Whitt's End: 2.18.11
*Coming to you today live from the Daytona 500. Literally. I awoke this morn -- as did hundreds of thousands of NASCAR fans -- to the public address blaring first, at precisely 6 a.m. "Welcome race fans!" followed by the National Anthem. It's a combo of the speakers being really loud and our hotel being really close. Just beyond turn 2, in fact. Very cool.
*Hard to believe that at the All-Star break the Mavericks are one of four NBA teams with 40+ wins. The Spurs, Celtics and Heat, yeah. But Dallas? The same outfit that lost Caron Butler for the season and Dirk Nowitzki for nine games and that lost six in a row? What it means is that when the Mavs have been healthy, they've been really good. With Nowitzki in the lineup Dallas is 38-9; without him 2-7. If that doesn't define MVP, I don't know what does.
*How's that for a first impression? New Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan met the media yesterday at Valley Ranch and it took him two questions -- two -- to drop his first eff-bomb. He also talked about what a great coach he was, that the Cowboys were surely going to win and that his cornerbacks better be accurate tacklers because there is no room on his defense for "cowards." Wow. Wonder if Mike Jenkins got the message as loud and clear as we did?
*I'll admit it, I'm more concerned about Brandon Webb on the mound this Rangers' spring training than I am Michael Young on the trading block.
*Prepare to call me a douche again, but this week I underwent a hair transplant surgery - using my own hair. I know, guys that actually give a damn what they look like are somehow gay, but if there's a simple way to erase my receding hairline and fill in my bald spot I'm gonna do it. (Won't know if it worked or not until six months but, for now, I'm walking around with the haircut of Duke's Bobby Hurley.) Same as I attempt to keep off the love handles by working out. I know nature and old age are going to win the fight, but engaging in the battles at least keeps it interesting. I know I'm in the minority because every day in every direction you see guys who have just surrendered.
*When I see Albert Pujols report for St. Louis Cardinals spring training, I immediately have one thought: Can't he find anyone to help him carry all those boxes?
*There was this guy at the airport last night listening to the music on his headphones so loud that anyone within 20 feet could hear it. Why? The damn fool had no foam on his earpieces, just exposed, hard plastic. Don't know which bothered me more: The fact the music was Neil Young or the fact that the guy was my traveling partner, Greggo.
*I don't know why but this year I'm itching for RPI and on-the-bubble talk and, yes, even Dick Vitale. Bring on March. And its Madness.
*As for the agreed mediation between NFL owners and players, not surprising. As I've said before, we may miss some OTAs and there will be some ugly rhetoric, but come Labor Day we'll be getting ready for football. At this point the pie is just too big not to find a way to slice it.
*Funny how sports -- and life, really -- works. Now we get all these breathless updates on each and every Tiger Woods shot and I'm starting to feel sorry for the guy. Next thing you know I'll be pulling for him to finally win another tournament.