You’d think reporters would have been welcomed at LaGrave Field on Monday afternoon. After all, the Knot Hole Gang fan club was there to greet the Fort Worth Cats on their return from St. Paul after winning the American Association championship series.

Yet a club stiff hesitated to allow your intrepid Static into the party. There was a reason for their wariness: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s web site had reported only hours before that team members were involved in a bar brawl after the game. Two players arrested. Yadda yadda.

Static had arrived looking for dirt, all right, but couldn’t have cared less about the fight. Static wanted to dish on real dirt. Seems the Knot Hole Gang has dubbed infielder Kip Harkrider as Pig Pen because of his penchant for rubbing his hands in the red dirt around home plate before at-bats. The five-game championship series was tied 1-1 when the Cats headed for St. Paul – yep, as in Minnesota.

“We decided they needed the home field advantage of having this dirt,” said fan club member Pete Fletcher, who mailed a box of LaGrave Field dirt to the team’s hotel. However, the team had moved to a different hotel and didn’t receive the dirt before Game 3, which they lost. The dirt arrived in time for Games 4 and 5, both won by the Cats. Harkrider kept the dirt in his back pocket and rubbed it on his hands before at-bats, creating a curious buzz among St. Paul fans who wondered what kind of evil mojo dust he was packing. Harkrider’s sacrifice bunt in Game 5 advanced a runner from first to second, setting up Marc Mirizzi’s game-winning RBI double. See, in Texas we can find ways to brag on even our dirt.


Much Ado about Third Base

East Siders were royally PO’d about the closing of Arc Park, a six-field baseball park near East First Street and Randol Mill Road that was taken over by Dale Operating Co. gas drillers. “How could a nonprofit organization like the Association of Retarded Citizens close a beloved park to profit from gas drilling?” they groused. “And where was City Councilman Danny Scarth while all this was going on? And surely it’s no coincidence that the gas drilling company’s owner, Larry Dale, was Scarth’s biggest campaign contributor?”

Conspiracy theories raged, feral resistance arose, and a lynch mob formed (well, okay, there was no mob). But hold your horses there, pilgrims! Static’s investi-muh-gation discovered Arc Park is privately owned and has nothing to do with the ARC nonprofit group. A group of investors in the early 1980s bought the land, built the park, and named it after Arc Magazine, a softball publication that got its name from the arc of a ball being pitched. The Amon Carter Foundation owns the mineral rights on the land, and spokesman Pat Harris said the park closed for economic reasons. “Closing the park had nothing to do with drilling,” he said.

Current property owner Jim Anthony was unavailable for comment, but a private property owner can generally do what he pleases with his land, even if it pisses off locals who play ball there. As for Scarth, he said he is focusing on improvements at the nearby – and publicly owned – Gateway Park.

Speak, People

One doesn’t often think of Tarrant County College as being on the cutting edge politically or socially, but there it was in the press release in black and white: The college is hosting a forum called “The People Speak,” on “working together with the world: what’s in it for the U.S.?” Just in case there’s any doubt, consider that energy and global climate change will be the focus of the event.

Whoa – how radical is that idea – the United States actually working in tandem with other countries rather than issuing threats and fiats, refusing to be bound by international law, and claiming the right to wage preventive war and to destroy the earth with greenhouse gases if we so choose. After all, we know that climate change – code for global warming – is a big lefty myth. And then the dastardly plotters threw in some patriotism as cover – honor students will be selling Starbucks coffee to raise funds for the campus war memorial.

Want to tell the ivory-tower types what you think of their forum? Show up at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 at TCC’s northwest campus, 4801 Marine Creek Pkwy. Look for the Student Center, rooms 1303-05. And explain to the geology and political science profs how, despite what their records show, this really wasn’t the hottest summer in 400 years and Hurricane Katrina never actually happened.

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