Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hump Day

The Future of Buck

Well, the big dinner at the Hicks’ house happened last night. I am sure I am the only person who thinks of the Mr Burns’ house as a possible mind picture of what the house might be like. No reports on the hounds being released when Hicks wanted Daniels and Showalter to leave the premises and this is the only article that provided even the slightest insight on things:

Star-Telegram gets the word from Buck …Sort of:

A couple of hours before going to dinner at Rangers owner Tom Hicks' home Tuesday night, manager Buck Showalter referred to the evening -- which was also to include general manager Jon Daniels -- as something they do every year. However, the difference this year is that Showalter's job is on the line.

Neither Hicks nor Daniels returned phone calls or e-mails Tuesday night. However, Hicks called Showalter's status "open-ended" in a radio interview on (enemy radio) last week and acknowledged in a phone interview that they "had a decision to make."
Reached Tuesday night, Showalter, 50, was noncommittal about the outcome: "We'll know more [today]. I've got some things to think about."

On Tuesday afternoon, prior to his meeting with Hicks and Daniels, Showalter said: "I'm not going to talk about that. It's about the organization and the fans and the players."

Asked if he thought it would be unfair if he didn't get another season, given the injuries and lack of experienced pitchers he had to work with this year, Showalter said: "The last thing I'm going to do tonight is make excuses. Nobody wants to hear that."

The Rangers finished 80-82 this season, in third place in the American League West. They haven't made the playoffs since 1999. They finished three games out of first in 2004, when they were 89-73 and Showalter was named the American League Manager of the Year.

This was Showalter's fourth season in Texas, and he is signed through 2009. Despite the contract, Hicks has admitted that Showalter's future will be up for discussion.

That sentence in the middle has everyone putting two plus two together and arriving at the conclusion that Buck will likely resign today. It could be a leap, but it would seem that perhaps he was given some options last night (front office spot?) and now must decide if he wants to “pursue other opportunities”.

Much like when John Hart left, I will not shed a tear if this happens, but again allow me to make people roll their eyes by stating the following:

Until Tom Hicks decides to aggressively run his team with the same reckless abandon as Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban than it really doesn’t matter who manages or GMs this team. In 2006, The Rangers spent the 18th most dollars on the payroll, and the argument could be made that they assembled about the 18th best team in the sport. For fairness, the 17th, 19th, and 21st teams made the playoffs. But, those teams cannot screw up to have success.

Commitment to a competitive payroll is like going to college. It doesn’t always guarantee success, but it sure helps.

$90 million is a top 10 payroll. $68 is where the Rangers are. If they are to make a major change in 2007, that $22 million difference will be the best possible adjustment that the Rangers could make to the public to let us all know that they are serious about winning.

Naming Rusty Greer or another favorite as your new manager would buy you time and good favor, but you need to decide that you are serious about winning championships, not winning favor.

It’s Hockey Night Tonight

Well, here we go. The Stars are back at the scene of the crime. Denver. The place where our heroes went quietly into the playoff night with barely a whimper. It was sad. I was angry and so were you.

So they are back. No changes of major consequence were made. They kept the GM, coach, goaltender, and most the major pieces are back. The players they brought in were not highly priced nor highly pursued.

Now, they must go through the first 82 games realizing that they are no longer the prohibitive favorite in the West or the Pacific Division. Anaheim should be better than Dallas with Pronger added to that already solid team. Calgary is better with a goalie that is everything we wish Marty was. San Jose sure looked dangerous when they added Joe Thornton. And Nashville took the Stars best player last season and added it to their growing force.

If you believe the hype, Detroit, Dallas, and Colorado are somewhere between middle-of-the-pack and out of the playoffs. Personally, I will believe it when I see it, but it is time we realize that parity has arrived in our little hockey league.

My expectations for the Stars are quite limited. They could be a nice little team but they are based on the house of cards that is health and Turco. Their highest paid player is now between the pipes, which frankly is something that makes most of the league snicker, given what they have seen from Marty.

Let’s see what they got, but for now, I would put my prediction at this: They will make the playoffs. They will likely not have home ice in the first round. And then we shall see what happens. I wish I could lie to you and say they were winning the Cup this year, but this team has fooled me too often in the last 6 years.

What does the Hockey News think of the West?

Western Conference

1. Nashville Yes, questions remain regarding the Predators’ youngish defense and about the leadership skills of marquee off-season acquisition Jason Arnott. Still, there’s no denying a healthy Tomas Vokoun is one of the top five goalies in the NHL and few teams can match Nashville’s offensive weaponry. Since the Red Wings are treading water, anything less than the Central Division crown would be a major disappointment for the Preds.

