Saturday, April 17, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Hate Dallas

The Yankees swept the Texas Rangers, the Dallas-Fort Worth "Metroplex" area's team, this weekend.

On Friday night, the Yankees won a rain-shortened 5-1 game over the Texas Rangers. Yesterday, the Yankees won, 7-3. Alex Rodriguez hit his 584th career home run, surpassing Mark McGwire for 8th on the all-time list. Next up is Frank Robinson at 586, Sammy Sosa at 609, Ken Griffey Jr. at 630 (and "counting"), Willie Mays at 660, Babe Ruth at 714, Hank Aaron at 755, and Barry Bonds at 762.

Of course, a lot of those are steroid-aided... including the ones A-Rod hit from 2001 to at least 2003, possibly thereafter. At least we know he hasn't been caught using steroids as a Yankee.

It was only A-Rod's 1st homer of the season. Today, Mark Teixeira hit his 1st homer of the season, in a 5-2 Yankee win. Imagine that: The Yankees are 9-3, kicking some serious tush, and it took until this weekend for their2 best power hitters to hit their 1st homers.

Last night, Red Bull New York -- or, if you prefer the New York Red Bulls, still called "Metro" by some fans who remember them as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars -- also played a Dallas-area team, FC Dallas, which play at Pizza Hut Park in the suburb of Frisco. The Red Bulls won, 2-1, on two goals by captain Juan Pablo Angel, including a penalty kick in the 89th minute.


Now, like all sports fans with taste, I hate Dallas. Can I come up with 10 reasons why? How about limiting it to 10: That might be tougher.

Top 10 Reasons to Hate Dallas

Dishonorable Mention: The Weather. It's too damn hot!

10. FC Dallas. Why would anyone hate a soccer team from Dallas? (Well, except for fans of the Houston Dynamo.) Mostly the name. "Football Club Dallas"? Where's the imagination? The baseball team is the Texas Rangers, the football team the Dallas Cowboys, the basketball team the Dallas Mavericks...

Okay, the hockey team, formerly the Minnesota North Stars, became the Dallas Stars, when they should have become the Dallas Lone Stars. But look at the 2 major colleges: SMU is the Mustangs, TCU the Horned Frogs. Now that's imagination.

Dallas was previously home to the Dallas Tornado, a pretty successful team in the North American Soccer League (NASL), including winning its 1971 championship. There was also a Dallas Sidekicks in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL).

The team now known as FC Dallas was the Dallas Burn from the 1996 founding of Major League Soccer (MLS) until the name change in 2005. What's wrong with "Tornado" -- or, better yet, "Tornados or "Tornadoes"? What's wrong with "Burn"? (Okay, "Burn" might confuse people, what with MLS also having a Chicago Fire.) But... "FC Dallas"? Come on!

9. What They Did to David Clyde. In 1973, their 2ond season, the Texas Rangers had the 1st pick in the Major League Baseball Draft. They chose a Texas kid, David Clyde, a recently graduated 18-year-old high school pitcher from the Houston suburb. Desperate for attendance, they put him on the mound at Arlington Stadium without ever having appeared in a minor-league game, let alone a college one.

Unfortunately, the worst thing that could have happened to him was that he won his 1st major league start. And his 2nd one. So they kept sending him out there, and, as it turned out, he was far from ready. When the year was over, he was 4-8 with a 5.01 ERA. By 1975, he had arm trouble and was in the minors. He pitched his last professional game in 1981, at age 26, going just 18-33 in the majors.

He began drinking heavily, and ruined 2 marriages with it. He stopped, married a 3rd time, worked for his father-in-law's lumber business, and eventually ran it and coached a youth baseball team, before retiring to take care of his ailing father. He turned out all right, no thanks to his initial bosses.

8. Texas Stadium. Cowboy fans liked to say that the ridiculous facility in the northern suburb of Irving had a hole in the roof "so God could look down on his favorite team." Since when can God not look through a stadium's dome?

It had awful artificial turf. It had what we would now call skyboxes pushing the upper deck way too far back, well before most stadiums did -- in fact, the post-1971 stadium that most resembled Texas Stadium in terms of seating positioning was the much-maligned Metrodome in Minneapolis.

According to a column in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Hole Bowl is also the forerunner of "personal seat licenses," another reason to hate it. And longtime Cowboys executive Gil Brandt said this was also a reason why the dump never hosted a Super Bowl, as its replacement, Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, will do this coming February:

<< In a forerunner to today's seat licenses, the Cowboys sold what were called seat bonds, for $250 a pop. Season-ticket holders could buy bonds that gave them ownership of their seats for any and all events at the stadium.

Although the bonds were not interest-bearing, the seats increased significantly in value as the team became a perennial winner, meaning the Cowboys could never regain control of them.

Super Bowl crowds are comprised largely of out-of-towners -- officials, dignitaries, corporate types and players, coaches and team executives -- and Brandt said the Cowboys "couldn't guarantee the NFL seats."

"People had those seats for any event, no exceptions, even the Super Bowl," said the 77-year-old Brandt. "Clint borrowed money from people going to the stadium so it would help pay for it.

"He wouldn't have done it that way again. Consequently, it wasn't about not trying to get the Super Bowl, but not being able to." >>

If that's what caused the Cowboys to never play a Super Bowl on their home field, good.

7. Norm Green. He bought the North Stars in 1991, and moved them to Dallas. To this day, Minnesotans call him "Norm Greed."

