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Sports Morning Headlines-Thursday, 10/20/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Thursday, 10/20/11.

NBA owners, players plan 3rd straight day of talks - After another long day of negotiations, NBA players and owners hammered out plans for another meeting.  That's not the deal Commissioner David Stern wanted, but it's better than the cancellations that could have come if talks fall through.  Both sides seemed to have plenty to talk about. After an eight-hour meeting Wednesday brought their time together to more than 24 hours over two days, federal mediator George Cohen said they would resume bargaining Thursday afternoon.  "Everyone is extremely focused on the core issues, the difficult issues that confront them," Cohen said.  Talks broke for the night so owners could attend meetings at another hotel. Stern left after seven hours for a presentation on revenue sharing by the owners' planning committee.  The sides have been divided over two main issues, the division of revenues and the structure of the salary cap system.   READ MORE

Dirk Nowitzki denied first pitch - The Texas Rangers nominated Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki to throw out a first pitch before one of their home games in the World Series, but the recommendation has been nixed by Major League Baseball.  The Rangers confirmed that they sent Nowitzki's name as part of a list of first-pitch possibilities and that MLB decided not to use him. The club did not say why he was rejected.  Unlike regular-season games, all first-pitch assignments in the World Series have to be approved from a list of candidates by the league office.  Sources told that -- with the NBA in the midst of a lockout that has spanned 111 days -- at least some hesitation stems from the idea that MLB executives want to stand behind their basketball counterparts and have notified the Rangers that they won't bestow first-pitch honors on an NBA player.  Major League Baseball insists that the NBA's labor unrest had no impact on Nowitzki not being selected to throw out the first pitch.  "MLB absolutely denies that any part in selecting the first ball pitcher had anything to do with the current labor situation in the NBA," MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said. "You want the club's input in what makes sense for them and then we talk about what makes sense for the team and a good broad-base national appeal.   READ MORE

UPDATED:  Nowitzki to throw first pitch in Game 3 - MLB has now confirmed that Dirk Nowitzki will throw out the first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series. That game is Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  The first official pitch of the game is slated for 7:05 p.m., so Nowitzki will throw his before that. He also threw out a first pitch in June of this season, tossing a basketball to home plate before firing a strike with a baseball to Michael Young. READ MORE

Project Spurs Video: Parker plays Texas Hold 'Em in Cannes - Apparently San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker isn't letting the NBA lockout stop him from gambling. In the clip you are about to watch, Parker discusses one of his other passions aside from basketball, poker.  Though the video is in French you can still make-out some of the connected words in English such as the words "trash talking."  The 29-year old Parker is almost on his own tour -- he plays basketball with ASVEL, has a poker match, and even flew down to Texas over the weekend for his basketball clinic.   WATCH VIDEO

Dreaming Through Free Agency’s Seven-Footers - Moving on from the horrific car accident that is the NBA’s current labor negotiation, here comes some casual dabbling in the always fun world of speculative free agency predictions. As we saw happen when the NFL finally came to its peaceful resolution, the splurge of signings, trades, relocation, and bag package quintupled in a condensed period of activity. It was as if God crammed all the blizzards, freezing rain, and icy roads usually reserved for November through February into a single week, then declared it winter.  When a conclusion is finally made there will be none of the traditional player to player courting: no fruit baskets overflowing with Beats by Dre headphones to be sent or received. When the season starts, teams with overtly obvious areas of need will race one another towards landing the prized player of their choice. It was a joy for fans of the NFL, and it will (hopefully) be a joy for fans of the NBA.   READ MORE



Tickets for The World Series - Cheer on the Back-2-Back ALCS Champion Texas Rangers.  See what's available at CHECK AVAILABILITY HERE

2011 World Series Game 1 Recap: Rangers Will Not Sweep - Magic Number: 4.  Is this better than a year ago? Is falling in a close one to fall to 0-1 in the World Series better than having it be all but over going in to the final innings?  The Rangers lost the kind of game you shrug your shoulders at in the season. They did not get the breaks. They had some bad luck. Some normally-good players had bad days. They were beaten by a good team with their ace on their mound in their own ballpark. You lose a close one in the regular season, and you can quickly get over the loss by knowing you can't win them all, the team made it competitive.  In the World Series, you don't get that "moral victory" (an awful phrase often used to marginalize good points). You just get 0-1. It does not matter if you looked good losing, or if they looked bad, or whatever, it just matters that your chances of a World Series victory plummeted.   READ MORE

Craig’s Pinch Single Gives Cardinals Game 1 Win Over Rangers - Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and the homer-happy Texas Rangers experienced another power outage in the opening game of the World Series.  This time, they hope the juice gets flowing again before it’s too late.  The big hitters in the Rangers’ potent lineup fizzled in Game 1 on Wednesday night. Baffled by Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals’ reliable bullpen, Texas managed to eek out its only runs on Mike Napoli’s homer in a 3-2 loss on a clear, blustery night at Busch Stadium.   READ MORE

