Whether you're at the end of your rope or merely the end of your week, welcome to Whitt's End:
*Since you guys salivate over local radio news, here's a zesty taste: Starting August 16 the new program director at 105.3 The Fan will be Bruce Gilbert. Yep, the same Bruce Gilbert who helped build 1310 AM The Ticket into Dallas' sports-talk dynasty. His return to Dallas will be akin to Mike Modano joining the Detroit Red Wings. Now he's trying to beat the team he helped create. Sounds fun. Stay tuned.
*On August 4 Chuck Greenberg outbid Mark Cuban for the Texas Rangers. Weird that back on February 3, I wrote that the two reminded me of each other.
*Went into Dallas Cowboys' training camp in San Antonio worried about three positions: left tackle, free safety and kicker. Check, check and check. Doug Free looked spectacular. Alan Ball is smallish, but a ball hawk. And David Buehler made 33 of 38 field goals in the Alamodome. Dez Bryant and Marcus Spears' injuries notwithstanding, so far so good.
*Going to be very cool watching Emmitt Smith inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night. I covered his career as the Cowboys beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and I surmise that nobody in NFL history turned more 2- and 3-yard runs into gains of 4 and 5 yards. Consistent. Durable. Spectacularly solid. Bravo.
*Someone will someday break Emmitt's all-time rushing mark of 18,355 but I don't think we know his name yet. Maybe Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson? But again, Smith's durability was his biggest strength. Closest active runner is Ladanian Tomlinson, but at age 30 he's about 6,000 yards behind Smith.
*Hope Dez Bryant was paying attention yesterday when Cowboys' rookie offensive linemen showed up at the Alamodome sporting horrific hair styles. The cuts - which ranged from a checkerboard to a half-n-half look complete with waxed eyebrow for Mike Tepper - came courtesy of veteran center Andre Gurode. A training camp ritual, if you will. A form of hazing, you might call it. The rookies took their medicine, and became better teammates because of it. No one is bigger than the team, or the traditions of football. Right, Dez?
*Tony Romo's grandparents were at practice in San Antonio on Wednesday. Signing autographs. Swear.
*Mark Cuban promises me that he didn't make money on the sale of the Texas Rangers despite buying up debt in the weeks before the transaction. Even after reading this, I'm not exactly sure why a guy who was prepared to bid almost $1 billion for the Chicago Cubs threw in the towel on the Rangers at $581 million.
*Talked with new owner Chuck Greenberg on The Fan yesterday afternoon. Among the highlights: Tom Hicks is totally out. A new video board at Rangers Ballpark is on its way for 2011. Ron Washington is in, with a contract extension looming. And the Rangers will aggressively pursue re-signing Cliff Lee, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero. Yesssss!
*Seems like these days the Cowboys get a player in the Hall of Fame every year. Troy Aikman. Michael Irvin. Emmitt. Bob Hayes. Rayfield Wright. Next year Deion Sanders, then pretty quickly Larry Allen or Charles Haley. But do the current Cowboys have any Hall of Famers? Don't think so. Potentially Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware or Tony Romo. But a looooong way to go before we can even begin to consider them.
*Having grown up with a gay little brother, I can safely say that hatred of homosexuals is founded in nothing but fear and ignorance. It's nature, not nurture. He used to tell me, "If it's a choice, how long did you consider being gay before you chose being straight?" I don't get all the outrage over the repeal of California's Prop 8 that banned gay marriage. If marriage isn't exclusively between one man and one woman, so what the what?! If I prefer McDonald's, I wouldn't hate you just because you went to Wendy's. A world of cookie-cutter humans all with the exact same ideals, morals, standards and preferences? No thanks.
Michael Albert Haynesworth never passes his conditioning test.
*We've got a new Supreme Court judge. Not surprisingly, Obama nominee Elena Kagan was voted against by Texas senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn. Politicians think less outside the box than any group on the planet. Other than the KKK, of course.
*I'm serious about this: Considering all they've been through - from Washington's cocaine admission to the fan falling out of the stands to a surreal bankruptcy - if the Rangers win the World Series it'll make a fantastic, yet unbelievable, movie.
*After sitting in the sun all afternoon in an Alamodome parking lot, the thermometer on my car yesterday read 111. And, yes, the windows were cracked open.
*Saturday night at The Palladium: The Toadies. See you there.
*This weekend? Welcome to football season. Sunday at 4 p.m. I'll co-host the Dallas Cowboys Pre-Game Show on 105.3 The Fan alongside Wally Lynn and ol' coach Joe Avezzano. For home games this season we'll be at Cowboys Stadium. For road games we'll be at Duke's on Belt Line Road in Addison. Don't be a stranger.
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