PORT ARTHUR —
Cowboys fans shouldn’t be upset with Tony Romo and his agent for taking advantage of Jerry Jones over a contract extension that’s way out of line for a 33-year-old QB with exactly one playoff victory in seven years as a starter. Romo, who has been subjected to intense heat and criticism because he hasn’t been able to overcome an inferior supporting cast assembled by an idiot owner who likes to dress up and play act as a general manager, did what any shrewd businessman would do in a slam-dunk situation. He fleeced a fool and probably laughed all the way to the bank. Jethro, of course, has been overpaying for his mistakes for years in his desperate and futile attempts to prove he can win without Jimmy Johnson. Fortunately for him, he has Cowboys fans who just can’t let go to bail him out . . . Speaking of fools, how about former University of Texas defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. A second-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2001, and currently on the NY Giants roster, Rogers, 34, had himself a rather costly evening last week in Miami. According to police reports, Rogers picked up a woman at a Miami hot spot, brought her back to his room, “partied” with her, then fell asleep. When he woke up, the woman was gone and so was an estimated $440,000 in jewelry from the safe in his room. Among the items he reported missing were diamond earrings worth $100,000, two watches valued at $160,000, a diamond Cuban necklace worth $70,000 and gold bracelets worth $60,000. Just the usual stuff some pro athletes carry around.
When Florida Gulf Coast rocked the NCAA tournament by knocking off No. 2 seed Georgetown, then became the first 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 by taking out San Diego State, a logical local question was Lamar’s seed when Billy Tubbs’ Cardinals went to the Sweet 16 in 1980. The answer is a 10, but that’s accompanied by an asterisk. In 1980, there were only 48 teams in the NCAA tourney, so the highest seed was a 12. The top four seeds in each region got byes into the second round. If there had been 64 teams in 1980, LU would have been a 14 or 15. It reached the Sweet 16 by defeating a No. 2 seed — Oregon State . . . Tubbs, who hates the over-coached, grind-it-out game college basketball has become, loved what he saw out of Andy Enfield’s free-wheeling Florida Gulf Coast team. “They reminded me a lot of that 1980 Lamar team,” he said. “Like us, they were not intimidated. Like us, they were just having a good time. Like us, they played exciting basketball. They were a breath of fresh air. As for too much of the rest of the tournament, they need to do what I said about the Big East when I was coaching at Oklahoma. They need to put a disclaimer on the telecast saying, ‘Do not drive after watching, this stuff will put you to sleep.’ ” . . . So what’s it worth to a previously unknown school like Florida Gulf Coast to make such a big NCAA tourney splash? For openers, the sale of caps, tee-shirts and other logo apparel in the school bookstore topped $115,000 from March 1-25. A year ago it was less than $15,000. Visits to FGCU’s athletics website -- www.fgcuathletics.com — jumped from under 10,000 unique visitors before the Georgetown game to 117,000 after the San Diego State victory.
The 2013 major league baseball season opens today with both PN-G ex Lew Ford and former Nederland star Brian Sanches in the minor leagues. Ford, despite hitting a robust .405 in spring training, was assigned to the Orioles AAA team in Norfolk, Va. It was a major disappointment but something he knew could happen because of his age (34). If Ford continues to hit, he’ll likely be called up by the Orioles at some point in the season. Sanches, who is also 34, was placed with Kansas City’s Pacific Coast League AAA team in Omaha. He will begin the season as a starting pitcher, after having spent most of his time in the majors as a reliever. He’s penned in to start Omaha’s fifth game, which will be his first start since 2003. Sounds like the Royals may be prepping him for a role in long relief. . . . For all the public relations negatives surrounding Jim Crane’s brief periods as Astros owner, the team hit a PR grand slam with its choice of the Texans JJ Watt to throw out the first pitch tonight against the Texas Rangers. Watt is arguably the most popular pro athlete in Houston and he’s the kind of guy who will say nothing but good things about the Astros. To prepare for his Sunday night assignment, the NFL sack leader threw a bullpen session Friday at Minute Maid Park, then took three rounds of batting practice. In the last round, he hit five balls out of the park, including one that landed on the railroad tracks beyond left field . . . Don’t count the Oakland A’s forward-thinking GM Billy Beane among critics of Crane’s approach to trying to build a team from the ground up. Here’s what Beane has to say about his new AL West foe. “All that stuff (their poor records and rebuilding) is temporary. I think they’re going to be a great franchise because they have smart people running things, and they’re doing what needs to be done. My guess is, once they get there, they’re going to be there for a long time. Over the long term, the inclusion of the Astros is going to be a pain for us.”
Jerry Jones’ personal fortune continues to snowball, thanks to the largesse of Arlington taxpayers who help underwrite the Taj Mahal of sports stadiums. Next year’s Final Four will be played at Jerryworld and reports out this past week said the building is a “virtual lock” for college football’s first legitimate national championship game on Jan. 12, 2015. Attendance projections are 80,000 for each of the sessions at the Final Four and over 100,000 for the football championship. Think of what Jethro will rake in for parking, concessions and sales at Victoria’s Secret. Wonder if Tony Romo had part of that written into his new contract ? ? ? One of the most considerate, well spoken, first-class athletes for media people to deal with is former Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier. That’s why it was nice to see Battier land with the Miami Heat and win an NBA championship ring last year. Battier, after the Heat’s 27-game winning streak ended Wednesday in Chicago, now has another noteworthy achievement to add to his personal file. He’s played for the teams with the NBA’s second longest and third longest (22 in Houston) winning streaks . . . Anybody headed to San Antonio this week and interested in attending any round of the Valero Texas Open needs to give me a call at 409 721-2432. Thanks to an anonymous donor, I have access to quite a few tickets that are free. From the buzz at Redstone Golf Club Friday, Rory McIlory intends to be in the field.
D.A. Points’ lights-out putting that helped him shoot 64 in the first round of the Shell Houston Open put Lamar coach Brian White’s name in the national golf spotlight for the second time in March. Points, in post-round comments picked up by the Golf Channel, Associated Press and other media outlets, credited a Monday putting lesson from White set up by his good buddy, Chris Stroud. Three weeks earlier, after LU ex Shawn Stefani grabbed the first round lead in the PGA Tour event in Tampa, the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive had a segment that talked about White’s program at Lamar and the players -- Stefani, Stroud and Dawie Van Der Walt — he’s got playing on pro tours. Van Der Walt had just won the week before on the European Tour . . . Stroud, by the way, had to be disappointed with how the pairings fell for the third round of the SHO. Since he, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson had posted scores of 143 over 36-holes, there was a chance he’d wind up in a twosome with one of the game’s most high-profile players. Instead, he wound up with little known pro Cameron Percy, playing directly behind Mickelson and directly in front of McIlroy. Stroud-McIlroy could happen Sunday, since they were both at 214 after 54 holes . . . Over the years, the SHO has been cursed with more than its share of tournament-altering bad weather. Now, in a year when conditions have been close to ideal for the first three days, the event had to deal with the horrible luck of seeing its high dollar pro-am cut to nine holes by, of all things, a Wednesday-morning frost delay of two and a half hours. With four amateurs putting up $6,500 each to play with a pro, and both morning and afternoon shotguns scheduled, the only option was to cut the pro-am to nine holes. Among those impacted was former Dallas Cowboys great Emmitt Smith who was paired with McIlory.
Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at email@example.com