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2022-12-10 | อ่าน

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If They Dont Win, Theres No Shame: The Rise of Sandlot Baseball in Dallas

Alex Mireles rounds the bases at Lake Cliff Park during a Sandlot baseball match.

The brown and dusty ballfield at Lake Cliff Park has clearly seen better days. The bleachers are slumping, the grass is overgrown, the dugouts are covered with plastic tarps, and the players have to adjust the bases between innings. There isnt even a scoreboard. Which, for the purposes of the Honey Busters and the Fort Worth Ferals on this Saturday afternoon, is not an important feature. None of those shortcomings matter much. They only really need the field.

Two players from each team stand at home base with the umpire before the first pitch. They arent discussing the rules.

Quick, a voice yelled from the dugout, someone grab the beers! One of the Honey Busters rummages through a bookbag that leans on the metal fence, fished out two beers and took off in a run toward the plate.

This is sandlot baseball. Whoever finishes those beers first gets to take the bottom of the order.

And then: Play ball! the umpire shouted.

Sandlot isnt necessarily about the game. Its about the community created through the game. The wins and losses dont define its quality. They arent even tracked. Bad at-bats arent cursed. Errors are overlooked. There are no batting averages, ERAs, or on-base percentages. Instead, there is music and laughter and light ribbing, punctuated by the occasionalcrackof a baseball ricocheting off a wooden bat.

Sandlot is a culture thats spread across North Texas, Austin, Nashville, New Orleans, and Alabama, among other states. And this version of Sandlot baseball starts with an architect, not a star baseball player.

You might have heard that the U.S. House yesterdayapprovedthe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), clearing the way for our defense budget next year to hit a record $858 billion (after the Senate and president give their approval, which is expected next week). What does that have to do with little White Rock Lake?

Packed into the NDAA are all sorts of measures unrelated to military spending. Theres the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act, for example, which aims to protect federal judges and their families and which some folks have abeefwith because itll hide Ginny Thomas misdeeds. Also included in the NDAA is something called the Water Resources Development Act, which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do all sorts of stuff with infrastructure and flood control and so on. Thats where White Rock Lake comes in.

It allows us to collaborate with the Corps of Engineers on next steps for a dredge, says Councilwoman Paula Blackmon, who represents District 9, within which the lake lies. Its the first step in a long dating process.

To continue with the councilwomans analogy, Dallas just slid into the Corps DMs. Were at the stage where Dallas is like, Hey, Corps, have you seen the second season ofWhite Lotusyet? And the Corps is like, No. But we hear its great! So you got a hardwood forest? The actual hookup, the part where we get some of those sexy federal dollars, is still a ways away.

Here was thelast updatewe had on the project, from 2020. Depending on how this works out, getting the lake dredged and squared away will cost between $50 million and $80 million. In addition to federal dollars, the city will be looking to the Texas Legislature for help. And then theres the citys planned 2024 bond program, which will kick in some more cash.

Itll all be spent to return the lake to something more closely resembling its intended state. Parts of the northern end of the lake have silted in so much that the water is only 6 feet deep. When the water level drops, as it sometimes does,ugly stuff happens. A healthy ecosystemfor fish, waterfowl,andhumansrequires action. Yesterday we got some.

Tomorrow night, Saturday, the10th of December, at 7 p.m. or thereabouts, the author Bill Cotteras the headline to this post coyly hinted atwill be at Deep Vellum to talk about his new novel,The Splendid Ticket.Hereis a tiny bit more info. What the headline did not suggest, and what I am telling you now, is that Cotter will be talking to me, Zac Crain, author of this post, three books, and at least five to seven conspiracy theories I prefer to keep private.

I dont want to spoil the book. I will say, very broadly, its about what happens when a woman from a small town near Austin wins the lottery. That happens early on and it is the splendid ticket of the title, so that isnt giving anything away. Its a bit of a fairy tale that goes to some very dark places, and it is also a book about words and books. And it has some of the best names Ive seen anywhere. (Quality Sanchez, Lolly Prager, and Carrollton DeGolyer are just the ones that spring from memory but there are dozens.) TL;DR: Its a banger, read it, it wont take long and youll be happy you did.

Anyway, come out tomorrow night. Would love to see you, no matter what my expression might say.

Bad News For AirBnb Folks.The City Plan Commissionvoted 9-4to classify short-term rentals as lodging in city code, which would effectively ban them in single-family neighborhoods. And, of course, most of Dallas is zoned single-family. The blunt-force measure follows moves in cities like Arlington and Fort Worth. In Dallas, 88 percent of the 2,600 or so that the city has identified have not had a 911 or 311 call. CPC Chair Tony Shidid was among the four who voted against it. It will now head to the full City Council for a vote.

Rollover Crash on Sam Rayburn Is Insane.A pair of racing sports carsspeed past a driver a little after 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. One of them then slams into the back of another car and flips over. Jordan Brown, 27, was arrested at the scene and charged with intoxication assault and five other charges. The two men in the flipped car were both hospitalized; one suffered critical injuries.

