Category: Amarillo Baseball (page 1 of 3)

Who Dak?

I typically operate under the rule that if one can’t say anything bad about the Dallas Cowboys one shouldn’t say anything at all. I’ll try, but it’ll be tough. They really looked (gulp) pretty good.

I really believed (hoped) going into yesterday’s season opener against the Giants that the Cowboys weren’t going to be ready. Their starting center and their starting tight end had both been out of football for over a year. Their starting tailback missed all of training camp. Their top receiver missed most of the preseason. Their slot receiver was brand new to the team. Their offensive coordinator was new.

But they were playing the Giants.

You and I and six of your friends could give the Giants a good game.

So, Dak Prescott absolutely went off. He threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, he spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and I’m not sure he ever got touched. His quarterback rating was perfect! Jason Witten got an easy touchdown, Randall Cobb was all alone on his, and Cooper looked as good as he looked at his best last season. And Moore’s offense? I know Moore looks like his mom dropped him off at the stadium with a $20 bill and instructions to call her when the game is over, but that was some kind of game plan and some kind of play calling he showed yesterday. Lots of substitution, multiple formations, and lots of pre-snap motion. It worked to the tune of 35-points, but it felt like Dallas could have scored twice that if they wanted.

But they were playing the Giants.

Some people are observing that Dak didn’t make any throws yesterday that any of 60 NFL quarterbacks don’t make every day. He wasn’t pressured, his receivers were all wide open, and some of his throws looked (ahem) a little less than crisp and tight. Others are saying Dak looks like the best quarterback in the league not named Brady. Some are saying he should sign Jerry Wayne’s contract offer right now and others are saying he should wait until the year’s over when he can demand even more.

My advice would be to take the money right now. Prescott can’t possibly ride any higher or be regarded any more or gain any additional leverage than he has right this minute.

Wait. Next week they’re playing the Redskins.


The Amarillo Sod Poodles scored seven runs in the second inning yesterday and held off the Rockhounds in Midland to capture the Texas League South Division title and advance to the Texas League Championship Series. Amarillo went to Midland trailing two games to none and needing to win three in a row, all on the road, to avoid elimination. When I left the downtown Amarillo ballpark on Thursday, I was resigned to the series loss and to that being the Poodles’ last home game of the season. But they’ve pulled off the impossible and will host the Tulsa Drillers at home tomorrow and Wednesday in the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series.

My T-shirt size is still XL.


Somebody set fire to one of the iconic Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch overnight Saturday. It was the oldest Cadillac in the line, a 1949 Fastback Coupe, and authorities have no idea who did it. Or why anyone would.

You can see some of the local stories by clicking here, here, and here.  Here’s an old video of CBS’s Charles Kuralt interviewing Stanley Marsh about Cadillac Ranch shortly after it was installed in the early 1970s. And the Dallas Morning News has published this editorial lamenting that we live in a world now where somebody would do something like this.

Carrie-Anne and I first encountered Cadillac Ranch right after we were married and lived in Pampa. We came to Amarillo on most weekends and saw this strange sight back when the cars still had their tires, their interiors, and all the dashboard instruments. That was back before people were spray-painting. For years now the Cadillacs have just been metal shells of their former glory. But it’s still such a weirdly wonderful thing.

When we moved here in 2011, one of the very first things we did as a family was take a picture at Cadillac Ranch. Untold thousands of people do it every year. Nobody’s ever lit it on fire before.



Zeke Gets Fed

I would never fault a guy for getting as much money as he can. We live in America — the free enterprise, capitalism, free market economy of this country is based on and depends on guys getting as much money as they can. Supply and demand — come on, we all learned this stuff in high school. I don’t question Ezekiel Elliott. He made it work today.

The Cowboys caved this morning and signed their star running back to a six-year contract extension worth $90-million,  with $50-million of it guaranteed. That makes Elliott the highest paid running back in NFL history, both in terms of the guaranteed money and the average annual salary of $15-million-per-year.

As of this moment, the Cowboys have the highest paid running back in history, the highest paid offensive line in history, and top-five-at-their-position contract offers on the table to quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper.

This is the offense that ranked 22nd in the NFL last season.


Now, I do have a few  questions about that.


The inaugural season for the Amarillo Sod Poodles extends into the playoffs tonight with game one of the Texas League South Division series against Midland at our downtown ballpark. It’s a best-of-five series with the first two games here in Amarillo and the final three, if needed, in Midland. The winner then plays the North Division winner for the Texas League Championship.

It’s Wednesday, so I’m not able to take in the opener this evening — it’s a work night. But I’ll be there in Dale Cooper’s awesome seats for the first pitch tomorrow.

I still can’t believe our AA team is called the Sod Poodles. I refuse to refer to them as the Soddies or to call the stadium by its paid-for name. Principles, man. But I do love going to that beautiful ballpark on a clear dry night in Amarillo, eating nachos and drinking Texas Tea, and watching our team hit homeruns, steal bases, and dive at the sharp liners on their way to a win.

If the baseball game has been the place to be in Amarillo this summer, tonight and tomorrow night are going to be beyond fantastic.



Sod Poodles and Blind Cows

My brother Keith and his family came through Amarillo last night on their way home to Austin from a vacation in Yellowstone and we took them to their first Sod Poodles game at our new downtown ballpark. We had planned to introduce them to all the really great things about Sod Poodles games: free parking on Fillmore Street, Texas Tea, Dickie’s Frito Pie, six-dollar nachos, wondering why Ruckus wears a belt but no pants, cheering the local players by their first names, loving the evening weather in Amarillo, running into more than three-dozen people from church, explaining “HodgeVision,” expecting at least two or three homeruns, singing that awful song during the seventh-inning stretch, and throwing tennis balls at the target in left field.

