FUZZY GEOGRAPHY

Clueless media once again shows their ass about Texas sports

Photo by Ken Hoffman

CBS, the "Tiffany Network," spent hundreds of millions of dollars to broadcast this year's March Madness games.

And then they hired Timmy in the third grade to draw their graphics for the big event. And it looks like Timmy is getting an "F" in geography.

Recently, I was watching one of the first-round games — I forget which one, I was all day in front of the TV — when the announcers started talking about Texas having seven teams in the tournament. Seven teams ties the all-time record for most teams from one state with California in 2002, and Texas in 2010 and 2018.

The Texas qualifiers this year are: University of Texas, in Austin; University of Houston and Texas Southern University, in Houston; Baylor University, in Waco; Texas Tech University, in Lubbock; Abilene Christian University, in Abilene; and North Texas University, in Denton.

Under the banner of "Lone Star State Success – NCAA Tournament Teams from Texas This Season," CBS showed a map where all the colleges are located in Texas.

Whoa? Even in my basketball bleary state, that map ain't close.

Literally ain't close. CBS had Austin practically on the Texas-Oklahoma border, Baylor south of UT, and UH and Texas Southern some distance apart (they're practically next-door neighbors.)

Politicians are always proposing school redistricting, but this is crazy.

If there's one college, you don't want to misplace, it's the University of Texas. Fun fact: every year UT tops the Forbes list for selling the most "merch," and no other school comes close. Let Notre Dame, Alabama, Tennessee, and others fight it out for No. 2. Don't mess with Texas, as in UT, indeed.

I contacted CBS to ask what gives with that map — you guys have UT hundreds of miles north of Austin – but they didn't respond. (Maybe CBS was busy finding a geography tutor for Timmy.)

Twitter is like the goalie who wins the Vezina Trophy in the National Hockey League: nothing gets past Twitter. I freeze-framed CBS' map of Texas' seven colleges in March Madness and posted it.

Thousands of Twitter users responded. Many simply posted one word: Yikes! Doh! Sheesh! Embarrassing! Lazy!

But, being how this is Texas, where everybody's a comedian, Twitter let fly:

  • "The University of Texas at Plano."
  • "Never knew the Longhorns are now located in Arlington!"
  • "UT-McKinney."
  • "The best thing about the new map, the drive from Dallas to Austin is now only 23 minutes."
  • "I guess UT's weekend MBA extension site really kicked their athletic program into high gear this year."
  • "How did Houston wind up near Beaumont and Baylor is now located in Waxahachie?"
  • "As both a map guy and a Texas guy, this here really burns my bacon."
  • "Yep, that online learning is paying off. #Geographymatters."
  • "They threw some darts and hoped they weren't too far off."
  • "I've seen better attempts at pin the tail on the donkey."
  • "How do you get semi-close with Abilene Christian and North Texas, but miss the Texas state capital city?"
  • "Who did this map? Five to 10 minutes of research is all it would have taken."

Maybe the smartest comment, opening up old wounds that need to be opened: "I think they mean seven men's teams. Once again the women's teams are erased."

Jimmy and J.J.: a perfect concert match
Usually Jimmy Buffett is hitting the road this time of year, but if COVID is keeping him grounded, he'll bring some of his greatest hits concerts to fans online. Buffett is calling this his "Nothin' But Time Virtual Tour 2021," rewinding concerts from yesteryear on Saturday nights at 7pm. You can watch on Margaritaville.tv or listen on Radio Margaritaville on Sirius/XM.

To learn more about Jimmy's concert schedule and how JJ Watt ties into this, continue on CultureMap.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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