Former Dallas Cop Accused of Murdering Neighbor Over Necklace.Cathryn Lafitte, a former Dallas police officer, was arrested on suspicion ofshooting her neighbor to death in Fort Worth. The arrest affidavit alleges that Jamarlon Clardy confronted Lafitte about a necklace that belonged to him. Days of back-and-forth texts led up to the shooting. Clardy knocked on Lafittes door and was shot in the abdomen and the back. Lafitte told police that Clardy had lunged at her, but a video shows that didnt happen.

Rain Is Back on Saturday.About 80 percent of Dallas-Fort Worthwill get rain at some point on Saturday, with most of it coming around lunch and in the early afternoon. Sunday will be dry, but expect the fog to linger all weekend.

TheBMW Dallas Marathonis back once more to take over downtown and East Dallas. And although the forecast is predicting a rainy Friday and Saturday, the marathon has a full roster of heats, dashes, and runs all weekend long. If youre participating, have fun and stay safe out there. If youre not much of a runner, dont forget about all the road closures. Either way, we all have things we need to know about marathon weekend.

There has been a lotwrittenrecently about ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence bot created by a company called OpenAI. Its scary good.New Yorkmagazine got the thing to write abrief storyabout an imagined 2024 presidential debate between Bill de Blasio and Donald Trump. Describing the result, the magazine said, [W]e can only bow to our future AI overlords.

You know where Im headed. I gave the bot a few prompts of my own, all of them related to important Dallas stuff. Bear in mind that the training data for the bot cuts off in 2021, so a couple of its answers arent terribly current. To be perfectly clear, what follows isnotyour buddy Tim writing jokes. I did, in fact, query the bot. Here we go:

PROMPT: Explain in detail which option presented by the Texas Department of Transportation is best for dealing with the elevated highway Interstate 345.

Tuesdays big tennisnewswas that Venus Williams and Danielle Collins will headline the inaugural Womens Tennis Classic at theDallas Openon February 4. The Open, which is taking place at the Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex at SMU for the second year, is mostly about the men. Last years draw included Taylor Fritz, John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov, and Reilly Opelka, who took home the title and the $100,000 purse.

The 2023 draw hasnt yet been announced, but todays news is that in addition to a Williams-Collins singles battle on opening night, there will also be a doubles match pairing the two top American women with two SMU seniors: doubles partners Hadley Doyle and Jackie Nylander. Not for nothing, but my wife has been an avid fan of their collegiate careers and has snapped a number of photos of the duo, who have ranked as high as 33 nationally. So Ill share one of the two looking very focused (above, with Nylander on the left).

Clickhereto get your tickets to the Womens Tennis Classic, and clickhereto check the SMU Womens Tennis schedule. (You can catch their indoor matches for free all winter!) And, if you havent already, dont forget tosign upfor the Dallas Cotton Bowl Classic, which will be held by the Dallas Tennis Association at venues around town December 27-30. Get some post-holiday exercise and bragging rights to start the new year. Registration closes Monday. (Come on Rowdy, lets play some 3.5 doubles!)

On a number of occasions, Ive had the pleasure of visiting the Old Parkland campus, not far from downtown, which has to be one of the most interesting office parks in the country. The managers of the place would probably prefer I didnt even call it an office park. Theres all the art. Theres the fact that they wont rent to law firms. Theres the fourth-largest bell in the country, which Iwrote aboutlast year.

So when James Dolan pitched us a story about the places previous life as a halfway house where he worked, it sounded like a fascinating piece of Dallas history that belonged in the pages ofD Magazine. His story was published in our December issue, andwe put it online today.

Prosecution Rests in Atatiana Jefferson Murder Trial.The prosecutionrestedWednesday in the murder trial of former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean. The jury heard three days of testimony about the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, and the court will reconvene Monday in order to accommodate the schedule of a defense witness.

Preteen Charged With Murder in Hit-and-Run.Dallas police havechargeda 12-year-old boy with murder in connection to the hit-and-run death of Florence Kelly last month. According to police, Kelly was hit at a stop sign at Royal Lane and Rosser when a 2007 Toyota Avalon hit her car. A 13-year-old girl was in the vehicle, and witnesses said they saw two young females running away. Kelly later died at a hospital.

North Texan Band Members Die in Louisiana Car Crash.Three North Texas members of the Southern University marching banddied Tuesday nightafter colliding with an 18-wheeler in the Natchitoches area of Louisiana. Louisiana State police said the victims were Dylan Young and Tyran Williams, both of Dallas, and Broderick Moore of Cedar Hill.

First Pediatric Flu Death Reported in Dallas County.Dallas County Health and Human Services reported the countysfirst pediatric flu deaththis year. The patient was not an infant and had underlying health conditions. Pediatric hospitals are currently dealing with a surge of flu and RSV patients, and doctors are recommending that children get both a flu shot and a COVID shot this year.

