Call to arms: Texas Rangers pinning future on pitching
Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope party, welcome to Whitt’s End…
*As the Texas Rangers plunge into another ill-fated sub-.500 season, it’s already time to To look forward.
By the time they compete for the AL West again, their pitching team will likely be led by Jack Leiter, Kumar Rocker and Brock Porter. They just signed the Michigan high schooler – ranked as the 7th-best pitching prospect – for a $4 million windfall.
*Before diving into the Dallas Cowboys’ 2022 training camp, Have we all recovered well from the end of 2021? In the team’s first practice Wednesday in Oxnard, Calif., it will be 192 days since the 14 penalties… CeeDee Lamb’s lone stinky catch… Dak Prescott’s too-little-too-late spike attempt… the comedian-turned-criminal, late to the party led by referee Ramon George. Some of us still have nightmares – and depressing daydreams – about “Hail Nary”. You?
*As we approach camp, I have an ominous feeling about this season. Because everything lined up for the Cowboys last season before falling apart quickly, which is why. The record offense. The avalanche of defensive takeaways. Health. The patsy NFC East opponents. Home field advantage in the playoffs. A year ago at this time we were already talking about HBO hard knocks and the impending primetime opener against Tom Brady and the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This year? Uh, Amari Cooper is gone and Cedrick Wilson is gone and Michael Gallup will miss a few games and we’re just supposed to assume the offense will be better? Randy Gregory is gone and we’re just supposed to assume the pass rush won’t suffer? I don’t know, I feel like the NFC East streak of 17 consecutive seasons without a repeat champion is going to expand to 18 in January.
*Ranking of DFW’s “alternative” uniforms: 4. Dallas All-Star “Blackout”; 3. Rangers “Powder Blue”; 2. Dallas Mavericks “City”; 1. “Classic” Cowboys.
*If you think the Mavs are going to build on this season’s run to the NBA Western Conference Finals, you’re … only. Advance betting for the 2022-23 season puts Dallas’ win over/under total at just 47.5 wins. The best in the West are the Suns and Clippers at 52.5 and the Warriors at 51.5. Hard to believe that Christian Wood and JaVale McGee aren’t moving the needle, but — insert sarcasm — they sure aren’t.
*My mother had shingles. So done the two grandmothers. I definitely don’t want shingles. But, man, vaccines — it’s a two-dose process — kicked my ass. Arm painfully debilitating at the injection site and zapped with energy and filled with aches for 24 hours. Yet a few days of pain are a small price to pay for a lifetime of protection.
*If I’m Jerry Jones, just for one season, the Cowboys wear 17 different versions of the blue, white, silver and star. Take a page from the Oregon marketing book and watch the scratch-off souvenir arrive.
*Because he was a behind-the-scenes engineer, Ted Nichols-Payne is not a household name for DFW sports fans. But few people can bring Eric Nadel, Brad Sham and Chuck Cooperstein together under one roof. That’s what happened at his memorial this week in Dallas. RIP, NPT.
*Rings since 1997: Jennifer Lopez 6, Dallas Cowboys 0.
*Notes? It depends. What first-half ratings do Rangers get from ESPN? For my grades… It depends. Are we evaluating against expectations? In a curve? If Texas seems a little ahead of schedule… does it deserve a gold star?
*Turns out Bo Jackson has more empathy for the victims of the Uvalde school shooting than the governor of Texas. Bo, who admits “I don’t know anyone there,” donated $170,000 to help with funeral costs for the 21 victims of the May tragedy. Governor Greg Abbott, meanwhile, was quick to praise the ‘quick response’ and ‘incredible courage’ of law enforcement officials following the shooting, but turned himself in for the latest. time in the city on June 5 and did not attend any of the funerals.
*Again, how is there not a company that movies and marketers hire to make sure Doesn’t their sports content look like something created by people who have never seen – let alone played – the sport they are selling? Ashamed, Michelob Ultra. Are you really trying to please golfers by depicting a golfer parking his cart right on the green? It never happens. Even by golfers who hit a six-pack on the back nine.
*Luka Doncic, distributing assists in Europe for …Shaq?
*If you are outraged by golfers and Charles Barkley daring to take Saudi money in the form of the LIV Golf Tour, are you prepared to exude a similar energy and contempt for other companies doing the same? If so, you’re pissed off at Exxon, Texaco, Procter & Gamble, and all the planes whose parts are built by Fort Worth-based Lockheed Martin. In other words, you’re going to be busy being crazy all day, every day. Choosing your morality is a dangerous game.
*Leave it to a New York media personality – even though he’s a former Cowboy – to say out loud what many DFW fans think of Prescott: “Overrated.” Not just his position, but the most overrated player in the entire league. Ouch.
*Sorry, I don’t understand Brittney Griner’s story. This week’s ESPYs were inundated with “BG” this and “BG” that. First, the WNBA star was playing professional basketball in Russia. If you have internet access, you know this country has a horrible human rights history, a habit of invading countries without provocation, and doesn’t particularly like America or Americans. There are inherent risks in going there, let alone trying to make a living there. Second, she flew from New York to Moscow with two vape cartridges in her luggage. Seriously? Russian officials say they contained hash oil, a crime that carries a 10-year prison sentence. In the United States, possession of hash and hash oil is illegal under federal law. She was therefore breaking the law, in several countries. Receiving the ESPYs Humanitarian League of the Year award, WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike called Griner “an American hero.” Represent her in court? Sure. Hoping for his safe return? Absolutely. But making Griner a martyr or our face of courage? Come on, we must have better options.
*You want to relax in the oldest and only bar in Dallas where swearing and bras are both prohibited? Stan’s Blue Note on Greenville Ave. turns 70 this week. At the age of the bar, it’s like… immortal.
*What, what, COVID? You’re worse than those holiday books that refuse to go. If President Joe Biden’s diagnosis wasn’t a grim reminder that the virus is still alive and well, media attending this weekend’s XFL press conferences at Texas Live! in Arlington must take a COVID-19 test. A “35-minute COVID-19 test at check-in”. On Thursday, Texas Health and Human Services reported that 7.3 million Texans still have COVID. Phew overload.
*This weekend? On Friday, let’s play a round of golf before the NFL training camps open next week. On Saturday, let’s hang out with little brother Ja from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Sunday let’s do a little run/walk around White Rock Lake, come high water (extremely unlikely) or hell (in the form of 102 degrees). As always, don’t be a stranger.