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Sports Morning Headlines-Monday, 7/18/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Monday, July 18, 2011.

Peter Holt: The man in the middle - With little else going on in the NBA due to this lockout business, the folks at Hoopsworld are in the middle of a series profiling the league’s various owners.  You know, the guys at least partially responsible for the ongoing labor impasse.  The website’s latest offering, on the owners of the Southwest Division, provides another reminder of Spurs chairman Peter Holt’s prominent place at the heart of the lockout.  As head of the league’s labor committee, Holt will have a big say in whatever deal is ultimately worked out with the players — and by extension how long this stalemate lasts.  Unlike one of his, ahem, more vocal counterparts to the north, Holt prefers to keep a low public profile. We must use our imaginations to project his approach to the boardroom.  Having purchased the Spurs along with a group of 21 investors in 1993, and claiming a majority share in 1996, Holt is one of the league’s more tenured owners. He’s also one of the most widely respected.  “He runs the tractor business,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich once said of his owner, “and we run the basketball.”   READ MORE

Tony Parker: Why The Hate? (Part 2) - Last week we looked at the offensive system the great Chris Paul of the Hornets plays in and compared it to Tony Parker and the Spurs. This week we will look at another factor that robs Tony Parker of getting his so-called 10 dimes a game that every good point guard should have, and that is the personnel they play with – in particular at the shooting guard position.  Steve Nash – A few years ago he was the best point guard in the league (before the 07-08 CP3 came along). He has incredible court vision and on ESPN they always show his incredible passes, just like with Chris Paul. However, when looking at the personnel he plays next to in the backcourt (09-10 Jason Richardson/10-11 Vince Carter), you’ll notice that their play-making abilities are almost non-existent when compared to Nash.   READ MORE

Spurs/ARAMARK donating hot dogs and pretzels to Haven for Hope - Hot dogs and pretzels left unsold after Spurs and Silver Stars basketball and Rampage hockey home games and most special events at the AT&T Center are helping feed the homeless at Haven for Hope.  The team concessionaire, ARAMARK, began donating the food last month as part of the Spurs’ contribution to the NBA’s Green Week initiative, the league-wide effort promoting community involvement and recycling, according to Spurs spokeswoman Stacey Mitch.  Unsold food had been thrown away before the arrangement was made, said Shanna Salazar, executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which operates St. Vinnys Bistro at Haven’s Prospects Courtyard.  She estimated that the value of the donation from ARAMARK and Spurs Sports and Entertainment, the corporate entity that owns the sports teams, will average about $1,000 per event.   READ MORE

Mark Cuban won’t get fined for hanging with Mavs at the ESPYs - On Wednesday night, the sports universe celebrated itself with the annual ESPYs, a barrel of awards and yucks presided over by Seth "Mr. Comedy" Meyers. There were NBA lockout zings and a good time was had by all.  However, the Dallas Mavericks' win in the Best Team (the biggest award of the night, I think, although who really knows) created a bit of controversy. When the team won, assorted players, including Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki(notes) and Finals participant Brian Cardinal(notes), went up on stage to give awkward speeches. But they were also joined by team owner Mark Cuban, which means everyone exchanged handshakes and some short congratulations.   READ MORE

Mavs to open season with Chicago, host Miami Christmas Day - The NBA liked this season's Finals series so much, it wants to give it back to its fans as a Christmas gift, according to a report by the Miami Herald . A rematch of the NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat would be played in Dallas on Christmas Day if the league lockout doesn't interfere with the 2011-2012 schedule.  The Mavericks defeated the Heat in six games this June to win its first NBA title. The Heat defeated the Mavericks in six games in 2006 to win its first NBA title.  The report indicates that Dallas would host the holiday rematch that Sunday in American Airlines Center in the afternoon as one of its matchups on its annual showcase day. That holiday weekend also includes a Cowboys home game against the Eagles on Christmas Eve.   READ MORE

