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Maybe It’s Good to Not Take Losing as a Big Deal

I’m still taking the prospect of Prince Fielder as the Rangers’ first baseman with a grain of salt.

I am still very concerned how much such a presence in the lineup will hinder the club’s running game and defense, and only seeing results on the field will assuage me of these fears.

But for what it’s worth, there has already been one aspect about Cecil’s boy that can cause me to smile, and amazingly, it’s something that might rub others the wrong way.

One of the things that apparently caused Prince to wear out his welcome in the Motor City was what many perceived to be a lackadaisical attitude, particularly how he handled not just the Tigers’ inability to get the job done but his own postseason struggles. In 40 postseason at-bats this past year, Fielder failed to drive in one run. Then, once the Tigers were finished and Boston moved on to the World Series, his last words were, ““It’s not really tough for me, man. For me, it’s over, bro.”

This could be something that may ring familiar to some in North Texas.

One thing that supposedly started the questions about Tony Romo and his commitment was how he took the Cows getting booted in their one playoff game, at home, in his second year as their quarterback. He also more or less said he didn’t look at it as the end of the world.

This did not sit well with quite a few people who do take the success of the Cows as the be-all-end-all of their lives. How can Romo be so cavalier about a loss that was so devastating to those whose tickets pay his salary?

Maybe because people like Romo and Fielder have a bit more perspective than we do – BECAUSE they are the ones out on that field.

Too often we live vicariously through our sports teams, linking their on-field success with our own personal worth and success of our own lives. This can be especially true if our own lives are not at a point that we are that happy with.

I should know all too well. In 2011, I lost my biggest writing job. I still have not found anything close to what I was making with it since. Just about every day, I look at my own personal struggles and wonder what I did wrong.

So yes, the Rangers coming so close and having it taken away that year stung exceptionally hard. But dwelling on it isn’t going to change it, and Nellie making that catch ultimately wasn’t going to make tons of people come asking me to do work for them.

I had to move on from that season, but Nellie and the Rangers had to even more. So does every athlete that fails in the end.

Because they can’t let such a loss fester in their minds, as they have to get back up and go again next year.

Otherwise, you get people like Donnie Moore, who never got over blowing a save that cost the Angels the pennant in 1986 (largely because the fans never let him forget it) and finally took his own life three years later.

For me, it shows he has perspective.

Fielder had other issues going on in 2013, mostly wondering what would happen with his family as he struggled through a divorce. This can be a stressing issue for even a millionaire baseball player, and while being on the field can distract from that, it can’t completely eliminate its importance.

So yes, there can always be issues that are bigger for athletes than their immediate success on the field, just like there will be issues for all of us bigger than success at our jobs.

Fielder is reportedly ready to begin fresh with the Rangers. His words tell me that he might be thankful for other things in his life besides whether or not his career ends with a ring. And on the weekend when we all gave thanks, perhaps that is food for thought.

Lets all try to remember that just because an athlete doesn’t take every loss like the worst disaster in the world, it doesn’t mean he’s not committed. In fact, that could be something we could learn from.

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Cowboys Should Raze the Roof Instead of Rangers Raising It

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I get a lot of criticism for claiming the Rangers aren’t appreciated in North Texas despite their recent success. And yes, if you base it on the attendance figures of the last two to three years, that criticism of my words is valid.

Like I said earlier, my beef primarily lies in television ratings and the like, but I will not deny the bottom line of winning has made a positive impact on their gate receipts.

Amazing, however that drawing that many in the last few years has done nothing to quell one of the biggest complaints about the team.

How can we praise our attendance figures and then claim that our Ballpark is hurting our chance at great attendance figures – to say nothing of the performance on the field?

I’m talking, of course, about the claim of how no one wants to go to the Ballpark because they can’t take the heat.

Despite all the good times the last few years in Arlington – and yes, these times ARE good – the complaints remain about the Rangers playing in an open-air outdoor ballpark in an area where in the summer double digit temperatures mean a cool front. There continue to be calls – mostly from the media, I will admit – for this franchise to start putting that Ray Davis and Bob Simpson money into building a roof over the Ballpark so the fans – and maybe the players – no longer have to suffer under Mother Nature’s wrath.

Does everyone really not see how ludicrous this sounds when you really think about it? Are we actually complaining that the Rangers, who play a game designed to be played on grass and dirt, actually have it be played OUTOORS??

Well, that’s because the Rangers can’t win constantly playing in the heat. It always wears them down and they are guaranteed to falter in the late months every single year. Unless you give them the comfort of playing indoors, they have no chance of going deep in October and reaching the World Series.

Except they did. Twice.

And that little bit about them not being able to pitch in the heat? The team ERA in each of the last four years: 3.93 (4th), 3.79 (5th), 3.99 (7th) and 3.62 (4th). Four straight years with a pitching staff in the top half of the American League – three of them in the top third.

Meanwhile, those same people who complain about Rangers Ballpark continue to gush and wax poetic on the Boss Hogg Bowl next door (I think it got a new name, sounds like some phone company, ah who cares) and how its enclosed roof and climate control are perfect for how all sports should be played in the 21st century.