Dogs Get the Flu, Too.A highly contagious strain ofdog fluis spreading in North Texas, and experts recommend a vet visit and a canine flu vaccine to dog owners who plan to board their pets at kennels during holiday travel. Symptoms can be as mild as a cough and runny nose, but can sometimes become more severe. In November, Operation Kindness was forced to temporarily suspend adoptions because of an outbreak at their shelter.

Cinching my tie, I cleared my mind and stepped into the main reception area of the Alcoholism Treatment and Recovery Center, 3949 Maple Avenue. The room was a block of smoke. I gagged and wanted to run but couldnt because I needed a job.

Located in what was the old Parkland Hospital nursing school quarters at Maple and Oak Lawn, the once-grand room in August 1981 was furnished with fallen couches and chairs that might have come from front yards on bulk trash day. Men who seemed to be ghosts of who they once were milled around, smoking, smoking, smoking, reading day-old papers or beaten copies ofLIFEorLook. For this I worked and went to school, indebted myself.

At the semicircular reception desk sat three older guys in worn clothing. Their baggy faces, like those of clowns without makeup in a third-rate circus, each sprouted a lit cigarette. They were answering phones and yelling at men across the room. They seemed too busy to notice me.

Excuse me, I said, clearing my already irritated throat. I have an interview with Earl Osborn?

One man said, Who can I tell Mr. Osborn is here?

Weirdly formal for this setting, no?

Jim Dolan, I said. Im here to interview for the counseling position?

The guy grabbed a filthy avocado-green receiver and into it bellowed, Earl, yer guy is here! He set the receiver in its cradle and asked if Id like a cup of coffee. When I declined, he turned back to the other two as if Id never existed.

Often referred to as The Kalita, the Kalita Humphreys Theater is unique not only to Dallas, but to the country. Only one of Frank Lloyd Wrights theater designs was built, and it sits in Dallas, intentionally positioned along the banks of Turtle Creek by the famed architect. He notched the building into a limestone bluff and cantilevered it over the creek.

The theater and 9 acres of treed parkland are tucked between Turtle Creek and the Katy Trail. Tonight, preservationists, architecture buffs, and Dallas residents have one last chance to learn about future plans for that campus, provide feedback, and ask questions.

On Monday, architects Kevin Rice and Gunny Harboe presented to the citys Landmark Commission a portion of the Dallas Theater Centers master plan to restore the historic Kalita. They also stressed that it was still very much an idea, and not a complete design.

This is the master plan stage, so it looks like design, but these are suggestive more than actual design, said Rice, who is with lead architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

The plan reflects a balancing act: acknowledging the work and intent of its original world-renowned architect while also recognizing that things are different than they were in 1955 when the Dallas Theater Center approached Wright to design the theater.

Wright adapted one of his theater designs for the project. When it was finished in 1959, it was one of his final completed buildings. He died before it was completed.

In the following years, the DTC staged award-winning productions in that theater, and over time added more buildings. In 1973, the Kalita was donated to the city, which in turn leased it back to the Dallas Theater Center. The two plots of land surrounding the theater were also purchased around that time, saving the theater from becoming flanked by two high rise buildings. That land was turned into the William B. Dean Park. Eventually the theaterfell into disrepairas responsibility for its upkeep fell to several entities at once, including the citys Park and Recreation department and the DTC.

The city in 2010 hired the architect Ann Abernathy to complete amaster planfor rehabbing the aging structure.

The city didnt really have any specific thing they envisioned for the future, DTC executive director Kevin Moriarty said of the 2010 plan. The city staff didnt bring it forward to the Council, and the Council never voted on it, so it was never adopted, and it sat dormant for a long time.

By 2019, it became clear that something needed to be done.

Our Best New Restaurants featureis online now, celebrating 2022s most exciting new bites.

And let me tell you: this was one complicated year to assemble such a list.

2022 was a strange year. The pandemics effects were finally wearing off, diners were getting their booster shots, and a lot of customers wanted to return to comfort foods, old favorites, and things they remembered and missed. Bold or creative new flavors, unusual experiencesthose traits were less important. One restaurant owner even told me that sales of todays specials were down by half at his establishment. People were still going to his restaurant in the same numbers, but they didnt want the specialthey wanted the usual.

The result of this more conservative mentality was a crop of Best New Restaurants that initially left me feeling seriously disappointed. Instead of exciting destination dining, the kind of cooking that draws tourists from other cities and wins national awards, Dallas spent its year focused on simple comforts. I kept seeing cool new stuff in other citieslike the Guyanese fine dining spot Canje in Austin, or modernist Austrian newcomer Koloman in New Yorkand jealously muttering,why cant we have nice things? If you want a Dallasite to grace the cover ofBon Apptitor win a James Beard Award, this probably wont be our year.But if you just want to have a nice, comforting meal and enjoy good hospitality, 2022 was a success.

This year, I thought a lot about the term neighborhood restaurant. A neighborhood restaurant is a spot where the locals feel comfortable at all hours, where the food, service, and atmosphere can all be described as welcoming. You can dress them up or down: you can go for date night, you can celebrate a birthday, but also pop around when you forget to buy groceries.

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