2. Anaheim Although “Everybody Hates Chris (Pronger)” remains the top-rated show in Edmonton, it’s been nothing but a jacked-up jamboree for the big blueliner since he was dealt to Anaheim. And why not? His presence has made the Ducks most people’s odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup. But there’s lots more to like: the elite management team of GM Brian Burke and coach Randy Carlyle, the veteran savvy of Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer, the youth and skill of Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. We could go on, but that’d only encourage more malicious emails from northern Alberta.

3. Calgary The Flames had NHL’s top-rated defense last year. Their offense? Um, third worst in the league. Former Avs sniper Alex Tanguay certainly will help, but let’s not get silly here – Calgary won’t be on the winning side of many 6-5 games this season. Lucky for them, they’ve got a 21-year-old leviathan (Dion Phaneuf) on the blueline and the most recent Vezina Trophy-winner in net (Miikka Kiprusoff). Together, they make new head coach Jim Playfair much, much smarter.

4. San Jose Short of trading Ville Nieminen, Marcel Goc and Christian Ehrhoff for Alex Ovechkin and half of Ted Leonsis’ net worth, there’s little GM Doug Wilson could do this summer to top the act of larceny that brought Joe Thornton to San Jose. Instead, Wilson went about adding complementary pieces such as Mark Bell, Mike Grier and Curtis Brown. If Wilson can coax new acquisition Vladimir Malakhov out of retirement, a defense corps that still skews a little youngish will add some veteran know-how.

5. Dallas With Arnott, Bill Guerin and Niko Kapanen – 59 goals and 151 points between them last year – out of the picture, the American Airlines Center will no longer be the best little scorehouse in Texas. However, after the Stars’ first-round playoff embarrassment at the hands of Colorado, it was clear Dave Tippett’s team needed more defense. GM Doug Armstrong went out and got him some (Jeff Halpern, Jaroslav Modry) in the off-season, leaving no excuses left; another letdown of a year from this crew, and it could be “blow-‘er-up-and-start-over” time.

6. Detroit Wanna know how desperate the cap-crippled Red Wings were for a goalie this summer? Look no further than Dominik Hasek. Wanna know what kind of teammate Hasek can be? Look no further than Brodeur: Beyond The Crease, the new book co-authored by Devils star Martin Brodeur and Toronto Star sportswriter Damien Cox. Wanna wager GM Ken Holland will rue the day he brought back the soon-to-be 42-year-old for tour No. 3?

7. Phoenix Sooner or later, even the unrivaled reputation of Wayne Gretzky will be called into question if his Coyotes don’t make a post-season appearance. It shouldn’t come to that, because the coach and GM Mike Barnett now employ one of the league’s top young bluelines (including Ed Jovanovski, Nick Boynton, Keith Ballard and Derek Morris), as well as two veterans (Owen Nolan, Jeremy Roenick) who each have something to prove. Like an increasing number of teams, the ‘Yotes will be in a dogfight all season long to make the playoffs. But if Curtis Joseph’s goaltending props them up, they should take the next step.

8. Minnesota The Wild had the fifth-best defense in the league in 2005-06, and the sixth-worst offense. (Insert sarcastic “I’m shocked” face here.) Pavol Demitra and Mark Parrish were brought in to change that, and along with fellow new acquisitions Kim Johnsson and Branko Radivojevic, they’ll bring balance and depth to a team that should be expected to make its second playoff appearance in team history.

Eastern Preview from the Hockey News ..

Versus Network’s TV Schedule

Hey look! Another Belo blog – this time on the Stars

sarazag10: I almost feel wise having brought up the topic of Modano and the captaincy last week. Almost. Anyhow, he didn't seem terribly thrilled with the change in his remarks. Do you think it will have a negative impact on him mentally? Also, what does Morrow bring to the table as a captain? He has always seemed like kind of a non-descript guy to me. Cheers! Sara

Tim Cowlishaw: Morrow is certainly more willing to mix it up in the corners and bring a physical element to the game than Modano. Not sure that makes him a better captain. I don't think Modano is too happy with the way this has gone down, but I don't see it having an impact on his play. Put him out there with Lehtinen and Jokinen and let him go as your top center. That's all they need to do. Morrow is young but the fans like him and I think he will earn players' respect.

Eagles fans Guide to projectiles

Weekly Easterbrook ..

Here is an email from AT&T:

Dear Bob,

My name is Christy Wise and I am an online publicist for Fanscape, a new media marketing agency in Los Angeles. We are currently working with the AT&T blue room to promote AT&T Home Turf, a series of online “webisodes” featuring some of the biggest draws in professional sports. This high-energy series, hosted by Deion Sanders, gives fans an up-close and personal look at the impressive digs, quirky interests, and high-tech lifestyles of sports stars as well as candid bonus interviews and trivia tidbits.

