When former hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo balked at a contract extension and bolted for the Chicago Cubs following the 2009 season, the Rangers faced the difficult task of replacing someone who had been here for 15 years and was thought of as the best in the business. GM Jon Daniels considered hiring unproven fan favorite Rusty Greer, but he ultimately pulled the trigger on Clint Hurdle, who led the Colorado Rockies to the World Series in 2007 during his eight years as manager. While the offense hasn't been perfect this year, the combination of Hurdle's success and Jaramillo's rough year in Chicago proves a change was needed. The best evidence can be found in Josh Hamilton, who struggled last year while Jaramillo tried to eliminate his toe-tap and then made the adjustment under Hurdle and became an MVP candidate.

24 Hour Fitness
Miles Austin

Hands down, the most consistently entertaining and highest-rated show on sports talk radio belongs to George Dunham, Craig Miller and Gordon Keith, weekdays 5:30-10 a.m. on KTCK-AM (1310) The Ticket. It's about sports. It's about life. It's about guys being guys. It's—most important—about domination. Dunham & Miller are at this point basically lapping the field in Arbitron ratings. Every hour their show attracts twice as many listeners as the offerings of KESN-FM (103.3) ESPN and KRLD-FM (105.3) The Fan. Combined. Over the years they've developed the perfect recipe for morning radio with tasty pinches of interviews, topical headlines via "Muse in the News" and heady, though sometimes homerish takes across our sports smorgasbord. If only the teams they covered were as good.

General Manager Jon Daniels tells us that when he imported Colby Lewis from Japan to join the rotation, he expected him to produce similar numbers to departed ace Kevin Millwood's 13 wins, 3.67 ERA and nearly 200 innings pitched in 2009. That projection appeared overly optimistic given Lewis' struggles to get big-league hitters out on a consistent basis while playing for several clubs throughout his career, along with his recent two-year absence from Major League Baseball while finding his rhythm with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Luckily, Lewis has proven capable of filling Millwood's shoes and plenty more. At 31, he has finally reached the promise he flashed as a first-round pick by the Rangers in 1999, and Daniels fortunately locked him up with an affordable contract that could keep him here for two more years.

To convince June Jones to leave Hawaii for the Hilltop, SMU athletic director Steve Orsini persuaded prominent boosters to cough up $1 million each to pay for the new football coach's five-year, $10 million contract. Last year, we saw why it was a shrewd move. After a dismal one-win debut, Jones and his pass-happy offense restored some dignity to the Mustang program. SMU, led by freshman quarterback Kyle Padron, finished 7-5 and earned its first bowl berth since 1984. And not only did SMU play in the Hawaii Bowl, they dominated a good Nevada team on Christmas Eve, 45-10. June Cometh, indeed.

White Rock Lake Dog Park

Since Unleashed Indoor Dog Park shuttered its doors in early summer, more and more folks have returned to the outdoors, heading for shaded park benches and hoping for a bit of breeze in Dallas' various dog parks. But a quality dog park was never about air-conditioning in 100-degree heat, it's about a friendly community of regulars (dogs and parents). And the best place for canine and human interaction remains the White Rock Dog Park. Once there, you will find puggy pals and dirt-loving labs, along with their welcoming but doting mamas and papas, who pass the time in hours-long conversations that contain absolutely no judgment when the term "children" is used for creatures with four legs. Adding to the attractiveness of the park is that the city of Dallas keeps WRDP open from 5 a.m. to midnight daily (weather permitting), save a couple Mondays per month for maintenance.

Richardson Bike Mart
Courtesy of Richardson Bike Mart
Richardson Bike Mart
Mike Modano

What, you expected Tom Hicks? The Dallas Mavericks boss continues to do everything he can to put his basketball team in both the limelight and a position to win. Last season he helped host an NBA All-Star Game that drew a record crowd of 108,000 to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. He made the gutsy mid-season trade for Caron Butler and just this summer casually coughed up $3 million so his team could move up in the draft to select shooting guard Dominique Jones. And, of course, we can't forget his public feud with former Mavs owner Ross Perot Jr. Anyone who makes the rich look that silly gets our vote. Wait, he is the rich.

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