Axios Dallas

Newsletter branding image

Happy Friday! Tune into your wake-up call.

β˜€οΈ Today's weather: Pleasant and sunny, but with wind gusts as high as 30 mph.

🎡 Sounds like: "Rain on Me"

🍽️ Situational awareness: Our freebie week ends with an opportunity to fine dine on our dime β€” we're giving away a $150 gift card to Monarch!

  • Become a member for as little as $50 to be entered in today's drawing. All Axios Dallas members will automatically be entered. Rules apply.

Today's newsletter is 955 championship-defending words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Spring showers could delay summer misery

A tale of two years. Maps: U.S. Drought Monitor

The recent rainfall in North Texas has helped the region steer clear of drought conditions so far this spring, new data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows.

Why it matters: Firefighters and weather forecasters keep a close eye on rain totals and drought risks heading into the summer, when the brutal heat typically worsens conditions.

State of play: Around this time last year, almost 67% of Texas was in drought.

  • As of the latest data released yesterday, a quarter of the state is experiencing drought conditions.

Threat level: Droughts affect crop production, cattle health and wildfire risks. And they're costly.

The big picture: Central and West Texas are the state's current drought hotspots, per the U.S. Drought Monitor.

  • The drought map bodes well for North Texas, potentially giving the region some reprieve heading into the hotter months.

By the numbers: DFW Airport's month-to-date rainfall as of Wednesday was 5.7 inches, significantly higher than the normal month-to-date rainfall of 2.9 inches, per the National Weather Service.

  • The airport has seen 10.8 inches of rain this year, more than 2 inches ahead of average.
  • The El NiΓ±o year likely accounts for the difference, NWS meteorologist Steve Fano tells Axios.

What's next: Normal rainfall is forecast for April, May and June, per the weather service.

The bottom line: "Heading into the summer, we'll pretty much take all the rain we can get," Fano says.

  • "The rainier you are, the greener the vegetation is. As you head into the hotter parts of the year, that helps keep the temperatures from getting exceptionally hot."

2. ⚾️ Rangers are undefeated

Rookie phenom Wyatt Langford fist bumps Travis Jankowski. Photo: Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Don't underestimate the Texas Rangers.

Why it matters: The Rangers enter the 2024 season as the reigning world champs, but most sports analysts don't even predict they'll win their division over the Houston Astros.

Yes, but: The 2023 champions are undefeated after a 4-3 walk-off win over the Chicago Cubs in last night's season opener.

  • The teams were evenly matched, staying tied into the ninth inning, when the Cubs scored on what appeared to be a tipped foul but was ruled a wild pitch.

Driving the news: Rookie Wyatt Langford β€” one of the Rangers' top prospects β€” had a standout night in his first major league game.

  • He hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, earning his first RBI. Then he got his first major league hit in the sixth inning.

What happened: The Rangers played in front of a sold-out crowd, with fans standing several people deep to catch a glimpse of the champs.

  • Fans booed when the Cubs took the lead in the top of the ninth after the controversial call, which gave catcher Jonah Heim an error. They screamed even louder when Travis Jankowski hit a homer in the bottom of the ninth.
  • And then, with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Heim β€” in a moment of poetic justice β€” hit a walk-off single.

Flashback: The Rangers led the division most of last season but slumped in August, ultimately losing the division to, well, the Astros.

  • Texas entered the playoffs as an underdog but continued to exceed expectations, landing in the World Series after beating, well, the Astros in the American League Championship Series.

The bottom line: Sports broadcasters may still look at the Rangers as an underdog, but the World Series winners start the season with a largely intact championship roster and some exciting rookies.

3. 🀩 Rangers fans, you're still not dreaming

This trophy can never be taken away. Photo: Tasha "Opener" Tsiaperas/Axios

πŸ‘‹ Axios Columbus writer Tyler Buchanan here, the biggest Texas Rangers fan east of the Mississippi River.

I normally enter each season praying this is finally the year.

  • Except my brain can't comprehend that the dog finally caught the car. We're the world freakin' champions. Now what?

Flashback: Understand, this is not a franchise historically draped in glory. We once had a pitcher get injured by tripping over his dog.

  • A slugger famously had a home run ball bounce off his head. Three days later, he asked to pitch an inning and suffered a season-ending injury.
  • There's also the Josh Hamilton saga ... IYKYK.

Yes, but: Everything is suddenly coming up Rangers.

  • In 2020, we drafted a skinny 17-year-old from Tennessee who later became a surprise playoff hero.
  • In 2023, Texas got a lucky high pick in MLB's first draft lottery. The team selected an incredible college star who rocketed up the minor leagues and debuted yesterday.

The bottom line: The baseball gods are finally smiling on North Texas.

  • No matter what happens from here, that 2023 championship flag will fly forever.

4. πŸ—ž Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits

We bull-ieve in Jennifer Garner. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚨 A teenager faces intoxication manslaughter charges stemming from a crash that killed six people in Johnson County (DMN)

🎬 Jennifer Garner will star in a movie about the couple who embezzled $17 million from the Corsicana-based Collin Street Bakery, known for its fruitcake. (WFAA)

🚍 DART is considering moving some of its bus stops to make them safer for pedestrians. (NBC5)

πŸ’ The Dallas Stars clinched a spot in the playoffs after last night's win against the Vancouver Canucks. (Deadspin)

5. πŸ•Š One cocktail to go: The Finch

Cocktail to get buzzed and buzzed. Photo: Tasha "Atticus" Tsiaperas/Axios

Our latest cocktail adventure takes us to Mockingbird Station to try some classic martinis β€” particularly the espresso concoction the restaurant claims is the world's smoothest.

  • The Finch, which also has a Grand Prairie location, serves elevated American fare in the revamped space that once housed Cafe Express.

πŸ‘€ The deal: Happy hour serves discounted appetizers and $9 cocktails from 3-6pm Monday-Friday.

  • Plus, The Finch has a $12 flight of three mini martinis from four options: classic martini, cosmopolitan, appletini and lemon drop.

What to order: Espresso Martini β€” Tito's vodka, bourbon cream, coffee liqueur and espresso.

Where: The Finch, 5307 East Mockingbird Lane.

Cost: $15

Six-word review: Strong, not overly sweet, and smooth.

πŸ“­ Know a drink we should try? Hit reply and tell us.

This newsletter was edited by Bob Gee and copy edited by Carolyn DiPaolo.

Our picks:

⚾️ Tasha is rewatching the moment the Rangers unfurled the World Championship banner.

πŸ˜‹ Naheed is counting the days until she can try Kati Roll Company when it opens in Dallas.

Can you help us hoist our banner? Spread the word. Forward this email to your friends.