Yes, by default. Kinda the same way he made this year's American League All-Star team—because the rules mandate at least one representative from each team. Even the really crappy ones kept afloat by Kameron Loe and Marlon Byrd and, at 23-42, written off along with our taxes in April. Who are we to break from baseball tradition? No one, that's who. Therefore, we're crowning as "best" Ranger a shortstop who has hit below .290 most of the season, went a whole month without an extra-base hit and recently produced his annual bitch session about the team's directionless direction. Blah blah blah. Michael Finley never cried for help, not even in the Mavs' darkest moments. Young is a great player and a good guy, but if he wants to join baseball's elite—and if he expects to win this prestigious honor again next season—he needs less lip and more leadership.
It's probably not a coincidence that the best male and female runners in Dallas happen to share the same bed. Both Andrew and Melissa Cook are not only just the fastest runners in town over just about any distances, they have each qualified for the Olympic Trials. Melissa hit the standard in the 10K by running a blistering 32:31.85 on the track at Stanford University, which equals out to 5:15 per mile pace for 6.2 miles, or faster than all but a handful of men in Dallas could run. Andrew Cook, meanwhile, qualified to run the Olympic Trials marathon in New York this November after running a 2:19 marathon in Austin, which makes him the fastest marathoner in Dallas by 10 or so minutes. Like most top-shelf distance runners, both Cooks are rather modest and soft-spoken, but when the gun goes off, they grab the lead and don't let go.
The Edge at Allen Station Park
Try as it might, corporate America hasn't yet succeeded in sanitizing the joy out of skateboarding. Eisenberg's in Plano has installed air conditioning, Cyclone in McKinney is being converted into a church and long ago ESPN2 strangled us with the X Games. But at the $6 million, 38,000-square-foot complex in Allen, you can still indulge in skateboarding without a hint of commercialism. (Great, so we get the Bush Library and let a radical concrete playground escape to the 'burbs? Thanks again, Mayor Miller!) Part of Allen Station Park, The Edge includes a multi-level skate park, two roller-hockey rinks and a killer BMX dirt track with 900 feet of dusty berms and 10 gnarly jumps. Admission—we hope you're sitting down—is free. Good to know the state's biggest outdoor skate facility can also be its coolest.
PGA Tour Superstore
Screw foreplay, this place is downright orgasmic—if, that is, you get aroused milling around a former old Plano Home Depot warehouse filled with sports memorabilia, a gazillion Izods, two bajillion clubs, a tennis court, a putting green, a chipping area complete with sand trap and countless driving range stalls equipped with computer analysis, simulated courses and a daily $50 closest-to-the-pin contest. Go in for a casual Sunday afternoon look-see and by the time you leave it'll be Tuesday. You'll get the usual golf gabfest about two-downs, three-putts, snowmen and worn-out impressions of Carl Spackler. But if you need anything to improve your game or at least a gadget to distract you from how seriously you suck, this is the place. Out front there is a Hummer golf cart selling for a cool $12,435. Like the sign says, "This is big."
Once upon a time, the sports gods smiled upon the sports fans of North Texas, which was a nice thing to do considering they'd been acting like jerks lately, what with none of the area teams surviving playoffs. In compensation, the game-friendly gods gave us "Mandy" and "Lauren," two Tarrant County-born, sports-obsessed 20-somethings with access to Blogger, digital cameras and too much free time. The result? Girls Gone Sports, the funniest, snarkiest sports blog on the 'net. GGS combines the newsiness of Deadspin, the sluttiness of Wonkette and the celebrity roasting-ness of Perez Hilton, sprinkled with shots of the GGS bloggers' cleavage alongside items like framed photos of Tony Romo. Instead of a "mock draft," the ladies held a "cock draft," and we suggest you check out the site to see what their prestigious "Panty Creamer of the Week" award is all about. These lady sports bloggers really have some balls.
Sadly, this was a helluva race. And, no, smart-ass, Bill Parcells and Buck Showalter didn't even make the ballot. Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones and his trademark whistling left us in March after 43 years entertaining at Cowboys games. Lamar Hunt died in December, capping a remarkable career in which, among countless other highlights, he birthed soccer in Dallas and coined the sorta familiar name "Super Bowl." But the real kick to the crotch came in September when Byron Nelson ascended to the 19th hole. Known as "Lord Byron" for his elegant swing and eloquent manner, Nelson had the greatest single season in the history of golf in 1945 and proceeded to brand his name on the biggest fund-raising tournament on the PGA Tour. The EDS Byron Nelson Classic has raised almost $100 million for charities. Here's hoping Byron's tournament doesn't die with him.
In a year that saw the Stars, Mavs, Cowboys and even the damn Desperados eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, this is like having to choose which sister to kiss. Sisters named Phyllis Diller, Rosie O'Donnell and Tammy Faye Bakker. But on the afternoon of November 19, 2006, all was right. Making his first home start, Tony Romo completed 19 of 23 passes, Marion Barber ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and the Cowboys' defense picked off Peyton Manning twice in a 21-14 victory that ended the Colts' undefeated season at 9-0 and had coach Bill Parcells cawing, "If we keep playing like this, we have a chance to do something." The Cowboys, 6-4 after the monumental win, peaked at 8-4 and lost to Seattle in the playoffs while the Colts, if we remember correctly, played significantly better as the season progressed.
Dr Pepper Ballpark
Other than naked on a waterbed with Denise Richards, the best place to watch a baseball game has to be Frisco. For a whopping $9. In the swimming pool. If you're tired of IKEA, Highway 121's traffic or the world's largest coagulation of MILFs and SUVs, slip into your Speedo, munch on a hot dog and take in some Double-A baseball from the Dr Pepper Ballpark's right-field swimming pool. With the Rangers of the future guaranteed to be better than the Rangers of the present, you'll probably see a win. And when you get water-wrinkled, take a tour of the ballpark's bathrooms—the only stadium restrooms in America designed by an interior decorator. Swear.
We can think of no greater evidence of the stifling nature of daily journalism than the evolution of Matt Mosley. At The Dallas Morning News, Mosley was an irritating Bill Simmons wannabe whose on-the-scene Cowboys game-day reports, replete with pop culture musings and first-person anecdotes, were not one-tenth as funny as he thought they were. Left with little space and too much or too little editorial direction, Mosley's writing was, on his best day, trifling. Then, somehow the young journalist winds up on the most popular sports Web site in the world, ESPN.com, where he becomes one of the site's best writers, a legitimate rival to the legendary Mr. Simmons himself. From his reports on the Cowboys to his football blog to his appearances on local talk radio, Mosley has become a smart, informed and entertaining personality. His well-sourced reporting on the Cowboys (Tony Romo texts him on the golf course) is a boon to ESPN.com's national audience, while his ability to shift from commentator to storyteller makes him one of the most interesting sports bloggers around.
He didn't win a playoff series for his team. But for a change, he didn't lose one by himself. Pushed by newbie Mike Smith, Turco put together another stellar NHL regular season. In the playoffs—where he'd fallen on his face the last two springs—the goalie, criticized more than the Trinity River project, finally stood on his head. At least that's what we heard. When we saw Red Jumpsuit Apparatus play the intermission of the NHL All-Star Game we knew hockey would never get better, so we stopped paying attention. In the seven-game loss to the Vancouver Canucks, Turco pitched shutouts in all three of Dallas' wins. He allowed only 11 goals in seven games, five coming in the four-overtime loss in Game 1. Even in Game 7's 4-1 loss, two of the goals were last-minute empty-netters to totally skew his ledger. While Mike Modano continues to lose a step and some panache, Turco is clearly the Stars' star.

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