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There are plenty of good camping options to be found within three or four hours of the metroplex, but few of them offer the kind of scenery, wildlife and rock climbing opportunities you'll find in Western Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge. With a large herd of bison, the refuge is your best bet in the region for a true, in-the-wild glimpse of the beasts that used to roam this part of the country by the millions. It's also home to more than 240 species of birds, several prairie dog towns and more than 800 head of elk, all of which you might run into as you hike the many miles of nationally recognized hiking trails. So pack a tent, head out for a long weekend and get some fresh air in those lungs, city dweller. And make sure to stop in Meers for the world famous Meersburger—just don't ask for mayo, or they'll call you a sissy. It's Oklahoma, after all.
The Mavericks' Rodrigue Beaubois seemingly had this one wrapped up after he set career highs in points, rebounds and blocks during a 40-point offensive outburst on March 27 against the Golden State Warriors. But as surprised as we were to see the rookie backup guard dominate like Dirk, watching Rangers catcher Bengie Molina hit for the cycle on July 16 against the Red Sox was a true sports miracle. "Pigs have flown in Boston, Massachusetts," said Rangers TV play-by-play voice Josh Lewin as Molina—self-proclaimed as "one of the slowest guys in the world"—stopped at third base in the eighth inning with a stand-up triple to complete the historic feat while Lewin's partner, Tom Grieve, chuckled. Molina also managed to slug a grand slam as part of his big day, leaving no doubt that his performance was the best of what we didn't think we'd see this year.
Granted, it will be weird around here without Flozell Adams. And seeing Mike Modano in a Detroit Red Wings sweater will drive us crazier than bat shit. But on April 11 we lost a dear old friend that took hundreds of players' memories with it. A lot of us grew up with Texas Stadium, and were sad to see it go down. Just after dawn the world's most recognizable hole in the roof was imploded into a hole in the ground, symbolically tearing a hole in our heart. Christened by Tex Schramm, nurtured by Tom Landry and canonized by Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, Texas Stadium was built by 17 National Football League Hall of Famers and destroyed by 2,700 pounds of dynamite. Just like that, in less than a minute, Texas' most recognizable architecture this side of The Alamo was gone. Texas Stadium, rest in pieces.
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.
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.