(Yeah, can we stop calling it a retractable roof stadium yet? I’m more likely to get a date before the next time Jerry opens that roof, and I’ve already confined myself to dying alone.)

In other words, just another example of how the Cows do everything right and the Rangers CAN’T do anything right.

One problem, though. While the Rangers, with that horrible outdoor ballpark, have become one of the best teams in baseball on the field and at the gate, the Cows… well, the Cows suck, there’s no way around that.

Oh, the Cows still sell out games despite being one of the most unsuccessful teams for the past 17 years, and that has stuck in my craw for a long time. But now that I’ve thought of it more, why should it? The place may be selling out, but it’s not selling out with Cow fans.

Ask anyone who was at last Sunday’s game and they will likely mope about how many Bronco fans infested the home of “America’s Team” – just like the Bears and Steelers did last year. This actually makes a lot of sense. With five-figure seat licenses and 70 dollar parking, Jerry has made it impossible for most Cow fans to regularly come to his disguised country club. So while his teams fans are stuck watching on the screens at Hooters, visiting team fans will gladly use their saved vacation money to mark one more stadium off their tour list and see the pompous Cowboys get beat by their team.

Instead of trying to go on about why the Rangers need a roof, how about answering the question of why the COWBOYS need one?

Why does a team that plays in a region where the temperature rarely drops below 70 degrees before December and rarely below 50 before the new year have to play in enclosed climate control?

If anything, playing indoors could very well be a factor to the Cows’ failures – all that pampered comfort only produces a soft team that can’t handle the harsh elements in New York or Philadelphia come December.

Oh, sure, that theory has to be preposterous. Except that sonce the Cows last saw aSuper Bowl, 14 of the last 17 Super Bowl champions played home games outdoors. And 13 of them were in cold weather cities.

Heck, try telling a Packers fan in Green Bay that Lambeau Field needs a roof on it. They might give you a five minute head start to get out of town before the pitchfork crowd comes chasing (People in Wisconsin are nice like that).

So let’s recap: Since 2009 when JerryWorld opened, the Cows, with their luxurious, comfortable, climate controlled atmosphere, have a winning percentage 0f 50 percent, have won one playoff game and are only selling out because they don’t pull a San Antonio Spurs and deny ticket sales to anyone north of the Red River. The Rangers, meanwhile, playing outdoors in the unbearable “blast furnace” of the Texas summer heat, have four straight 90-win seasons with two trips to the World Series and have not only somehow become one of the top draws in baseball but have crowds that are actually supporting the home team.

Maybe instead Jerry should take a wrecking ball to his roof so his players – and fans in the stands – can get tougher.

But hey, maybe I’m comparing apples and oranges here in using Rangers vs. Cowboys in the indoors vs. outdoors debate. Maybe I should find an actual baseball team that plays in doors to compare the Rangers to… like the Houston Astros…

My Disappointment in the Media and Where I Want to Take Rowdy Sports

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I find myself frequently re-watching the ESPN-produced movie “Pony Exce$$” about the SMU scandal of the 80s, and what stood out most to me in that movie was the talk about the huge media war going on between the Dallas Morning News and now-defunct Dallas Times Herald at that time. The intense battle for readership was what drove those reporters to dig up one of the biggest scandals in the history of college sports.

Nowadays, I doubt any newspaper in the area would put much effort into unearthing any athletic wrongdoing at the University Park campus or the three other major colleges in North Texas.

Does the Morning News or Fort Worth Star-Telegram even have a beat writer covering SMU and/or the other local college programs individually? Maybe, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. There are unfortunately too many sports and teams that get complete ignorance from the local papers, relegated to maybe three inches of copy on page six without even a byline, if that at all.

Back nearly three decades ago, Richie Whitt got his start in the news because the Star-Telegram was so needing a beat writer to cover a fledgling indoor soccer team called the Dallas Sidekicks that they took his GREATLY stretched claim (OK, maybe it was a lie) that he knew that game at face value. Nowadays, I don’t think the S-T even has a beat writer for the Stars.

You could blame the reduction in coverage and reporting on these publications cutting their budget and staff with each year and the supposed dying out of newspapers, which I’d love to just have a discussion one day with Richie or someone similar. But the fact is, the problems exist everywhere, not just with the newspapers.

Sports reporting, at least in this area, has grown grossly complacent. It doesn’t matter if it’s print, TV or radio, the expansion of media has sadly come with contraction of actual coverage.

Admittedly, this is not exclusive to sports journalism, as 24-hour news networks inundate us with constant reporting of just one or two supposedly “big stories” to the point that we’re sick of them.

Still, it’s frustrating that with new sports stations starting up, the internet providing instant information and multiple sports radio stations in one of the biggest media markets, nowadays coverage is exclusively on just the “major league” teams and everything else is completely ignored. And of course, the Cowboys get way more coverage than the other major teams.

When I studied journalism at UTA, one of the staples we were taught was that yes, we must cover the most popular issues in the area at the time, but it was also our job to inform the public of things they might not know about.