Jason Kidd wants to play three more years - Jason Kidd has some time to enjoy himself after a long playoff run that resulted in the Dallas Mavericks' first NBA title. What better way than joining the likes of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and former Stars Mike Modano and Brett Hull?  When asked of his future plans Saturday during an on-course interview with Jimmy Roberts during the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe, Kidd had this to say:  “Hopefully I got three years left. I have a year on my deal and then I would like to get past 40 and then watch the young guys play.”   READ MORE

Yao's Left Foot and the End of the Ming Dynasty - If there's ever a need for a Chinese neologism to express a frustrating state of affairs that doesn't meet expectations, we'd put forth Yao Ming's Left Foot (姚明左脚, as in '这个聚会太姚明左脚了') as our suggestion. The foot, who's status and health hundreds of millions of Chinese basketball devotees had clung to for years, will no longer be taking the shocks and pivots of a 7 foot 6 and 310 pound (141kg and 229cm) frame: Yao is reportedly retiring. The weight of an entire nation won't burden his metatarsals and phalanges anymore.  Over the years since his 2002 selection as the number one pick in the NBA Draft, Yao's Left Foot has borne witness to osteomyelitis in the big toe, a fractured foot bone four games before the end of the regular season, a stress fracture after the All-Star break, and a hairline fracture in the 2nd round of the playoffs against the Lakers (and lest we forget his broken right knee, which occurred when Yao was in the MVP conversation for posting a 27 point 10 rebound average). Another stress fracture in his left ankle this past season turned out to be one too many for his Left Foot to take, and the pretense of returning back to full strength could no longer be sustained. Yao has called a press conference for July 20th, the man is done.  READ MORE

Cuttino Mobley hopeful of return to NBA - via Fox26:  "Former NBA guard Cuttino Mobley, who retired in 2008 because of a heart ailment, would like another shot at playing in the NBA.  Mobley played for 11 years with four NBA teams, but was forced to leave the game after he was traded by the L.A. Clippers to the New York Knicks.  After a routine physical following the trade, Mobley was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  It is the same condition that led to the deaths of basketball players Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis."   READ MORE

McHale building staff through experience - Once Rockets coach Kevin McHale commenced with the charisma, some of the most vocal skeptics of his hiring were silenced by the assumption that adding veteran assistants would allay fears over his inexperience.  That appeared to be the logical approach to building a coaching staff around McHale, whose two interim stints with the Timberwolves totaled just 94 games and produced a record 16 games under .500. While McHale earned brownie points for player development while with Minnesota, concerns over his coaching acumen were broached when the Rockets on June 1 announced McHale as the successor to Rick Adelman.   READ MORE







Monday Morning Manager - Hate penalty kicks. Play until you drop…. That’s what the Rays and the Red Sox did Sunday night.  The United States women’s soccer team did not have that privilege and now they are celebrating in Japan. Today was a national holiday in Japan anyway…not sure what it was…but they have a World Cup to celebrate and the Americans are left with another example of what Roger Kahn once wrote:  “Losing after great striving is the story of man, who was born to sorrow, whose sweetest songs tell of saddest thought.”  But the Rangers haven’t had to worry about that lately. They have won 11 straight and have a four game lead in the American League West going into a three-game series with the Angels as the Full Buck Moon wanes in the sky.    READ MORE

Rangers push win streak to 11 with 3-1 win over Seattle - An extended streak of success was only a matter of time, Texas Rangers players had been saying the past two months.  They were supremely confident, even when they were playing some of their worst games of the season, and weren't worried that the All-Star break would disrupt the start of something good.  It turns out those players knew what they were talking about.  Matt Harrison allowed one run in 72/3 innings, and Mitch Moreland launched an early three-run homer as the Rangers sank the Mariners 3-1 to complete a four-game sweep and extend their winning streak to 11 games.   READ MORE