I wanted to reach out to you today regarding the latest “webisode” in the series, featuring hard-hitting Cowboy safety Roy Williams. He is well known on the field, but now fans can get an inside look his Texas bachelor pad complete with hundreds of shoes, seven aquariums, a regulation basketball court, and life size bobble-head. This latest series addition is available today!

It would be great to get a mention about AT&T Home Turf, including the Roy Williams segment, up on your blog as a news item. Photos from the AT&T shoot are also available. The Roy Williams episode, as well as past “webisodes” are available here: Link . Take a look and let me know what you think! Upcoming “webisodes” will feature superstars like AJ Hawk, Vince Young, golfer Camilo Villegas, and the athletic powerhouse-- Deion Sanders himself.

Thanks Bob, I look forward to hearing from you!

Nice. Roy Williams aquariums and AJ Hawk? I am so there!


New World Record! 1:25

I totally just farted :27


Anonymous said...

First and gay like aggie traditions.

Anonymous said...

2nd and not a merkin

Triple Fake Ghost of Ann Richards said...

haha - aggy=gay

Fire Buck Already said...

Fire Buckshowalter please. If I have to hear that magnanimous control freak on again with Norm next year, I think I'll go nuts.

It's kind of funny. I remember distinctily when Buck was up for this job 4 years ago, that there were many current ballplayers badmouthing Showalter that had prior experiences with him.

In the end, whether it be this year or next, he will get booted from the Rangers for the same reasons he was booted from the Yankees and Diamond backs. That is, not purely on the number of wins and losses like most managers are tossed aside, but because of his demeanor and clubhouse attitude towards him, which after a few years is always hate.

Brandon at GSR said...

So...uhh...I hear there's an important college game this weekend. Wonder when Bob will get to it. :o)

Brad said...


me like hockey!!!

Thank you for not mentioning baseball. you're a saint.

The Stars....will finish in 7th place this year Bob. Book it.

Considering what the top 4 seeds in the west did last year... I'm not so sure that isn't exactly where they want to be.

Down there where the difference between 12th and 6th is 6 points. Down there fighting, realizing the importance of every shift.

Then again maybe they tank...


Anonymous said...

Maybe someone should create their own blog and blog about it.

Anonymous said...

ticket says buck is gone

Anonymous said...

no baseball to blog about today, bob.......please pull over and turn in your sports badge at the next station...

Buck Showalter said...

Suck it biatches! I'm out of here! Ha, ha ha!

Anonymous said...

I am glad Buck is gone, but why does every Ticket Host think the Rangers horribly underachieved. The corner infielders underacheived at so did their pitching staff. Their pitching staff has always been and will always be a train wreck. Finishing 11-14 in the AL in pitching every year will always get you in the neighborhood of 70 wins. That is why no one cares about the Rangers and we are always ready for the Cowboys in June after we are done watching the Stars and Mavs in May.

Andy Douthitt said...

Ranger Baseball (sigh)

I have lived here my whole life and consider myself a pretty good sportsy sports fan. As a fan here in the Dallas universe, We have had the good...

Cowboys (every year mostly)
Mavs (85-92, 2000-present)
Stars (Gainey-Hitch years)
Sidekicks (Tatu, Doc Lawson (who could forget the indoor warrior) and the championship little window back in the day)

The bad...

Arena football, both then and now
Mavs (the 90's)
Rangers (70's and 80's)

The irrelevant...

That brings me to now.

What we are seeing and have seen over the past 5 years is reality.

The Texas Rangers and The Dallas Stars are both heading down the highway to irrelevant in this town.

Let's talk about Ranger baseball:

The best of times were the Oates' years. No matter what you thought of Johnny, he brought excitement and respect to the franchise with leaders like Greer, Clark, Tettleton, Henke, Rodriguez, Gonzalez etc. Before that, we as a fanbase always had familiar faces within the organization to feel good about with Pudge, Raffy, Juan Gonzalez, Nolan, etc.

What do we have now? None of that. I have not been to a Ranger game since Johnny Oates and don't plan on going until we matter again. This town doesn't care about Ranger baseball (attendance, interest etc. are examples but I can give you 20 more) and really never will because we don't win and never have except once. (division)
Apathy is a trademark of this organization and thats it, period.

Number 2 The Dallas Stars:

When hitch left, a big piece of the legacy of the franchise left with him and hasn't entered since. Just like the Rangers, the fanbase is nonexistent (except the diehards) and they are heading down the "we don't care" highway here in this town. Marty will never even sniff Belfour's success, and when Niuewyndyck, Langenbrunner, Belfour and Hatcher and others were shown the door, the clutch winning hit the door too. We are not an elite team, and I don't know if Modano will ever play for an elite team again in his career.

So, sit back and watch another Stars season that is entertaining but not worth it in the long run.

