Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dan Campbell is Awesome...and other stuff

Good Morning. Watching Tiger put up his 69 this morning has put the blog a bit behind schedule. But, please note a few items off the top:

#1 – If you missed Dan Campbell yesterday on the show, I think you missed quite a bit. But, the powers at the Ticket have podcasted a pretty good 7 or 8 minutes Here … I sure wish we could still do a weekly show with him. He is as good as it gets…

#2 - Here is where we are doing our show today …assist for Todd Davis…

If you're in the area, there's a chance to see Rangers pitchers Brandon McCarthy and C.J. Wilson and outfielder Marlon Byrd at the Rangers' Dallas store from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. The store is in the heart of Uptown at 2222 McKinney Avenue. The event goes until 3 p.m. with other baseball-related activities, but the autographs end at 1:30 p.m. The guys have to play that night.

Feature on Eugene Lockhart

Eugene Lockhart made an interesting return to Texas Stadium on Sunday.

The former Dallas Cowboys linebacker, who was an All Pro in 1989-90 and still holds the team record for most tackles in a season with 222, set up a tent and has been living on the field for more than three days.

Lockhart is spending 24 hours a day in Texas Stadium during his "Laying it on the Line" campaign for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas. He'll be living there until he raises $500,000, which is enough to put 500 children in the BBBS program.

To keep track of his progress, Lockhart started with his tent at one goal line and is moving it 10 yards for every $50,000 donated. He was at midfield Wednesday.
After finishing his NFL career in 1992 with the New England Patriots, Lockhart moved to Dallas where, among other things, he's studied at the Southern Bible Institute.
"God has always been at the center of my life, even though I haven't always made the best decisions," Lockhart said. "I know the way, and I know success comes when you make God a part of your life."

I wanted to do something totally different and have fun. I prayed about what I could do to help, and God gave me a vision. It's not my project. It's God's project. One of the main things I wanted to do with this was bring a great deal of attention to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

Think about this. Remember Columbine? Or Virginia Tech? Imagine those kids. Imagine the bad decisions they made before that, when they were 14 or 15 years old. Imagine that's your child that got shot. Now who's to blame? I think Colin Powell said it best [at the 2000 Republican national convention]: We either build our children, or we build more jails.

What will Roger Goodell do with Mike Vick? ….

The Vick case will be the most significant test yet for the NFL under Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has pledged a crackdown to make players and teams more accountable for off-field transgressions.

The league said in a statement that "all concerned should allow the legal process to determine the facts." In a separate statement, the Falcons said they "plan to do the right thing for our club as the legal process plays out."

But in at least in one recent instance, the league suspended a player before his case made it through court. Tennessee Titans defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones, suspended in April, had at least 10 run-ins with police in his first year in the league.

Vick and his alleged business partners — Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton, Va., Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach and Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta — all were ordered Wednesday to appear for a bond hearing and then arraignment July 26. That's the same day the Falcons are scheduled to open training camp.

But reaction to Vick's indictment, and the graphic allegations of how the animals were treated, has been swift and severe — from inside and outside pro football.

"This is going to be a significant blemish on the NFL, no matter what," David Cornwell, a former assistant general counsel for the league, said Wednesday.

The Atlanta-based attorney added that there was nothing the league's new boss "can say or do that's going to make this go away from an image perspective. I just don't believe in degrees of bad — when it's bad it's bad. And this is bad."

Harry Edwards, a longtime NFL consultant and sociology professor emeritus at UC Berkeley, said, "The Atlanta Falcons and the NFL are going to be confronted with a heck of a decision to make as they enter the season. At what point does the message, image and marketability of the game come into play irrespective of any outcome of a trial?

"What happens when you get literally millions of people who say 'Hanging, shooting and electrocuting of dogs? And we're going to cheer for this guy? We're going to buy shoes from this guy?'

"It's not going to be good enough to say, 'I'm going to go out on the field and do my job as a football player and let my attorney handle it.' "

Meanwhile, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and civil rights activist Al Sharpton were teaming up with officials from PETA on a joint letter sent to the Falcons, NFL and Vick's corporate sponsors, urging them to "stand up for what is right, and speak out against what is wrong."

The letter read, in part, "dogfighting is unacceptable. Hurting animals for human pleasure or gain is despicable. Cruelty is just plain wrong."

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said, "anyone capable of forcing dogs to fight to the death should be kept away from all vulnerable forms of life, particularly children and animals."

The indictment identifies Vick as a key player in an operation that dated to 2001, just before his rookie season with the Falcons. Listed are at least 30 fights that Vick or other members of the kennel arranged or participated in, including details such as the names of the dogs and the amount of money — often thousands of dollars — awarded to the owners of the winners of matches that were frequently fought to the death.

