1. The national support for the Dallas Mavericks has reached epic levels… on both ends of the spectrum. Not only are the Mavs capturing the hearts of sports fans everywhere by coming from behind and outplaying the big, bad Miami Heat as the underdogs, but they’re also getting support and love for their trash talk.
Usually, it doesn’t go both ways but that just goes to show how much people all over the country want to see the Miami Heat lose. Deshawn Stevenson and Jason Terry have gotten away with the kind of talk that is usually lambasted by fans and the national media. Terry called out Lebron James by saying that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with him in a seven games series. Stevenson accused James of checking out in the 4th quarter of Miami’s Game 4 loss. People want to hate the Heat, James in particular, so much that they’re right with the trash talkers.
Even though Stevenson walked back some of his comments about James, Terry is not the kind of guy to back off of anything. But you can’t really blame players for what they say on or off the court because it’s essentially all motivation. They’re building themselves up by tearing their opponents down by not just beating them, but trying to embarrass them. It’s entertaining, but unsportsmanlike. It can be effective, but it can also be repulsive. Most people seem to go with the team and players that win and let their play do the talking, which is exactly what Lebron James said when he was asked to respond to what the Dallas players were saying about him and the Miami Heat.
But who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in this series? The Miami Heat. Because, in reality, even though it’s trash talk, Dallas is saying what all the anti-Heat fans want to be true and want to see played out.
Dallas can do no wrong in this series because, with a championship on the line, anything goes.
2. The Houston Astros haven’t made much news for anything positive this season, but for a little while yesterday evening all eyes were on Minute Maid Park and Astros pitcher Bud Norris who no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals through 6 2/3 innings and only gave up one hit in eight innings of work.
It was sadly ironic that it was Lance Berkman that broke up the no-hitter with a solo home run. What’s crazy is that, if you watch the replay, despite the ball getting to the 2nd row, Hunter Pence jumped so high that he almost made the catch.
It was the only hit he gave up as he finished with five walks and two strikeouts. It put an end to a four-game losing streak which followed a four-game winning streak, which was their longest of the season.
3. Speaking of no-hitters, today is the two year anniversary of one of the best and most impressive athletic performances in Texas Longhorns history. Two years ago today, Austin Wood threw 12 innings of no-hit baseball in relief in a 3-2 25-inning victory over Boston College in the Austin Regional.
I still remember the day. My parents and younger sister were at the game and stayed the whole time. At work in El Paso, I was tracking the game and calling my Dad. After finishing anchoring the 10 pm sports segment, I was amazed to find out that it was still going on and jetted home to watch the last few innings online before going out and partying. While it seemed like one of those signs that Texas was a team of destiny and on their way to winning a national championship, they lost to LSU in the championship series at the College World Series.
Among the reasons was that Wood wasn’t the same after that game and, in a lot of ways, hasn’t been the same since. Mike Finger of the Houston Chronicle reports that Wood has no regrets about what happened that night or how it’s affected him since.
4. Feminism went absolutely out the window in Texas amongst Longhorns fans when Colt McCoy’s wife Rachel called into The Herd on ESPN Radio and talked about players accepting gifts from boosters. Much of what was said on social networking sites shouldn’t be repeated. Needless to say, everybody wished that she would not say anything ever.
The Texas athletics department released a statement to get ahead of the story, reiterating that they don’t just trust that their players and coaches do the right thing, they employ people to make sure that everyone stays in compliance with NCAA rules.
5. A Major League Baseball team’s pick in the 33rd round of the draft has never been a national feel-good story until now. The Texas Rangers pulled one of the classiest moves any organization ever has by drafting Georgia outfielder Jonathan Taylor, who is paralyzed from the waist down after colliding with teammate Zach Cone whom the Rangers drafted in the first round.
This is a must-read story that should make every Rangers fan proud to be associated with that organization.
6. Finally, among the videos making the rounds among Mavs fans this week is an inspirational video of famous Dallas sports heroes telling the Mavs that this is their time. It was big for Dallas to win Game 4 to tie the series up, but it seems all the more appropriate to play today because Dallas has yet to lead this series and Game 5 is a must-win. The Mavs can’t go to Miami needing wins in Game 6 and 7 to win a championship. Like the video says, this is the ultimate opportunity.