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 3, Rangers 2 - It was an entertaining Game 1 of the World Series as the Cardinals broke a tie score with a pinch-hit single in the sixth and then held on for a 3-2 win. Some quick thoughts (more to come from clubhouse later):  What it all means: The Cardinals won at home in Game 1 behind a strong performance by Chris Carpenter and great work from the bullpen (as usual this season). The winner of Game 1 has won 12 of the last 14 World Series with 2002 (San Francisco beating Anaheim) and 2009 (Philadelphia over New York) as the lone exceptions. It sets up Game 2 on Thursday at Busch Stadium with Colby Lewis vs. Jaime Garcia.   READ MORE

Tranzactionz! - The Astros re-signed Jonnathan Aristil, and Jose Valdez - the latter of which had elected free agency, and then re-upped with the Astros on Monday.   READ MORE



Bigger game, Titans questions - Notes from the Texans' practice and locker room on Wednesday at Reliant Stadium:  Taking on Tennessee:  The Tennessee Titans may have a new head coach in former Oilers great and Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Mike Munchak, but that doesn’t mean they’re a totally different outfit. Munchak retained several assistants who, like he, served under former head coach Jeff Fisher. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is impressed with their team makeup, and sees many similarities from the previous regime.  “They play extremely hard and are very physical,” Kubiak said. “Their offense has changed quite a bit from before so we have to adjust to that. Defensively, they do have a new coordinator, but a lot of the schemes are the same. I think it’s a same type of game, a very physical game with those guys.”   READ MORE

Golden opportunity for Texans in AFC South - Never has the opportunity been more golden, primarily for the Texans but also for the Titans. The Peyton Manning-less Colts are not going to win the AFC South this season, leaving the door ajar for the Texans, Titans and, to a lesser extent, the Jaguars, to kick in authoritatively.  NFL players claim that their lone concern is what happens in their locker room, but the Texans realized the Colts' vulnerability once Manning was sidelined following his second neck surgery of the offseason. And though they had designs on securing their first AFC South title and corresponding playoff berth with or without Manning calling the Colts' signals, the Texans understand that division dynamics have been altered. Indianapolis has won seven of nine AFC South titles.   READ MORE

Montrae Holland on return to Cowboys: 'Second chances are great; it's a blessing' - The Cowboys told Montrae Holland at the end of training camp that they didn't have a spot for him on their roster.  Now they do. Not only is the veteran offensive lineman back, there's a good chance he starts at left guard Sunday afternoon against St. Louis.  "Second chances are great," Holland said Wednesday after going through his first practice in more than six weeks. "That's all I can say, man.  "It's a blessing."  Starter Bill Nagy fractured his ankle in the loss to New England and will miss the remainder of the season. His move to injured reserve and the fact veteran Derrick Dockery is still rehabbing from his injuries opened the door for Holland.   READ MORE

Cowboys Power Formation Proves Tricky On Their Lone Touchdown - We've noted how the Dallas Cowboys redzone woes doomed them against the New England Patriots this past Sunday. One thing you want to do is run the ball effectively in the redzone. The Cowboys haven't been able to do that. So what's the next best thing? Line up in your super-heavy-jumbo-power package, and throw the ball.  On second and one at the Patriots one-yard line, the Cowboys lined up with three tight ends and brought in nose tackle Josh Brent as a blocking fullback. John Phillips and Martellus Bennett are covering the offensive tackles and Jason Witten is lined up in a wing position.   READ MORE


Stars ready to showcase depth at blue line - With a 5-1-0 record through their first six games, there's no denying that the Dallas Stars are off to a solid start in their first season under new head coach Glen Gulutzan. When he was introduced as Marc Crawford's replacement back in June at American Airlines Center, Gulutzan or "Gully" as he's called, talked about the 2011-12 Stars being much harder to play against.  There were a number of ways the 40-year-old head coach was hoping to accomplish that. One way was by bringing guys to Dallas who already had the reputation of being hard to play against. Enter guys like veteran center Radek Dvorak, former Phoenix face-off specialist Vernon Fiddler and tough defensemen Adam Pardy and Sheldon Souray.   READ MORE

Seeing Red: Allen Americans Have War Veteran Trying To Make Team - Every year, there is a bunch of guys that come to Allen to try to make their push to get into professional hockey. Most of these guys are young, fresh out of juniors or college and looking for a foot in the door to make their dream of playing in the NHL a reality. Everyone has to start somewhere, and for many guys that start comes in the Central Hockey League. It's not often you see a 28 year old rookie trying to make the squad for his first pro hockey roster spot. Luke Flicek has had a very interesting path to be in Allen this season to see his dream come true.  Luke grew up in Minnesota, the self-proclaimed "state of hockey." He excelled at sports in high school, becoming an all-star and captain of all three sports he played: baseball, football and, of course, hockey. He excelled in academics as well, being named to the National Honor Society and "A" honor roll.   READ MORE

---Staff and Wire Reports contributed to this story



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