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Dallas on run as title host

Green Bay calls itself Titletown. Boston has served the role better than anywhere since the turn of the century. But it looks like Dallas is making a charge to become the new leader.

A town known mostly for Super Bowl victories and, at least in Buffalo, a dubious Stanley Cup-winning goal, is breaking out all over in marquee events and championships.

The World Series returned to the sprawling Dallas Metroplex for the second straight year Saturday night as the Texas Rangers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Three.

The ceremonial first pitch drew a roaring ovation, as it was delivered by Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki. The German, a regular at Rangers Ballpark, was the MVP of the NBA Finals in June as the Mavericks beat the Miami Heat for their first title.

"We're looking forward to these games here and hopefully we do the same thing as they did," said Michael Young, the senior Ranger and the man chosen to catch Nowitzki's first pitch. "Our fans deserve to have winners here. It's a great sports town. We saw how fired up they got with the Mavs in June and hopefully we give them the same thing in October."

In February, the Packers won the Super Bowl that was played across the parking lots here at mammoth Cowboys Stadium. Then came the Mavericks' run past LeBron-led Miami. Now the Rangers are back gunning for their first title.

Until 2011, no city has ever hosted the Super Bowl, NBA finals and World Series in the same year. And don't forget the region's outrageous high school football, or the perfect season of Texas Christian University that was capped by a win in the Rose Bowl in January.

The Dallas Stars, mired with financial trouble and poor attendance, entered Saturday 6-1 and tied for the most points in the NHL in a season that most experts thought they would be a bottom-feeder. Even FC Dallas was the runner-up of the MLS Cup.

With all this as a backdrop, earlier this month the Sporting News named Dallas-Fort Worth winner of its annual "Best Sports City" designation for the first time, ahead of annual behemoths like Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York (As an FYI, Buffalo was 41st).

Nowitzki is part of an impressive lineup of first-ball tossers here. Former President George W. Bush, who once owned the Rangers, will be on the mound tonight. Legendary Cowboys QB Roger Staubach will do the honors Monday.

The Rangers are the first A.L. to make repeat trips to Series since the Yankees went four straight times from 1998-2001.

email: mharrington@buffnews.com