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Two sports, two styles — and two different attitudes - Odessa American: Kenbrodnax

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Two sports, two styles — and two different attitudes

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Posted: Sunday, August 5, 2007 12:00 am

To paraphrase the old “Saturday Night Live” bit, it’s been a “berry, berry” good year for baseball. Could true fans of the diamond sport have asked for anything more?

Hey, we’ve had all sorts of milestones to cheer, not the least of which (from a Texas standpoint) was Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros reaching the 3,000-hit mark. Biggio followed up that historic moment by announcing that he would retire at the end of the season, then promptly went out and hit a grand-slam home run that night.

We’ve also seen Sammy Sosa collect his 600th homer and Frank Thomas reach the 500-homer level (on the same day Biggio reached his magic barrier).

Of late, baseball has been preoccupied with Tom Glavine’s pursuit of win number 300, Alex Rodriguez bearing down on his 500th home run (on the way to what many believe will be the all-time record some years down the road) and, for the chronic gripers and groaners, Barry Bonds’ assault on Hank Aaron’s career roundtripper record of 755 dingers.

Then there was the induction of hall of famers Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., two class acts. It’s enough to make you want to start planning that summer vacation to Cooperstown in five years when Biggio goes into the Hall of Fame.

All that said, it’s been a banner year for baseball. But move over ’cause another football season is bearing down on us.

Yep, this is still West Texas, where football always will be at the top of the pecking order.

Spring training is a special prelude to baseball season, but the Permian Basin version is coming to work and finding a sportswriter and photographer loading a vehicle with all sorts of gear, including a ladder, to kick off the annual tour of area football factories. Got to gather all those images and information for the upcoming football section.

The anticipation of Friday nights under the lights of the local stadium is sweet. So is the eternal optimism for the fall Saturdays and your chosen college team. Heck, even having old Bum Phillips’ kid coaching the Cowboys has got the masses buzzing in these parts.

Most folks out this way will keep an eye on the baseball happenings (after all, the Astros and Rangers are hopelessly out of the playoff picture) while settling into that comfy football groove. It won’t be long before the marching bands will fill the early morning air of communities around the area and the up-and-coming jocks will be bashing each other around in the practice pads twice a day to get ready for the real wars.

Baseball fills some time at the coffee shops during the summer, but the really passionate conversations and arguments are reserved for the approach of fall and speculation about what will be happening between the end zones.

Baseball is like that old silver dollar your granddaddy gave you that you cherish because of the fond memories. Football is like that money clip filled with hundreds that someone slipped you and said, “Knock yourself out.”

Odessa, TX

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