Tomorrow is Halloween. When I was a kid it was my favorite holiday because of the free candy. Man, I loved candy. Now older and more mature, I no longer have a sweet tooth, but I do appreciate Halloween for all of the of “eye candy.” I also love this time of year because we have all four major sports going at once. It is the only time that this is true.
Here in DFW only three of the four are actually active, although the Rangers have already had a very busy off season. I hated to see them part with Mike Maddux yesterday. His tenure will be remembered as one of the best pitching eras in Rangers history. We can only hope that a new pitching coach will have the success that Mike has had. His cerebral approach to the game was refreshing. Mike worked hard and worked smart and will be missed by his pitchers and by the media as well. Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins left earlier this off-season so all voices to the pitchers will be different next season. The good news is that there are a couple of pitchers on this team who have enough experience to be coaches. Cole Hamels for one, and Colby Lewis, if he gets a new deal which I think he will, are like player-coaches.
The other change is that hitting coach Dave Magadan has left to pursue other opportunities closer to his Florida home. Dave was a tough nut to crack, but he too will be missed even though the offense was inconsistent this year. That is the nature of offense in baseball. It comes and goes. That is why the coaches have emphasized pitching and defense so much over the years. Still the pitching coach and hitting coach are the two most important assistants to the manager, so this will be a big off-season for replacement shopping.
The other Arlington resident, the Cowboys, are still fielding a team and amazingly, despite a four game losing streak, are still very much alive in the NFC East. That is the nature of the division. Truth be told it is terrible. Dez will be back this week and then Tony will follow in a couple of more weeks, and then the Cowboys will be the best team in this awful division. Still, the winner of this “ugly baby contest” gets in the tournament and has a chance to get hot at the right time of the year.
The Stars are a joy to watch. This team is as good as any we have had around here since Mike Modano and Brett Hull were lacing them up. They have gotten off to a great start with a group of young offensive studs who are putting the puck in the net. Better still, they have developed a defensive corps that will allow them to keep other teams away from the net. The defenders are mostly home grown, which is necessary because a good defenseman is one of the hardest things to find in free agency. Mix in a couple of solid goalies and two new guys who have won cups with the Blackhawks, and you have a recipe for a really fun spring.
Finally there is the Mavs. They have remade themselves again. But they still have Dirk. He won’t be around for that much longer, so he makes watching this team a worthwhile endeavor.
So there are some tricks this Halloween, but on the DFW sports scene there are also a lot of treats.