Best Texas Ranger Pitcher (if He'd Only Come Back)

Nolan Ryan

OK, so the only pitch he's thrown in public recently was at a dog park off Mockingbird Lane. So what? Yes, he's old (54), and yes, he's been retired since 1993 (and that year he pitched only 66 innings). Still, have you been to The Ballpark in Arlington lately? Peanut vendors have more control over their pitches. Thanks to their stellar pitching staff, the Rangers would be lucky to retire the side in order at a T-ball game. Ryan probably doesn't have many 90 mph fastballs left in him, but hey, neither does anyone currently wearing a Rangers jersey. At this point, Ryan could pitch underhanded and he'd still be the No. 1 starter.

First and 10 used to be housed in the shopping center by La Bare, before it was razed to make way for the new Central Market scheduled to be built there. Now it's hidden in Hillside Village in the old Red's Barbecue spot, and we couldn't be happier. It boasts several televisions, a pool table, the fantastic arcade golf game Golden Tee, a shuffleboard table, all the standard sports bar accoutrements...but it has a few things that make it stand above other sports dives. Its burgers, for example, are fantastic, as are its cottage fries. But it also sports a helpful waitstaff, a loyal clientele of serious drinkers and smokers, quite cold pitchers of cheap beer and no unwanted distractions from sexy young men or women. This is not a college hangout; it's a dive bar that happens to have sports on the tube, which is all we want on game day.
What is it exactly that we like about bowling? Is it beer, the warm, moist rented shoes, the beer, the sport, the camaraderie or the beer? Open 24 hours, Carter's 58 lanes are always ready for desperate insomniacs who need the sound of falling pins to lull them to sleep. At nights on Tuesdays and weekends, they break out the blacklights for "Lightning Strikes," a sort of cross between disco and bowling--and can you get any classier than that? League bowling takes place every night except Saturdays. Did we mention they have beer?

The guys you see nightly at 10 still have a long way to go to match the accomplishments and class of Southlake resident and recent Sportscasters Hall of Fame inductee Pat Summerall. Alongside color man John Madden, the former New York Giants placekicker will be entering his 50th season as a broadcaster. During his remarkable career, he's done it all--from the U.S. Open to the Masters to Super Bowls--with a voice as rich and warm as high-dollar brandy.

Small specialty sporting goods stores, where expert athletes/salesmen carefully inspect your foot before finding just the right shoe, are an oasis for the dedicated athlete. At Run On!, a store that specializes in running shoes and gear, a salesman fitted us for a pair of Nikes with a narrow insole--just the way we like them--without telling us the cost. We expected him to say $120 or worse. The damage was much lower: $80. With three area locations, Run On! truly looks out for the consumer. It also sponsors cross-country runs and other events.
There is a time warp a-goin' on at this nondescript skating rink hidden off Northwest Highway. From the owner's tight designer jeans to the decades-old music to the four-wheel tan skates for rent to the hokeypokey, this is childhood as we remember it: chasing little girls in circles for hours to no avail. Fairly cheap birthday parties for kids make this a good retro time had by all. The only thing missing: Defender. Call for party prices and free-skate times.
We know, we know, we know, we know. How trite. How predictable. Der. We know it's the obvious choice. But this isn't the "Newest of Dallas." It's "Best of." And Hansen is still the best at what he does for two reasons: He's entertaining and smart. Sure he has a huge ego. OK, a monstrously huge ego. So? He understands that you can get your sports news anywhere, so to draw you to the increasingly irrelevant concept known as the local nightly newscast, Hansen has to make himself part of the show. We have no problem with that, so long as the performer is funny and clever and still knows more about sports than Macie Jepson, which he is and does. The only thing Hansen lacks is a catchy name, something the kids can relate to. Something like, oh, "Newy."
If you're planning to wander into the outdoors, REI will have just about anything you could possibly need. REI sells top-notch clothing and equipment for everything from camping, backpacking and canoeing to biking, skiing and rock climbing. (You can even try rock climbing in the store or sign up for one of many other outdoor group activities posted in the lobby.) These goods aren't cheap, but REI's retail prices are reasonable, particularly if you become a member. But what puts this store over the top is its sales: When they say sale, they mean it. We're talking 50 percent or more off on goods throughout the store. You don't have to become a member to shop here, but if you do, the $15 fee you spend to join will quickly turn into big savings.
This year's newcomer, the long-awaited 2-mile hike-bike trail between Reverchon Park and Knox Street, is the hit its backers said it would be. The elevated trail, set on the abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas railbed, runs through some of the most densely populated precincts in the city, and it's dog-eat-cyclist-eat-jogger all the way. Plans are in the works to extend the trail north to Mockingbird Lane and south to the new American Airlines Center. Eventually, it could link to Dallas' other great running path, the trail around White Rock Lake.
It's not the fanciest gym in the city, but it's a huge facility that's got up-to-date workout equipment of every variety, a full-size swimming pool, indoor and outdoor tracks and much more. But the best thing about the YMCA gym is that there are not a bunch of dudes lifting a dumbbell every five minutes and spending the rest of their time hanging onto exercise equipment talking to each other and trying to hit on the women. It may not attract an exclusive crowd, but YMCA members cut across all walks of Dallas life, and they go there to work out--including Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and members of the Dallas City Council.

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