*Went and watched the American professional debut of Cuban defector/Rangers' prospect Leonys Martin last night in Frisco. In a word, wow! With his father and agent in the stands at Dr Pepper Ballpark, Martin led off his first AA game in the 1st with a double off the wall in center field. He singled to center in the third, then bounced out to first, hit a rocket that was caught at the wall in deep left and then sharply doubled down the first-base line. Three hits, a pair of doubles and nothing to suggest this kid won't be the Rangers' center fielder come September. Only question mark might be his speed. He was thrown out by a mile to trying steal second and barely sneaked into second standing up on his 8th-inning double. But two of the balls he hit were harder than anything you've seen from a guy named Julio Borbon.
*Donovan McNabb = Dirk Nowitzki? As in, he's an underrated player, an unfairly criticized target that's done everything in his sport except except win a championship. Boxer Bernard Hopkins' nonsensical ripping of McNabb is sad. The thought that because McNabb was raised in a two-parent, two-income household that stressed education he is somehow not "black enough" is just asinine. But, as we know in these parts, when he loses Dirk is often too white. Donovan McDirk.
*Thought I'd fallen asleep for a month when I saw the Miami Heat celebrating what sure looked like an NBA championship after beating the Celtics Wednesday night. LeBron James kneeled and "prayed" (see: posed) on the court for three minutes and Dwyane Wade fell to the floor as if just so exhausted emotionally and physically that he couldn't stay upright. I think I saw some tears, and perhaps a premature "Mission: Accomplished" banner. Vomit, vomit and a pinch of puke. The Mavs slayed a bigger dragon in sweeping the two-time defending champion Lakers. Yet after Game 4 Dallas merely shook hands with L.A., walked into the locker room, smiled and calmly stated "we're halfway home." The Heat, which has only been together since October, reacted as if they'd exorcised demons that had been tormenting them for decades. Is anyone outside Miami rooting for these frauds? Didn't think so.
*I don't wanna hear another word about our area's tough times or low spirits or high gas prices. For three consecutive days there has been a line of cars -- I'm not exaggerating -- 100 deep wrapping around the store and winding down the street waiting at the drive-thru for In-N-Out burger in Allen. If people have that much time and money and gas at their disposal, things can't be that bad, right? Speaking of people, I don't get our obsession with getting something first. I mean, camping out to get Mavs playoff tickets, maybe. There's a finite number of tickets and when Game 1 of the West Finals is over, it's over. But I sincerely doubt In-N-Out will run out of hamburgers. Next week the line will be three cars deep, and the food will taste just as good.
*Speaking of Dirk, his inclusion on the NBA's All-NBA 2nd Team makes it: four 1sts, five 2nds and two 3rds. Not a bad 11-year run. The Thunder's Kevin Durant may have led the NBA in scoring and may have made the 1st Team at forward and definitely has a brighter long-term future, but entering the West Finals I wouldn't swap players. You?
*The NBA 2011 Western Conference Finals: Texas-OU.
*I wish I didn't feel this way, but I seriously doubt if Caron Butler will play for the Mavs this season -- even if they get to The Finals. And he's a free agent after the season. Jan. 1 might have been his final game in a Dallas uniform.
*Was digging for old crap in the Internet's virtual closet when I happened upon this blog item about Greg Williams. Favorite part is an anonymous commenter emphatically stating that I suck because I have been fired from both the Star-Telegram and Morning News. Ell. Oh. Ell. We long ago established that I do, in fact, suck. But I voluntarily quit the FWS-T in 2004 to come write for a paper called the Observer and I honestly don't remember ever working for Dallas' Only Daily. But screw me, since the "customer" is always right I obviously did.
*Not on Forbes' 2011 list of Most Influential athletes: Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. Not sure I'd recognize NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson if I passed him in the mall. As for Tiger, yesterday at The Players (widely considered golf's fifth major) he quit. After a 42 on the front, he just quit. Same guy who in 2008 famously beat Rocco Mediate at the U.S. Open on a knee that needed surgery days later. For a guy who once had unprecedented focus and unparalleled gumption, it's getting sad. Almost embarrassing. Tiger said he re-injured the knee in the third round of The Masters. But he played without a limp in the next day's fourth round and shot 67. He expects us to believe the supposed injury is worse today than a month ago? And coming into this tournament, he called it a "slight injury." I'm thinking the triple-bogey on the 7th was more of a factor in the WD than the balky knee.
*Props to owner Mark Cuban. For a guy who loves the spotlilght and owns a diamond-encrusted, neon-blinking soap box, it's got to be killing him to remain quiet during these playoffs. But the Mavs are winning, so he's biting his lip. We'll see if it lasts. I've emailed him for comments on various subjects and for a radio interview requests and the usually accessible Cuban has politely declined. I love his news-making rants, but if it takes him stepping into the quiet, dark shadows in order for the Mavs to win ... Sshhh.
*Yikes. That's 45 more layoffs and two rounds of pink slips in nine weeks for the Star-Telegram. I still have a lot of good friends there after 18 years writing in Fort Worth. But it doesn't look good. Buy the paper now, while you still can.
*Man Whitey Whiteface from Whiteville is sooo touchy these days. First Obama's birth certificate. Then Osama's death certificate. Now redneck, blue-collar America is upset that a rapper was allowed in The White House. Let's face it, it's a horrible time in our country's history to be a racist.
*Regardless of today's date I have zero Triskaidekaphobia. Nor am I fearful of being in either Oklahoma City or Memphis when the Mavs play Game 3 of the West Finals on May 21. Because, upon further review, these folks are nothing more than a doomsday cult. Actually, I made that deduction upon initial review.
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*In 1970 the Cowboys were obliterated, 38-0, by the St. Louis Cardinals on a particularly ugly November Monday night in the Cotton Bowl. Season over. Team sucks. Fire Tom Landry. Etc. But instead of cratering, Dallas regrouped and was somehow galvanized by the loss. The Cowboys didn't lose again until the flukey Super Bowl V. It feels like the Mavericks had a similar epiphany after their 23-point implosion at Portland on April 23. Instead of pointing fingers and packing for summer, the Mavs have won six in a row.
*Say what you will about Richard Hunter, the dude gets shit done. I'd vote him for mayor in a snap.
*What do you get when you mix Foo Fighters with Deadmau5? Foot-tappin', head-boppin', hard-rockin' genius.
*This weekend? Feels like the perfect Saturday to finally break out the new bike I won at a Christmas party and hop on the Katy Trail. On Sunday, maybe Mavs in the afternoon. Maybe Sambuca at night. Maybe don't be a stranger.