What we didn’t expect was for my two nephews to be selected to provide the in-between entertainment during the second inning. Almost as soon as we found our seats (not our seats; Dale Cooper’s awesome seats), Paul and Isaac were asked to participate in the on-field Caviness Beef promotion. And before the young lady in the “Sod Squad” jersey could explain the details, they were both signing the waiver forms.

Paul and Isaac had to put on cow costumes that serve to remind the crowd more about Chick-fil-A than Caviness Beef, put on blindfolds, submit to being spun around about seven hundred times, and then find the staffer standing in left field ringing a cow bell. The winner received ten pounds of frozen beef.

They’re brothers. So Keith and Amanda won either way.









After Paul and Isaac both simultaneously and blindly assaulted the lady in left field, the P.A. announcer declared it a tie and we walked out of there at the end of the night with a 7-0 Sod Poodles win and a box of fresh regional ground beef. Only in Amarillo!



Keith, Buddy Holly, and Ruckus

Church historian and theologian John Mark Hicks has published his recent review of my brother Keith’s latest book, The Letter and Spirit of Biblical Interpretation. Hicks presented the review during a 90-minute session at last week’s annual Christian Scholars’ Conference at Lubbock Christian University. In fact, three scholars presented their reviews and then Keith formally responded. I’m not sure how familiar you are with these kinds of things, but biblical scholars and academics frequently come together to exchange really long words and very dry humor.

Being that Lubbock is less than two hours south of Amarillo, Keith and I decided to make it a day. We took in the Buddy Holly museum together that morning and posed for the typical pictures. We enjoyed a great lunch together at Chuy’s — also very typical and expected. And then I was pleased to attend the session that honored Keith’s book in particular and his great work for the Church overall.

(There were just the two of us and no other visitors at the museum to take our pictures.)

Keith’s book explores the shift over the centuries from a “both/and” reading and interpreting of the Scriptures in which the scholar or exegete considers both the literal meaning of words and passages and the spiritual or metaphorical or allegorical meaning to an exclusively critical historical method in which the verses and passages can only mean today what they meant when they were written. Now, that’s an oversimplification — you have to read his book to get all the nuance of that. But Keith appeals to the Rule of Faith, the ancient creeds, as a guideline for biblical interpretation and application and he pushes for the recovery of the “both/and” methods that the Church employed for the first 1,500 years of Church history. It’s a good book. I recommend it. Although universities are using it as a text book, it’s not nearly as technical as his other works. It contains references to classic rock and movies and a very helpful illustration borrowed from The Simpsons. You can read this thing.

Hicks just posted the entire review on his blog here.


Carley and I took in the Sod Poodles game last night with Greg and Bruce in Dale’s suite seats. And I shamed Carley into taking a picture with the team’s mascot, Ruckus. (There were other people there to help us take the pic.) Come on! How great is that?!



Together @ the Poodles

If the Lord was looking for us last night at the church building, we’re going to have to get on the next boat. All of Central assembled at the new downtown Amarillo ballpark last night for dollar hot dogs and the Sod Poodles game. It was the second event of our “Together@Central” summer Wednesday night series, in which our whole church is celebrating the relationships we have with each other in several unique worship and entertainment settings. (As always, click on the image for the full size.)

The weather was perfect, the food was good, and the atmosphere was fun and relaxed as more than 250 of us hung out in the right field seats and concourse. The Poodles beat the Northwest Arkansas Naturals 4-1 to pull to within a half game of first place in the Texas League South. But I didn’t realize until this morning that Amarillo’s manager had been ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes and that the Poodles’ starting pitcher threw seven innings of shutout ball. Baseball wasn’t really the focus last night; I didn’t see a whole lot of the actual game. Baseball was just the setting. Enjoying each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, getting caught up with my church family — that was the point. And it worked.

Somehow we pulled it off: skipping church to go to a baseball game. It worked. I haven’t heard a single complaint. Instead, I’ve heard dozens of “thank yous” and received lots of gratitude. We saw people at the game last night who haven’t attended a Wednesday night event at Central in decades! We saw several visitors to our church who’ve just started coming to Central and are wanting to learn more and make some connections. So we got caught up with each other and most of us made some new friends, too.

We’re coming through the end of a stressful time at Central. The Ignite campaign and the disruptive construction that came with it, the youth minister vacancy, search process, and hire, and our teaching and transition to an expansion of the public service roles for women during our Sunday morning assemblies — all of that has fatigued various pockets of people in our church family. I think our whole congregation probably feels the cumulative effect of so much “work” in such a concentrated period of time. We might be a tad drained. So just chilling together on Wednesday nights feels like the right thing to do. Reminding ourselves of the great value of the relationships we have together in Christ. Just worshiping God — singing familiar songs and praying together — in different environments that re-awaken us to the blessings we enjoy in Christ. And eating nachos together, talking about the kids, cheering on the local baseball team, hearing stories from the folks who’ve seen it all in this town, and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!” That’s good, too.

God wasn’t looking for us last night. He knew exactly where we were. Because he was with us.



Ruckus or Markus?

Central is packing the downtown ballpark for tonight’s Sod Poodles game. Is our Local Missions Minister, Mark Love, going to be inside the “Ruckus” costume?

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