Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End …3.12.21 ...
*Luka Doncic’s gaudy stats are a dime a dozen. Most triple-doubles here. Youngest player there. Rinse. Repeat. One that really resonates: Only LeBron James is selling more jerseys in the NBA this season.
Luka has the people. Here’s betting he’ll also someday win the prize.
*Dak Prescott’s four-year, $160 million contract is obviously monstrous, but it pales in comparison to the best – or worst, depending on your perspective – deal in DFW history.
In 2000, the Texas Rangers signed Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million contract. Remember, that was 21 years ago, back when $10 million per season was considered astronomical compensation. For sheer size, A-Rod’s deal dwarfs anything ever signed in the Metroplex. (For all he did, Dirk Nowitzki’s biggest deal was the four-year, $80 million contract in 2010. The Mavs’ largest is the five-year, $158 million awarded to Kristaps Porzingis.)
That said, Prescott’s deal may be even better, based on the record signing bonus, one-year payout, guaranteed money at signing, no-trade clause and no-tag provision.
For their money, the Rangers got an MVP in 2003 but went a combined 54 games under .500 with last-place finishes in the division in each of A-Rod’s three seasons in Arlington. The Cowboys are banking on more from Prescott. Much, much more.
Let the pressure and expectations begin.
*Don’t look now, but the Rangers are putting on the condom after sex. Of course, they’re not alone amongst Texans in prematurely letting their guards and their masks down at a time when we can see life at the end of the COVID tunnel.
But when the Rangers announced this week they will allow a capacity crowd – 40,218 at Globe Life Field – for their April 5 home opener but then immediately scale back the attendance and ratchet up the safety measures in ensuing games, aren’t they admitting to fostering a super-spreader eventand slamming the barn door long after the horses galloped into the sunset?
Much as we wish it was true, COVID doesn’t take days off or only show up for night games. And the pandemic that has killed half-a-million Texans won’t go away just because we’re tired of it, or because we want to boast that we were the first to return to normal.
Look, I get it. Rangers fans had to watch the Dodgers win a World Series in their new stadium before they could step foot in it. Ouch. But allowing fans to sit shoulder-to-sold-out-shoulder in the stands on Opening Day while closing the clubhouse to the media in the name of player safety is just hypocritical insanity.
The Dallas Cowboys will also play to a full house in 2021, but we all saw this one coming. In lieu of winning anything of significance the last 25 years, Jerry Jones remains desperate to beat his chest about being first at something. Anything. Having the biggest crowds in the NFL before, during and after a pandemic gives him an amount of perverse satisfaction.
Bottom line: My 80-year-old mother is in an assisted living facility that – citing medical experts – is making no changes to its COVID protocol. Meanwhile, the Rangers and Cowboys are – citing Greg Abbott – are opening their stadiums to full capacity.
The discrepancy is dumbfounding. And perhaps deadly.
*Buddy of mine who lives in Midlothian swears this is true. As houses and pipes began thawing in the wake of last month’s epic freeze, multiple residents called city hall to complain that their hot water had not been turned back on. Same folks who inexplicably call it a “hot water heater”, I presume.
*Lots to filter in a COVID-constricted NBA season. But lean heavily on this: The Mavs’ desired starting lineup of Luka, Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Maxi Kleber is 8-3. That should be sustainable.
Should, I said.
*If only I could pay $325 per night to stay in a cool treehouse overlooking White Rock Lake. Wait … you’re not kidding?
*I’m seeing a lot of “now the Cowboys need to draft for defense” nonsense. What the what?! Tag, Hell or high water, did folks actually think Prescott was somehow not going to be the starting quarterback in 2021?
But since he’s signed long-term, now – and only now – it’s time to address the worst defense in franchise history?
To quote George Costanza, “People … they’re the worst.”
*Spent last week playing golf and goofing off in Arizona and the most memorable takeaway is that the Cubs charge $47 for lawn seats. Lawn “seats”. To a scrimmage. $47.
*The Rangers in spring training are experimenting with Rougned Odor at third base. Because there’s just got to be a way to keep a .200 hitter that strikes out 30 percent of the time on the field.
*Friendly reminder to “spring forward” Sunday morning by setting your clocks ahead one hour. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why Daylight Savings Time isn’t standard operating procedure. The more sunlight, the more people are happy. That’s not me, that’s science. (And some me.)
*Jerry says “We’re going to Oxnard!”. And having a media party!! And packing AT&T Stadium!!! And … being aggressively safe?
Pete Sampras’ old coach Paul Annacone says his player won 14 Grand Slam tournaments by hitting “aggressive shots to conservative spots.”
I think that’s what Jerry means.
*Frustrating as it is, get used to the Mavs’ resting Luka and Porzingis like Thursday night in Oklahoma City and essentially sacrificing a loss at the altar of “dense” scheduling. Read Fish's coverage below ...
READ MORE: Mavs Sit Luka & KP, Lose At OKC
*So, just making sure, I have to wear a mask at DFW Airport. But not at the gym. Not inside some – but not all – restaurants. And I have to wear one at Rangers games, along with the 40,000 people next to me.
Great. Cool. Got It. Makes total sense.
*Just when you wrote off 2020 as one for the birds, a horse comes to the rescue. Dallas-bred gelding “Hermès”, owned by Cindy Becker in Heath, has been named Horse of the Year by the United States Equestrian Federation after Black Star Sport Horses trainer Jessica Blackmon-White won a world title on him at the Grand National & World Morgan Horse Show last Fall. See, something good came out of 2020 after all. Just had to squint a bit.
*Crank up your irrational Rangers’ spring training hope: They scored 17 runs in a game this week, most in Arizona since 2005. And pitcher Alex Speas is consistently hitting 100 mph. Still adds up to about 90 losses come September, if you ask me.
*Went to buy a newspaper at a Hudson News in Love Field and, sure enough, no newspapers. Not as in they were sold out. As in they don’t sell them anymore. There’s only one Hudson News location in the airport that actually sells newspapers. My ink-stained heart hurts.
*For the first time since 1976 Duke and Kentucky won’t play in college basketball’s championship tournament. March Madness, indeed.
*Hopped on the Morning After TV talk show (think The View for DFW, but with more opinions and less Whoopis) to dish on the premature evacuation of COVID safety protocols inside and out of sports stadiums.
*C’mon people, we’re better than this! DFW TV ratings for last Sunday: NBA All-Star Game 3.2, Oprah Winfrey Royal Family Interview 12.0.
*Saw 'Coming To America 2' and … not nearly as badasS I expected, given the awful reviews. What it lacks in plot it makes up for in star power, highlighted by Leslie Jones’ perfect portrayal of Leslie Jones.
*On March 11, 2020, ol’ radio partner Newy Scruggs and I taste-tested the food at soon-to-be-unveiled Globe Life Field. We munched. We laughed. We hugged. We … had no idea what was looming. Hours later, the NBA suspended its season and COVID pulled the plug on sports, and life. A year later America has vaccines, a $1.9 trillion relief package and sports. But also, on Thursday, 557 new cases in Dallas County and 21 deaths.
Moral to the story: Cherish the present. Because at any time – for any reason – it could all be put on pause.
*This Weekend? Friday is for a going-away party for old friends headed for the peace and quiet of Lake Hawkins. Saturday let’s hang out with Big Brother Big Sister lil’ bro JaJa and then set our clocks forward one hour. Sunday is the trek to Johnson County to see Mom and wish Dad a happy 81st. As always, don’t be a stranger.