The media seems to be just ignoring the latter of those two tasks, and it’s especially true in sports. You can get four pages of Cowboys coverage, including a front page article every day, but you’ll be lucky to find where the Grand Prairie AirHogs story is printed.

The Ticket Ticker and Fan Flash reporters on the radio won’t even devote a few seconds to reporting a RoughRiders score, instead opting for spending half the report summarizing the same story about what happened in Cowboys practice that the talk hosts are just going to go into anyway.

And they always go back to the cheap, lazy excuse that they have to cover what the listeners want to get ratings. No one cares about those sports, so there’s no point in trying.

Why not? At one point in time, the Sidekicks could pack Reunion Arena, which had twice the capacity of the team’s current home in the Allen Event Center. The team was popular enough for star player (now owner/coach) Tatu to draw a six-figure salary. If you take the time to TELL someone about something they might not know is happening, maybe might get interested.

I’m not talking about the Hardline having to devote even a daily segment to soccer or minor league baseball. I’m saying, would it really kill Sean Bass to take five seconds to say FC Dallas is playing tonight?

That’s what I hope to do with Rowdy Time Sports; do whatever I can to inform you all of every possible sporting event as best I can.

It’s not easy, given that I’m one person with extremely limited resources trying to do this while working other jobs. At the moment, the best I can give you in addition to these columns are my “Rowdy Time Gameday” articles, giving you what games are taking place on this particular day and eventually updating them with the scores, in addition to providing you with what news stories I can manage on the individual pages or each team/sport.

I can’t promise this will be perfect; only that I will try my best. It’s thanks to my on-the-job learning of WordPress format that I’m now able to create tables and columns for line scores and the like, which has allowed me to post these articles in hopefully a more professional looking manner. This is in addition to only using one sidebar for ads and the other for scores/summaries to try and make the ads as un-intrusive as possible (compared to the DMN and ST sites, whose ads take up a third of the space).

I want his to be as much of an online newspaper as I can make it, putting the games and scores, even the ones you might not have know of but might draw interest in when seen, up front for you to easily find them rather than bury them under small links off to the side.

Is this going to change the way sports are covered in this area? I can’t make a bold guarantee like that. But someone has to start.

Anyone can be lazy and just focus on the big boys. And maybe that’s what needs to change in a world where Wal-Mart shuts down the neighborhood store, CNN cherry picks its coverage and the Cowboys get all the headlines and talk.

Rangers Apparently Still Aren’t Good Enough for This Town

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A record start. The most wins in the American League. The signs that this team finally has a true ace pitcher.

All should seem well in Ranger Nation, right?

Not to hear the so-called fans say so.

We’re a third of the way into the season, and already the doom and gloom sayers are making the the preparations for the supposed collapse of the team that to them is preordained. Because these are the Texas Rangers. They HAVE to fail in the end. They MUST fail in the end. Success is not an option, because if they were to actually come out on top, what would we do?

We don’t know how to think positive about this team! It’s IMPOSSIBLE!! We’re supposed to do nothing but complain, complain, complain!!

Yes, this is the image I begin coming to when I hear all the griping and grousing on my Facebook and Twitter posts about how what was a seven-game lead in the American League West isn’t quite so large any more.

But is it correct for me to believe that? Maybe not. At least, upon further review, perhaps it’s not exclusive to their opinions of the RANGERS.

Come to think of it, Dallas sports fans do a LOT of griping about every single team. Rangers, Mavericks, Cowboys – every single loss by every single team is met with cries that the sky is falling. Why?

And this is the conclusion I have come to.

DFW doesn’t want winning. They don’t want championships.

They want DOMINATION.

They want their teams to win every single game by absolute blowout every single time. Nothing close, nothing tense, nothing where they don’t definitely know by halftime or the fourth inning that the game is in the bag.

I still remember a listener poll taken from one of the radio stations here a few years back (don’t ask me what station it was; I truly don’t remember), and the majority hands down voted that they preferred blowout wins to close ones.

Got to have a good reason to head for the car by the seventh inning/fourth quarter, right?

The way the Mavs won the championship in 2011, coming back from down 2 games to 1 and pulling it off despite trailing in the fourth quarter of each of the first five games? Still not good enough. They want results like the Cowboys steamrolling over the Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl 27. All the better to brag to everyone when they can put up that big honking score, right?

So yeah, the Rangers leading the AL West with an AL-best 35-21? Still not good enough, because Oakland’s recent surge has brought them to within less than two games. It was supposed to be 12 games by now, so we could just lay back, talk trash and throw our “Don’t Mess With Texas” arrogance.

But now, the Rangers might have to actually… EARN their trip to the postseason? That’s it, it’s over. They’ll be in second place once the Red Sox deliver the sweep here in Fenway that’s guaranteed. If it doesn’t come easy, it doesn’t come.

I guess such is the attitude that comes when you win five Super Bowls and only one was by less than two touchdowns.

Sad that the people of this area can’t enjoy the ride instead of worrying and assuming it’s gonna end in a crash.