestrate trades to better his draft position, Jones was attending the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University. Jones should have been re-evaluating his draft board instead of rubbing elbows with political power brokers and dignitaries.
Later Thursday night, Jones threw his own pick in the end zone. He allowed himself to get fleeced by the best team in the Cowboys’ conference, one that is already loaded with talent and stands in the way of Dallas’ quest to win its first Super Bowl in 17 years.
Jones has been criticized by many for his decision to trade down for a later first-round pick to gain just an addition third-round pick, as well as for the player he chose to take 31st overall:
Jones dropped back to select a player he could have gotten on Friday night and most likely could have gotten some time on Saturday. Wisconsin center Travis Frederick isn’t a first-round talent. Even Frederick was shocked to be a first-round pick.
ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder queried five teams after the first round and none had Frederick as a first-, second- or third-round talent. One had Frederick as a solid sixth-rounder. Another said he was a sixth- or maybe even a seventh-round pick.
But would he have made any better decision had he skipped out on the party at W.’s new monument? I doubt it.
Just like I’m pretty sure that Mexican vacation didn’t cost Romo that playoff game.
It’s time to let us know what you think of all the best arts, sports, and media in Dallas. Voting is now open for Best of Big D Readers’ Choice: Culture. You can cast a ballot once a day on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.
The winners will appear in the August issue of D Magazine. Don’t let down your favorites.
What Happened in West: The Dallas Morning News tackles the West, Texas explosion in detail, reconstructing the event and aftermath in this piece:
At that moment, West joined Aurora, Newtown, Katrina and other one-word symbols of tragedy. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Bombings. Shootings. For now, the word “West” equals the word “explosion.”
As ‘Burbs Run Short on Water, They Turn to Dallas For Help: The North Texas Municipal Water District, which serves many of the northern Dallas suburbs, is already bracing for water use restrictions come June 1. Easing those restrictions is a new deal with Dallas Water Utilities that will direct upwards of 60 million gallons a day from the city’s reserves to the ‘burbs. That diverted usage won’t affect Dallas residents, DWU officials say. And the city is still fighting to create new reservoirs.
Cowboys Draft Was a Disaster: Actually, I have no idea if it was a disaster or not. Sports radio tells me that the Cowboys needed three or four starters out of this year’s draft, and it sounds like they picked up a bunch of projects.
Hey, you. Yeah, you. You like movies or the theater or going to concerts, yeah? Enjoy spectator sports? Sometimes watch TV, or listen to the radio? We thought so. Because of your unique qualifications, we’re inviting you to decide on the best arts and media and athletics in the Dallas area.
The balloting begins Monday, and as with our previous Best of Big D Readers’ Choice rounds, you can vote once per day (through May 12) from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile internet-connected device. We’ve assembled an elite list of nominees for each of our several categories, but you’ll be free to write in your favorites as well. The winners will be announced in the August issue of D Magazine.
Come to Dmagazine.com on Monday morning to get started. Meanwhile, jump to see the fabulous matters we’ll be asking you to judge.
12 West Firefighters Laid to Rest. The memorial service happened yesterday afternoon, and I’m sorry that we got so caught up in coverage of the Bush Center dedication that we didn’t take a moment to acknowledge the ceremony here on FrontBurner. Thousands gathered at Baylor University to honor the emergency workers who lost their lives in last week’s fertilizer plant explosion. President Obama was there, having flown down to Waco from Dallas on Marine One after attending the library opening in the morning. As the Star-Telegram reports, he said ”To the families and neighbors grappling with unbearable loss, we are here to say, ‘You are not alone. You are not forgotten. We may not all live here in Texas, but we’re neighbors, too. We’re Americans, too.” Senator John Cornyn, speaking on behalf of the Texas congressional delegation, praised the men’s bravery: “How does one find such love to be willing to lay down your life so that others may live? This will forever be the legacy of those who ran toward the fire last week.” Meanwhile, the Insurance Council of Texas estimates that the incident resulted in more than $100 million in damage. Let’s not forget that the residents of West are going to need our help to rebuild.
Lake Levels Prompt Tighter Water Restrictions. The North Texas Municipal Water District, which serves much of Collin County, Rockwall County, Kaufman County, Hunt County, and northeastern Dallas County, has announced it’s already imposing Stage 3 of its drought plan, effective June 1. Stage 3 limits lawn watering to once per week. Because we’ve had relatively little rain this year, the district’s primary reservoirs have seen their levels drop dangerously low. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that the district still can’t draw water from Lake Texoma, which normally would account for 28% of its raw water supply, because of the presence of zebra mussels. NTMWD had to implement Stage 3 in 2011 as well (you’ll remember sweating through that awful-hot summer), but didn’t need to do it that year until Sept. 28. Is it time for another gubernatorial proclamation of Days of Prayer For Rain?
Richardson Political Group Sends Controversial Mailer Bashing Mayoral Candidate. The candidate is Amir Omar, whose clashing with the city’s established powers was written about in our April issue. The mailer funded by the Richardson Coalition accuses Omar of being behind on paying his child support, and of having declared bankruptcy to get out of his student loans. Omar denies the allegations. His ex-wife backs up his story. The Morning News had the pertinent documents looked at by a divorce attorney, and the truth seems to depend on the meaning of the word “arrears.”
Dallas Cowboys Draft Wisconsin Center With First Pick. I’m not sure why (and neither are some experts), but the team gave up the No. 18 pick in yesterday’s first round of the NFL Draft in exchange for the 31st pick and a third-round selection. With that 31st pick, they took center Travis Frederick of the University of Wisconsin. They made Uncle Barky happy, at least.