While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Nothing is imminent, but sources close to the situation tell me Nolan Ryan and his sons could sell their interest in the Round Rock Express sooner than later because of Ryan’s demotion in the Texas Rangers’ front office and sons Reid and Reese’s diverse interests in other directions, including politics. If that were to happen, Astros owner Jim Crane told me he’d be interested in reacquiring the Triple-A affiliate for his franchise. “That’s a great spot for us,” Crane said. “It’s a great market. It’d be something we’d be happy to look at. If my phone rang, we’d definitely be interested.” The Express’ contract with the Rangers — the club is in year three of the original four-year deal, but the two parties have already signed a four-year extension — runs through 2018. To get out of the arrangement, the Express would have to have the approval of the Rangers and the new major league club as well as major league and minor league baseball.
2. Colt McCoy said he liked what he saw at Texas football practices this spring. “I think they’re more mature, and they have a sense of urgency, as there should be,” he said. “All of us hope to see a championship there.” McCoy said he thinks his brother, Case, played well this spring but curiously revealed that he didn’t see Case’s key scramble to help Texas beat Texas A&M in their last meeting because “I was in bed. I watched the highlights.” McCoy is high on Major Applewhite’s impact as offensive coordinator. “Major played the position, played in that stadium and knows what it takes to be successful. If I was still there, I’d be in Major’s hip pocket.”
3. Just don’t get the Tubby Smith hire at Texas Tech. It’s safe because he’s a name coach, has class and integrity, and has won a national title, but he had trouble recruiting at Kentucky and Minnesota, where he was fired. And if Bob Knight couldn’t draw recruits to Lubbock, how will Smith, who has no Texas roots? I’m afraid this smacks of the same Tommy Tuberville reach, a search for name identification without the foundation.
4. I look for a much better year out of the Longhorn secondary. Quandre Diggs can be a star, Sheroid Evans is going to have a breakout year, and finally healthy safety Adrian Phillips will rebound with a strong season. However, the defensive and offensive lines worry me to death. … I think No. 3 quarterback Tyrone Swoopes would be an ideal candidate to play quarterback in the Wild formation, Texas’ version of Oklahoma’s Belldozer. I did like Texas’ increasing depth at wide receiver until the recent legal developments involving Cayleb Jones and now Kendall Sanders. … It’s still hard to believe that in 30 combined seasons football coach Mack Brown and basketball coach Rick Barnes have combined for only five Big 12 titles, with two of the hoops titles as co-championships.
5. Love the way undersized Longhorn left fielder Mark Gottsacker plays the game. Augie Garrido gave the walk-on left fielder from Highland Park starts against Oklahoma, and he responded with three hits in six at-bats and scored the only run of the game in Texas’ 1-0 victory Saturday. Garrido likened him to Dustin Majewski and said Gottsacker “doesn’t practice worth a damn. And the way he hits the ball straight up, we’ve already had to buy three new batting-cage nets. He really is a gamer who has great instincts, though.” The 19-year-old freshman, who had no offers but a few conversations with Arkansas and Wofford, was a catcher until switching to center field as a high school sophomore. “I try to play as hard as I can,” said Gottsacker, whose nickname is “Sparkplug.” “When you’re playing against OU, you’ve got to be juiced.” … I’m not among those who want Garrido to step down. But Rangers DH Lance Berkman told me that “Texas needs (former Longhorn shortstop) Spike Owen as its head coach. He’s the guy.”
6. Tweet of the week came fromPeytonsHeadabout North Korea’s aggressive intentions: “North Korea just wants attention. Next they’ll announce they’re interested in drafting Brittney Griner.”
7. Texas State’s athletic budget has gone from $8 million to “pushing $30 million very shortly,” Athletic Director Larry Teis says. He adds that it should rank first or second this fall in the Sun Belt, its third conference in three years. … Keep an eye out for redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Moore and electric kick returner Jafus Gaines.
8. Watch out for new freshman setter Chloe Collins, who posted four kills, 18 assists and three digs in Texas’ exhibition volleyball win over Wichita State. “She’s a phenomenal athlete,” said Donnie Maib, the Longhorns’ strength coach for Olympic sports. “Watching her work out will blow your mind.”
9. Saw a private screening of “42,” and the movie about the first African-American player of baseball’s modern era, Jackie Robinson, gave me chills. Already my third favorite sports movie after “Hoosiers” and “Field of Dreams.” Gave it 9½ ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Three pitchers will no-hit the Astros this summer.