No Steve Francis? Too Bad

Within 48 hours, and possibly sooner, Steve Francis will sign with his next team.
Odds that it's the Mavericks are low.

Francis' agent, Jeff Fried, on Wednesday said the veteran point guard is still considering the Mavs, Houston, Miami and Los Angeles Clippers. Of those four teams, the Heat and Clippers need the most help at that position.

As far as the Mavs taking on the former All-Star who played his first five seasons in Houston, one NBA source said that Francis would likely sign elsewhere.

Francis cleared waivers Wednesday and can officially sign a new deal. Portland bought out the remaining two years of his contract for $30 million last week, so Francis is shopping for the best fit as opposed to the best financial deal.

"The best fit for team success," Fried said. "And where Steve can be a meaningful player."

Mavs coach Avery Johnson has said he plans to give Devin Harris greater
responsibility at point guard, and Jason Terry also plays the position. Also, J.J. Barea, who has played well for the Mavs' summer league team, could have his contract extended for next season.

Pietrus likes Mavs

Golden State restricted free agent Mickael Pietrus has an interest in joining the Mavs, a deal that would likely require a sign-and-trade deal, his agent, Happy Walters, said.

Walters said the Mavs are one of four teams in discussions about the 6-foot-6 swingman, who has spent all four years of his career with the Warriors.

He's seeking the full mid-level exception of $5.36 million, Walters said. Cleveland and Miami are also reportedly interested.

Because Pietrus is a restricted free agent, the Warriors can match any offer. He made $2.5 million last season while averaging 11.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in 26.9 minutes a game.

The Mavs have the mid-level exception, plus a $1.83 biannual exception to use.

In British Open News, Gary Player thinks Golf has Steroid issue

Gary Player put steroids at the forefront of the British Open on Wednesday, saying golf has its head buried in a bunker if it thinks the sport is clean and he knows of one player using performance-enhancing drugs.

The nine-time major champion urged golf organizations to start random testing.

"It's absolutely essential that we do that," Player said at Carnoustie, where he won the British Open in 1968. "We're dreaming if we think it's not going to come into golf."

Player says it already has.

"Whether it's HGH, whether it's Creatine or whether it's steroids, I know for a fact that some golfers are doing it," he said.

Asked how he knew for certain, he said one golfer told him.

"I took an oath prior to him telling me -- I won't tell you where -- but he told me what he did, and I could see this massive change in him," Player said. "And somebody else told me something, that I also promised I wouldn't tell, that verified others had done it."

The cryptic accusation put the Royal & Ancient Golf Club on the defensive over why it does not have drug testing at the British Open, with chief executive Peter Dawson being asked whether he was concerned that its winner could be using steroids.

"I don't know if Gary Player is right about golfers being on drugs, frankly, so I really can't comment," Dawson said. "One thing I do know is that we're not drug testing here at the Open championship this week, so just how that would be identified, I'm not sure."

Jason Botts is on the DL

Any possible big league promotion for Oklahoma's Jason Botts has been put on hold for at least a week.

Botts, who turns 27 on July 26, was placed on the seven-day DL with a lacerated finger Wednesday. He suffered the injury when a fly ball glanced off his right ring finger, tearing up the nail and fracturing the tip of the finger.

"The worst news is the doctors said my nail will either grow back kind of deformed or not at all," Botts wrote in a text message. "It kind of ruins my dream of being a hand model."

Botts has had to put the George Costanza-type fantasy on hold because he's been obliterating Pacific Coast League pitching. He had been hitting .361 with a .481 on-base percentage since May 1. In that 71-game span, he had 12 homers and 60 RBIs. He ranks in the top 10 in the PCL in batting average (.319, 10th), on-base percentage (.436, first) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.989, third).

The Rangers would like to bring Botts to the majors as soon as possible, but he is blocked by Sammy Sosa at DH. The Rangers have been trying to deal Sosa but haven't received much interest. If that doesn't pick up as the team gets closer to the July 31 trade deadline, the Rangers could also entertain the possibility of benching Sosa or releasing him.

Stars sign 2006 First Rounder

Defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy, Dallas' first round pick in 2006, has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Stars. Vishnevskiy, 19, played last season for Rouyn-Noranda of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and under the rules of transfer the NHL has with that league, must make the Stars roster this season or return to his junior league team.

Vishnevskiy will be paid his signing bonus, but the three-year contract will not start until he can play at the NHL or AHL level – likely next season.

Vishnevskiy had 14 goals among 51 points in 60 games last season. He also added five goals among 13 points in 18 playoff games.

What NHL Free Agents are left?