Victories come before pride for Rangers' Andrus, Chavez - The Adrian Beltre-Felix Hernandez in-game smack talk grabbed national attention last year when a fill-in umpire mistakenly took Beltre's antics toward his former teammate the wrong way and ejected the then-Boston third baseman.  Those two were at it again Saturday night, with Hernandez retiring Beltre all three times. But the King had much more trouble with two of his countrymen.  Fellow Venezuelans Elvis Andrus and Endy Chavez went a combined 5 for 7 against Hernandez, and Andrus was especially pesky in the Rangers' 5-1 victory.  Ian Kinsler was the offensive star with two solo homers, but Andrus went 3 for 4, drove in a run, stole a base and stole an eighth-inning run on a grounder back to Hernandez.  All was done in the name of a victory, not national pride between three friends.  "I love to face Felix," Andrus said. "It's always nice when you have great games against a pitcher like that. We're friends, for sure, but when we play it's about business."   READ MORE

Pirates surge past Astros with three runs in 11th to take three-game series - Pirates All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan blew his first save of the season on Chris Johnson's game-tying RBI double in the eighth, but that didn't prevent Pittsburgh from bouncing back in extra innings Sunday afternoon and taking the three-game weekend series from the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.  Manager Clint Hurdle's squad retaliated with three runs in the top of the 11th and moved within a half game of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central by escaping with a 7-5 victory.  Ultimately, it became a battle of the bullpens, with Pittsburgh utilizing six relievers over five innings and Houston going with five in 5 1/3 innings.  For Hanrahan, he had converted 28 consecutive saves.   READ MORE

Astros place Downs on paternity list, recall LHP Wesley Wright from Triple-A - The Houston Astros placed Matt Downs on paternity leave following Sunday afternoon's 7-5 loss in 11 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in order for the 27-year-old infielder to return home to Alabama to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.  To fill Downs' temporary, vacated roster spot, the Astros recalled left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright from Triple-A Oklahoma City.  Wright, 26, went 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 41 strikeouts over 48 innings in 29 games (three starts) for the RedHawks this season.  He's expected to join the Astros for Monday's home opener versus Washington.   READ MORE

Marquis set to face familiar foe in Astros - It'll be a veteran and rookie matching up when the Nationals and Astros begin their three-game series at Minute Maid Park.  Jason Marquis has faced Houston more than any other opponent in his 12 Major League seasons, having spent five seasons in the same division while with the Cardinals (three years) and Cubs (two years).  On the other side will be 20-year-old right-hander Jordan Lyles, who is seeking his first career win in his ninth start.  Lyles has gone 0-4 with a 4.60 ERA. The last Astros pitcher to go at least eight straight winless starts to begin a season was Felipe Paulino, who went 10 starts without a win from April 10-May 30 last season.  Marquis, who earned his first big league victory in 2000 as a 21-year-old member of the Braves, is 7-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 18 starts this season. He took the loss in his last start, which came in a 2-1 defeat to Ubaldo Jimenez and the Rockies.  "I thought I threw the ball well," Marquis said after the game. "I tried to do my part ... Ubaldo was just sharp tonight. You just tip your hat, and it's one of those games."   READ MORE






Mediator back for today's talks - Talks to end the NFL lockout will resume with the court-appointed mediator in New York today and could continue through Thursday, a person familiar with the negotiations said.  The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are supposed to remain confidential.  The mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, originally had ordered representatives of the league's owners and players to meet with him Tuesday in Minneapolis. Now Boylan is expected to arrive in New York today to oversee talks aimed at ending the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.  The owners have a special meeting set for Thursday in Atlanta, where they potentially could ratify a new deal — if one is reached by then. Any agreement also must be voted on by groups of players, including the named plaintiffs in a federal antitrust suit against the league, and the NFL Players Association's 32 team representatives.   READ MORE

We're about to find out GM Smith's game plan - As part of their "Unleash the Spirit" marketing campaign for the 2011 season, the Texans will unveil the new design of their season tickets on Tuesday.  With the progress that has been made in negotiations between NFL players and owners to end the lockout, soon thereafter, perhaps as early as next weekend, there could be an unleashing of all sorts of league activity.  Normally, the NFL calendar year begins the first week of March, giving teams almost five months to build a training camp roster.  Because of the owners' desire to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement (translation: greed), NFL teams will have less than two weeks to accomplish that this season.  It is going to be wild. It is going to be hectic. It is going to be chaotic.  It is also going to be a measure of how good Texans general manager Rick Smith is at his job.   READ MORE