6. Bob Short. In 1960, he moved the greatest basketball franchise the world had yet seen, the Minneapolis Lakers, to Los Angeles. In 1971, he became the first man to rip the hearts out of two sets of fans, by moving the Washington Senators to the Dallas area, where they became the Texas Rangers.

At the Senators' last home game, a banner hung from the upper deck at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, reading, "SHORT STINKS." I guess it wasn't yet acceptable to use the word "sucks" in that context.

Going back to the previous point, Rangers manager Whitey Herzog said that Short was desperate to keep up the attendance that Clyde brought that he told Herzog to leave him in games longer than he should have. In only his 1st big-league managing job, Herzog didn't have the confidence to stand up to the bastard, and by the end of the season, Short fired Herzog, hiring Billy Martin.

Dishonorable Mention: What Dallas did to Billy Martin. Made him feel like a cowboy. Made him want to be a cowboy. Fed his already unpleasant drinking problem. Made him even more of a paranoiac than he already was. If Billy had never managed in Texas, he might not have killed himself in a drunk-driving accident at age 61.

5. Southern Methodist University. The football edition of the SMU Mustangs are the only college sports program ever to have been given the "death penalty." In 1987, following nearly a decade of dominating the Southwest Conference, and with SMU already on probation for recruiting violations, they were caught doing it again. Their 1987 season was cancelled, and due to what they would have lost through players not involved in the scandal being allowed to transfer out without losing any eligibility, they cancelled their 1988 season as well.

At the time, there were bumper stickers all over the Lone Star State: "Support Pro Football. Watch the SMU Mustangs." They have since rebuilt their program in the lower-profile Conference USA.

4. The Cowboys Cheat. Lee Roy Jordan knocking out Philadelphia Eagle running back Timmy Brown's teeth in 1967. Drew Pearson with the most blatant offensive pass interference in history in that 1975 Playoff game with the Minnesota Vikings, and getting away with it. And I'm still not sure the way they managed to get the top pick in the 1977 NFL Draft, enabling them to get Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett, was on the up-and-up.

3. "America's Team"/"God's Team." The Cowboys decided that all by themselves. There was no election, and, if there had been, they would have been easily outvoted.

If God is such a Cowboy fan, why did He not tell "God's Coach," Tom Landry, to get his drug-addicted, boozing, philandering players off the field and into treatment? And why, then, did He let Jerry Jones buy the team, and hire a corrupt college coach, Jimmy Johnson, and turn Texas Stadium into a bigger Sodom & Gomorrah Southwest than Dallas' Southfork Ranch ever was?

2. Conspicuous Consumption. Nine years before Michael Douglas, in the film Wall Street, gave his "Greed is good" speech (and 12 years before Douglas broke my heart by snagging Catherine Zeta-Jones), the CBS-TV drama Dallas, starring Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing, paved the way for the Reagan era of presuming that being rich was noble and being poor was your own fault.

Which is insane, because most of the rich people on Dallas were incredibly immoral. Heck, even Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) wasn't always angelic. Kristin Shepard (Mary Crosby) should've gotten a medal for shooting J.R.

Of course, the TV show was a case of art imitating life. Dallas, as a city, is despised in Houston, the State Capital of Austin, and especially in nearby Fort Worth. In fact, there are those who like to say, "Dallas is not in Texas." The city is hated for being a center of oil, of banking, of insurance, things that are often hated by the general populace. And those industries are usually controlled by...

1. Right-Wing Fanaticism. Cowboys owner Clint Murchison was an out-and-out flake. So was oil baron H.L. Hunt -- thankfully, his son, Lamar Hunt, kept his politics quiet, and can be praised as the founder of the American Football League and the Kansas City Chiefs (formerly the Dallas Texans), the co-founder of the Super Bowl and the Chicago Bulls, and a key figure in the history of American soccer (the American equivalent of the FA Cup is named the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup).

This link will send you to a handbill that was handed out in Dallas on November 21, 1963. President John F. Kennedy saw it, and told his wife Jacqueline, "We're headed into nut country tomorrow." Anybody who thinks Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone is a fucking fool -- if, that is, Oswald had anything to do with it:

Dallas and the surrounding area also sent to Congress Richard K. Armey. In 1994, Dick Armey, then the Republican Party's 3rd-ranking member in the House of Representatives, stood in the well of the House and told the Democrats, "Your President isn't that important to us." Your President? Our President, Dickhead. Yours, too.

From 1995 to 1998, Armey was the House Majority Leader. He once opposed a bill raising the minimum wage by telling of his days as a college professor, and finding out that the retarded janitor who worked there was laid off because the school couldn't afford the rise in the minimum wage. A reporter checked out the story and found it to be a big fucking lie. Dick Armey, a man who would rather lie about a retarded janitor than give people a living wage -- this is the kind of politician Dallas calls a "moderate."

Oh yeah: The SMU campus in Dallas is also going to be home to the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Notice they're not calling it a "library," even though his wife was a professional librarian. The most right-wing President ever, and they love him in Dallas.

I'm sure the vast majority of people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are reasonable people, with at least some intelligence, and don't deserve to be hated or told that they suck.

But, in the words of Angelo Cataldi, the morning man on Philadelphia's all-sports station 610 WIP, "I've seen it, fathers with three, four, five-year-old kids, and the kids know four, five, maybe six words, and two of them, taught to them by their fathers, are, 'Dallas sucks!'"

Angelo is a wacko, but he knows what he's talking about: DALLAS SUCKS. And for reasons that go well beyond sports.

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