While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. It appears Austin is getting closer and closer to having a professional sports franchise it can call its own. I have endorsed the embrace of relocation of the Columbus Crew to Austin. But the City Council must make certain it is maximizing the benefits for the City Formerly Known as Austin before it signs off with the obligatory six positive votes. (I personally am livid about brain-dead suggestions we consider changing the name of our city, even if it’s to something flashy like Kooksville or Weirdsville or Protest-town USA. Why don’t we just change every name of every city, school, highway and street. Just go generic and use numbers. Call New York No. 1. LA 2. Chicago 3. That way we don’t offend anyone. Can we stop this absurdness?) As for soccer, I consider the possibility of an MLS team an added amenity to our city, not unlike parks and libraries and playgrounds. As Mayor Steve Adler told our Kevin Lyttle, It speaks to quality of life and entertainment choices. Didn’t COTA benefit from the state’s special events fund? But, make sure, Austin, you nail down items like who’s paying what for a metro rail station near McKalla Place and road improvements, specifics on affordable housing on the site, like is $3 million the exact price tag on infrastructure Precourt Sports Ventures will pay so it can delay paying rent until Year 6 and parking for more than 1,000 spaces, which seems way too few. Omit all the ambiguity. Put it all in writing, Austin, but make up your mind Aug. 9, not Oct. 9.
2. Are we still discussing standing for the national anthem? The NFL butchered this entire flap from the start, but the players haven’t exactly handled this well either. It’s inconceivable to me that we’re still embroiled in this controversy. There were only losers in this episode, Colin Kaepernick being the biggest among them. He can’t get a job even though he is more than qualified. The NFL lost fans and television ratings and will continue to do so. Roger Goodell’s image took a beating, but what’s one more? The players’ message of protest against racial and social injustice was lost because the silent protest in kneeling for the Star-Spangled Banner portrayed them as unpatriotic and disrespectful to our military — clearly not their intended goal or agenda — and didn’t lead to proper addressing of the uneven, often criminal, application of law enforcement toward blacks. So apparently, no one learned a thing from last season although I applaud Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott for exerting his leadership muscles and taking a strong stand in favor of standing for the anthem. As I have written, the NFLPA should move the focus toward correcting law enforcement abuse and stay away from the anthem. Oh, and Jerry, take off your damn hat for the anthem. Talk about a mixed message.
3. So much for the Astros’ zero tolerance policy. Houston traded for closer Roberto Osuna to shore up their bullpen as he’s about to come back from a 75-game domestic violence suspension. Shame on the Astros, who I guess oppose domestic violence by players who were on other teams at the time of the crime. Almost makes me miss Ken Giles.
4. Count me among those who are glad that LeBron James didn’t shut up and dribble. Instead he shouts out his good intentions and pays for them. He and his foundation just opened the I Promise School for 240 at-risk third and fourth-grade students in his hometown of Akron to transform lives. Score one for social activism. Does this move him ahead of Michael Jordan?
5. Some unsolicited advice to all of you on Twitter. Don’t tweet. Ever. I mean, ever. And if you’re thinking of tweeting, don’t. I pretty much have to, but it too often is a dark, vile place, unfortunately. Major-leaguers like Josh Hader, Sean Newcombe and Trea Turner are finding that out first-hand from their teenage years. And you know what? Offensive racist and homophobic comments on Twitter are never acceptable whether you’re 17 or 87. It’s hateful, divisive and wrong. I’m not looking for total condemnation of these offenders and loss of their jobs, but baseball should take it seriously, and it’s not immune to baseball. Let it be a profound lesson that hateful words are just that, no matter your age. I guess everyone should go back and delete his or her entire Twitter history. But more importantly, delete your way of thinking if you believe it’s OK to spew hate in any form.
6. Huge fan of former Texas linebacker Emmanuel Acho, a rising star at ESPN who will be part of the network’s college football analysts this fall. Cedric Golden and I had him on as our guest when we subbed for Rod Babers on The Horn last week. Acho tweeted the 2008 Longhorns team that finished in a three-way tie for the Big 12 championship was the best college football team not to win a title. That’s certainly in the mix, but I’d also nominate the 1964 Longhorns team that went 10-1, lost a one-point game to Arkansas and beat Joe Namath and No. 1 Alabama in the first night Orange Bowl game ever. That defense gave up 81 points the entire season, 17 to the Crimson Tide, and held seven opponents to seven points or fewer. Yes, Tommy Nobis was on that team and had the game-winning tackle of Namath at the goal-line. The 2008 team was great as well, but gave up 244 points that year.
7. Tip of the cap to RBI Austin Senators’ 18-and-under regional baseball team that beat the Houston Astros RBI team 4-0 at Dell Diamond Sunday for its fourth victory in its regional to advance to the RBI World Series in Minneapolis to compete against teams from Puerto Rico, Uganda and Curacao. Austin’s MLB Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities affiliate — RBI Austin — was well-represented by Austin talent with players from eight Austin-area high schools. McCallum’s Eric Worden threw a complete-game shutout while another former Knight, second baseman/DH Ben Wangrin, went 5 for 11 with three RBI in the tournament, LBJ outfielder Harrison Lee had three triples, and Hays first baseman Aidan Martinez had a walk-off RBI single in extra innings over Houston, whose former teams won 10 of the last 11 regional titles with talent like Anthony Rendon and Carl Crawford.
8. Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to former UT second baseman Bill Bates. Heard from last week’s target, former 1976 UT quarterback Michael Cordaro, who lives in Phoenix and is retired from his job as a United Parcels Service package division supervisor. He still comes to Longhorns games.
9. “The Equalizer 2” is equal parts suspense thriller and tender mentorship, a hybrid that only Denzel Washington can master. Has he ever made a bad movie? Gave it 8 ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Baker Mayfield will start at least six games as a rookie.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden are taking a week off from their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from Sept. 2, 2017 — that the Columbus Crew would seriously consider relocating to Austin, but then reconsider the move. Will they or won’t they? Stay tuned.