A Look Back (1993): Emmitt Runs Over Eagles for 237 Yards - As the lockout continues, we will periodically consider some stories from various archives. This one focuses on Emmitt Smith’s record-breaking performance against the Eagles in 1993.  Most remember the 1993 season for the team’s ability to overcome an 0-2 start to finish at 12-4 on the way to a Super Bowl title. While Dallas was struggling, the Eagles jumped out of the gate with a 4-0 record.  By the time the Cowboys traveled to Philadelphia in week 9, both teams stood at 4-2. It was a rain-soaked game, and the teams amassed only 203 passing yards combined. Dallas had some trouble shutting down Heath Sherman and Herschel Walker, who combined for 136 rushing yards.  The Cowboys jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half, but the Eagles wouldn’t go away. Philadelphia cut the Dallas lead to 13-10 in the fourth quarter, but the Cowboys had a solution.   READ MORE

BoTB All-Time Cowboys Final Draft Results: Four Writers, Four Teams... It's On! - The final pick has been made, it's time to publish the results of the BTB BoTB fantasy draft. I took care of all the particulars in the last post, so this one we can dedicate to just the results. If you'd like a recap of the rules of our exercise, go here.  I think I speak for all of the writers involved that it was a blast participating in this, and it's only getting started. Following this post, each writer will have a chance to politic for support; we will submit a post explaining our philosophies in roster building. From there, we'll begin with the semifinals and on to the finals. Without further ado, here are the complete rosters.   READ MORE


Stars hope motivated Sheldon Souray pays dividends - The past year has been a rough one for new Dallas Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray. The money was good, but the situation wasn’t ideal. The Edmonton Oilers paid Souray $4.5 million last season to play in the AHL, for another team’s affiliate.  Now, Souray who turned 35 last week, is ready to return to the NHL and show that he can still be an effective player in the league. That’s what the Stars are counting on.  “I sense an unbelievable amount of motivation with him,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “I realize some people might view this as a gamble, but I believe it’s a gamble worth taking. He’s motivated. He wants to show the NHL he can still be a top defenseman in this league.”    READ MORE

Pardy excited about joining Stars organization - His signing as a free agent with the Dallas Stars may have been overlooked by the majority of hockey fans, but the club is confident that its quiet acquisition of defenseman Adam Pardy on July 1 will end up having a significant impact on the club’s fortunes.  At 6-foot-2 and 206 pounds, the 27-year-old Pardy, who played the last three seasons with the Calgary Flames, is solid defensively with a bit of a physical touch and should be a nice addition to the Stars’ blueline. As an added bonus, Pardy has a prior working relationship with recently-hired Dallas head coach Glen Gulutzan and all parties acknowledged that connection was important.  “Adam is a hard-working player who we feel adds a lot to our defensive corps,” Nieuwendyk said. “He will be a good fit among our blueliners. Adam has a history with Glen Gulutzan and that certainly was a factor with this signing.”   READ MORE

Who Is The Most Exciting Defenseman Prospect? - This summer I find myself looking forward to the future more so than any other time in my life as a Dallas Stars fan. It has nothing to do with my expectations for the upcoming season; in fact, I'm actually very excited to see what the Stars can do this year with a revamped roster and new coach.  What I am secretly extremely excited about, however, is to see just what this hockey team will be in three years. In the past, the Dallas Stars have been a quick-build, "win now" type of team. The team has used smart trades and deft free agent signings to become winners -- think of how the 1999 Stanley Cup team was built -- while also relying on the draft to supplement being able to build the team from the outside.  Things have changed, however, necessitated by a shift in how the NHL does business and a forced change in how the Dallas Stars have been forced to operate. Teams are holding on to their young, talented defensemen and only trading them away if the price is absolutely out of this world. Teams around the NHL certainly aren't allowing their top defensemen to escape via free agency.   READ MORE

---Staff and Wire Reports contributed to this story



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