Let's watch that baseball team that lives in Arlington fiddle fart around with managerial crap and player movement and stuff, and not matter.

That is the reality of DFW sports...

The Cowboys are the toast of the town, and the Mavs are the cool friend that invites you to all of the good parties. The rest of it is entertainment for the family on a weekend where there are no good movies out or if you just want to go watch sports somewhere other than your living room.

Anonymous said...

You said it best with "I have not been to a Ranger game since Johnny Oates and don't plan on going until we matter again."

Typical sorry ass fair weather fan. Sorry the Rangers can't measure up to your lofty standards. Part of being a true fan is following the ups and downs, not sitting out when they "don't matter" to you.

Fans like you make me sick.

Anonymous said...

The Rangers have NEVER mattered.

Let's get to something that DOES matter, like Texas/OU would be a good place to start...

Andy Douthitt said...

OK anonymous...

A few questions..

How old are you

Why do you go to Ranger games

Do you follow any other teams here in DFW

I want to know what I'm dealing with here before I respond.

Anonymous said...

1. 29
2. I go to Rangers games to watch baseball.
3. I follow all the teams in DFW (except FC Dallas).

What's the diagnosis?

tspank said...

Happy Merkin Day!

Anonymous said...

Tu/Ou doesn't least not for the BCS, you'll see

Rick Bentley said...

Andy, I kind of think Anon has a point here. I believe you were still going to Mavs games when Quinn Buckner and Jim Cleamons were holding the reigns. Why did you go? To watch basketball, even though the Mavs blew ass. Why the double standard with the Ranger? If they ever get good and start making runs in October, you have no right to climb back onto the wagon saying how you're "a die-hard Ranger fan from day one." You either follow a team or you don't...crap or get off the can.

Brandon at GSR said...

Just shut up, Norm.

I'm so sorry your good manager buddy got canned. But that's sometimes how it goes in sportssssssssssssss.

Andy Douthitt said...

Thank you for the response, anon and Rick.

Let me admit, I have been a follower of Dallas sports since I was very small. I have idolized players from Dorsett, to Buddy Bell, to Derek Harper and on and on to where I am today... a married 30 year old.

I will say, when it comes to the teams here in Dallas I am die-hard Cowboys and Mavs (no matter where they are in the standings) and Stars and Rangers both are a distant 3rd (they tie). When I was a younger person however, the Rangers were a team that I watched on TV every night and went to as many games as I could because I played baseball at the time, and I liked to follow Pudge, Juando, Raffy, Will Clark, Rusty and on and on. Since I have matured as a sports fan and since the emergence of the Ticket, I have found myself looking at different reasons to go to these games. Without really giving a life story here, the point is that The Rangers, you could tell, were on their way up back in the mid 90's and you could tell by the players and the way they sold the team to the fans.

Now, they are just there.

I will admit, I soured on them when all of the old school Rangers either left or were shown the door (Juan, Clark, Nolan, Raffy, etc) and it really soured when we got ARod and had a plan and then threw it out the window almost within the first year he was here. Skins on the wall have a big impact with me, and the Rangers have degressed.

I am not a fair weather fan, I am just saying that the Rangers are becoming an afterthought in the metroplex, and its not just me saying it here. Check out Bob and Dan on a regular basis, Dunham and Miller rarely talk Rangers, and the Hardline just do it because of reputation in the industry (they are becoming bored with them too).

Does that make sense? By the way Rick, don't be a smartass to the guy that basically got you into sports in the first place big boy!!

Rick Bentley said...

Not being a smartass, just didn't get your point. It's hard following a team that doesn't seem to give a crap about what it takes to win and still care. But, if I may remind you, the Mavs of the 90's were just like that, and now they're back near the top of the heap. It may not be tomorrow, but eventually Hicks will sell the Rangers because they're unprofitable, a good owner will take over and sign good players to fiscally sound contracts and hire good baseball people, and the Rangers will finally live up to what we've wanted. Before you say that'll bever happen, when I said the same thing about the Mavs in 1993, everyone thought I was insane. Sports are cyclical. The bad teams will eventually have their day in the sun and the great teams will suck balls. It's how it goes. Patience is the key. But when the Ranger is good, I don't want to hear how you've been on board the whole time. Because you've jumped ship.

Also, you didn't get me into sports.

Anonymous said...

cowgirl fans will be launched out of the upper deck if they go to the game.
GO Igles!

Suck it, Terrell.

Anonymous said...

Hockey is irrelevant?

Cowboays are the "toast of the town"???

They haven't won a playoff game in 10 years, they should be treated like the Rangers until they do.

Big Balla said...

Last! And merkin!

Anonymous said...

Super last! Motorboat!

Anonymous said...

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