• Eric Lindros (age 34): Once touted as "The Next One," Lindros has had a controversial and concussion-plagued career that is now at a standstill. Who will take a chance on Big E? The Stars tried last offseason. The experiment started off well as the veteran posted 12 points in his first 14 games in Dallas, but lower-body injuries limited him to 49 games. In the two seasons before 2006-07, Lindros didn't reach 40 games in either campaign. Whichever team takes the plunge, it's going to be a gamble.

• Alexei Yashin (33): After the Islanders decided to buy out the remaining four years of the center's 10-year deal, Yashin hit the market. His best season in New York was his first with the club in 2001-02, when he scored 32 goals and had 43 assists in 78 games. Yashin has been nicknamed "Alexei Cashin" by some media types, and the veteran's reps have stated that he won't go for a bargain deal. That might be why he's still on the market.

• Michael Peca (33): And to think just over a year ago Peca was one win from the Stanley Cup. But the center left Edmonton for Toronto for 2006-07 and spent most of the season on the bench after suffering a broken leg in late December. But is Peca on the permanent decline? After seven straight 40-plus point seasons, he had just nine goals and 14 assists in 71 games for the Oilers in 2005-06 (he added 11 points in 24 playoff games).

• Anson Carter (33): Remember when Mr. Carter had that great season in 2005-06 playing on that great line with twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin? Well, the winger left Vancouver last offseason, signing on with … Columbus. That must have been fun. He posted 10 goals and 17 assists in 54 games with the Blue Jackets before being traded to Carolina (for a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft, no less) just before the trade deadline.

• Chris Simon (35): Despite his good history with Islanders coach Ted Nolan, Simon is still on the market as GM Garth Snow hasn't yet brought the forward back. There's a lot of controversy surrounding Simon, from his alleged racial comments toward Mike Grier to his two-handed whack on the Rangers' Ryan Hollweg this past season.

• Curtis Joseph (40): The goalie wanted another go in Phoenix, but Wayne Gretzky & Co. are going another route. Joseph went 18-31-2 and had a 3.19 goals-against average in 55 games in 2006-07. He still could be a nice backup for needy teams.

• Ed Belfour (42): Belfour posted a strong 27-17-10 record in his one season with the Panthers, but Florida signed Tomas Vokoun in the offseason, all but ending the Eagle's tenure in South Florida. He showed he can still play, but he also showed his propensity for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (he was arrested after an altercation at a bar after the Panthers' season ended).

• Other free agents of note: Dmitry Afanasenkov, Tony Amonte, Denis Arkhipov, Arron Asham, Bryan Berard, Peter Bondra, Patrice Brisebois, Jan Bulis, Nils Ekman, Jeff Friesen, Martin Gelinas, Travis Green, Adam Hall, Mike Johnson, Petr Nedved, Ville Nieminen, Janne Niinimaa, Jeff O'Neill, Ronald Petrovicky, Nolan Pratt, Brent Sopel, Patrik Stefan, Andy Sutton, David Tanabe and Josef Vasicek.

Tonight: The MLS All-Star Game

Time and place: Thursday, 8 p.m. on ESPN2 at Dick's Sporting Good Park in Commerce City, Colo.

Maybe Major League Soccer should have rented space in the Colorado Rockies' baseball humidor before Thursday's All-Star Game, which pits the MLS All-Stars against legendary Scottish team Celtic.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, accustomed to much soggier conditions at sea level, compared trying to control a ball in the dry, windy conditions at Colorado's mile-high altitude to "playing ping-pong outside in the wind."

"We'd love to give them a good exhibition of how the game is really played," Strachan said of the sold-out crowd expected to attend Dick's Sporting Goods Park, "but it's a bit like asking Tiger Woods to play with these (plastic) golf balls you give to kids for practice."

Whatever the ball's flight, the game will give U.S. fans a glimpse of one of soccer's oldest (Celtic was founded in 1888) and most storied teams, and it will give the MLS All-Stars another chance to prove they can pass a world-class test.
"You don't learn by playing in a wee bubble amongst everybody all the time," All-Star coach Steve Nicol of the New England Revolution said. "You have to kind of get out or get people in. That's what MLS is trying to do."

In last year's game, the MLS All-Stars beat top English club Chelsea 1-0. In 2005, they posted a 4-1 victory vs. Fulham of the English Premier League.

Last Night, I did my police ride-along with some good Dallas cops. On the ride, I was shown the fine golf course that hosted the 1927 PGA Championship. I am sure all of you golf and Oak Cliff enthusiasts know all about Cedar Crest Golf Course, but I didn’t.

But now, I will need to play it

Since he was on the show yesterday, here is Tony Brackens and his hit on the Texas Tech Kicker

Brackens hits Druckenmiller; Westbrook pounds Va Tech RB

And just to continue the Longhorn theme....

1 comment:

The Jastrom said...

I would love to see Jeff Friesen in a Stars Uniform. They need to make it happen.