Tag Archives: Texas Sports

A New Era of Professional Football in Texas

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Somehow Red must have been sleeping or engaged in important activity like smoking ribs, but he completely missed the inaugural game at the Alamodome of the San Antonio Commanders – Texas’ entry into the new Alliance of American Football.   The new league which kicked off this weekend is composed of 8 teams in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis and Orlando in the East and San Antonio, San Diego, Arizona and Salt Lake City in the West.

The Commanders are headed by former San Diego Chargers coach Mike Riley and Dallas Cowboys legend Daryl Johnston is the General Manager of the team.  The Commanders name is a tribute to San Antonio’s military history complete with sword, Alamo profile and one lone star.

The AAF has some interesting rules.  There are no kickoffs (possession starts at the 25 yard line), no extra points (teams must go for a 2-point conversion) and no onside kicks (under certain conditions, after scoring teams can opt for a 4th and 12 from their own 28 yard line).  Teams are allowed 2 coaches challenges and there are no replays (but there is a 9th “Sky Official” who can review calls and overturn the on-field decision.   And most critically to fans of all stripes, the league is streamlining time-outs and aims to complete games in 2.5 hours.  And most commendably, the league is outsourcing head injury reviews to a neutral third-party.

Oh, and the Commanders defeated the San Diego 15-6 in their first game.

Quote for the Day

“I got cussed out by my mom this morning because she’s been dying to meet Pop. She told me today that I better make sure that she gets to meet him.”

Demar DeRozan – San Antonio Spurs guard on his mother wanting to meet legendary Spurs Coach Greg Popovich.

Texas’ Forgotten Past – Katy Park in Waco

Katy Park

In the middle of downtown Waco near the very popular Magnolia Market at the Silos is the site of Waco’s forgotten minor league baseball stadium – Katy Park.  The stadium was razed in 1965 and is now a parking lot for MM. Before that, however, it was a major feature in the Waco landscape and hosted a number of teams including the Waco Pirates, a farm team for the Pittsburgh Pirates and a semi-pro team the Waco Missions.  A number of MLB Hall of Famers including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played at KP.   For more on the story of this historic site, check out the Waco Tribune.

Red Watches Ultimate

Red watched some American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) games on ESPN earlier this year and found the sport to be surprisingly well-adapted for TV, fast moving and reasonably entertaining.  This semi-pro league is organized along sensible and sustainable lines with the players receiving a share of the gate and an interest in the team.  The current champion Madison Radicals have been in the league since 2013 and defeated the Dallas Roughnecks in August to claim the title.   The other Texas based team is the Austin Sol.

The rules are fairly simple as two teams face each other with the goal of scoring goals by passing a disc down the field.  Of course it’s a bit more complicated than that, but there is one rule that Red particularly likes.  After a goal is scored the teams switch sides – or in the words used on the playgrounds of Red’s youth – LOSERS WALK!

The Amarillo Sod Poodles?

Little dogs on the prairie - Defenders of Wildlife Blog

This year it was announced that the long-time San Antonio Missions (currently a AA affiliate of the San Diego Padres) would be packing up and heading north to Amarillo.  As the existing team mascot seemed inappropriate for a city with no Missions, the club set out on a mission to find a new mascot.  There were five finalists – the Bronc Busters (boring), the Boot Scooters (lame), the Long Haulers (better but with possible porn overtones),  the Jerky (who names a team after a food item and this one probably has more porn overtones than the Long Haulers) and the Sod Poodles (???).

Well, what pray tell is a Sod Poodle?  Red was a bit embarrassed to learn that it as old name for the five species of stout, short-legged, short-tailed terrestrial squirrels commonly known as prairie dogs and represented in Texas by Cynomys ludovicianus.  The name prairie dog derives from the barks or yipping calls of the  diurnal rodents who congregate in large underground colonies across the short grass plains of North America.

Well, you might be able to guess which name Red gets behind.  While Red has no love lost for squirrels in general, prairie dogs have somehow never gotten on his bad side and they are fun to watch.  And the Sod Poodles would be in line with such other imaginative minor league mascots as the Lug Nuts, Sand Gnats, River Bandits, Iron Pigs, Mud Hens, Chihuahuas,  Flying Squirrels, Yard Goats, Jumbo Shrimp, Muck Dogs and Hose Jockeys (Okay, Red made that last one up).

And Root, Root, Root for the Sod Poodles would actually kind of make sense.

Astros Local Playoff Coverage Limited

Houston Astros regular season games are broadcast on AT&T SportsNet Southwest which also provides pre-game and post-game coverage and analysis.  However, during the playoffs, ATTSNSW will be the only regional sports network that will not provide such coverage.   ATTSNSW is declining to provide the local angle because “they don’t have the rights to broadcast the games.”  They are clearly the outlier as the other regional networks will provide coverage before and after each game even thought they are not actually carrying the games either.  In the American League, Yankees fans can get the local scoop on YES, Red Sox faithful on NESN, Indians supporters on SportsTime Ohio and A’s hangers-on on NBC Sports California.  But for Astros fans, the final chance to hear Todd Kalas, Geoff Blum, Julia Morales, Kevin Eschenfelder and Mike Stanton chat up the Astros will be before and after the final game of the regular season on Sunday.  Sad!