Cowlishaw endorses the move …
if you're a Rangers fan and you want to see this team return to contender status in the American League West, you have to consider this a good thing.
Showalter got the Yankees to the playoffs once in his four years in New York. He got the Diamondbacks into the postseason once during three years at Arizona.
But in four years here, Showalter's teams did not succeed. One winning season in Year Two earned Buck a Manager of the Year award, but there is a very short shelf life for those things.
Rangers players have long grown weary of Showalter's manipulations and what they perceive as his unwillingness to be up front with them. Summers are long and hot enough in Arlington without dealing with the additional heat that Buck puts on his players.
Hicks acknowledged that the distance between players and the manager factored into Daniels' decision.
"I think there's obviously been enough chatter the last couple of years that there were some issues there," Hicks said.
Revo feels it was unjust; blames the payroll …
Here are a few facts to ponder: Six of the eight playoff teams ranked in the top eight in staff ERA in MLB this season; the Rangers' staff finished tied for 18th.
The eight playoff teams have an average payroll of around $95.1 million. The Rangers came in 18th there, too, at just over $68 million.
I know what Hicks would say, even though I couldn't ask him Wednesday because he didn't think it was important enough to show up at the mid-afternoon news conference announcing Showalter's firing. Hicks would say the Yankees' absurd $195 million payroll skews things.
OK, so let's throw out the highest payroll (the Yanks) and the lowest (the A's) and the average playoff payroll drops to around $85 million, still almost $20 million higher than what Hicks spent this season in the No. 4 media market in the country.
Oh, and Hicks would point out that the A's and Twins, with payrolls slightly lower than the Rangers, somehow consistently make the playoffs. What he doesn't realize is that that's an indictment of the people he has hired to run his team, because they've consistently had their butts kicked in drafting and developing pitching.
"Until we solve the pitching problem, it's not going to matter what we do," Showalter said Wednesday, and he's dead on with that assessment, even if he's no longer a part of the "we."
The problem with the Rangers isn't a managerial problem; it's an organizational problem and it starts at the top with a financially noncommitted owner who puts making money over winning. It was Showalter's misfortune to be managing this team when Hicks slashed the payroll by almost $50 million after the 2003 season.
It remained in the ridiculously low $55 million range for two years before the signing of free-agent pitcher Kevin Millwood bumped it to $68 million this season. Now, if the Rangers had drafted and developed pitching like the A's and Angels have, maybe they could compete in the division with that payroll. But they haven't, and someone has to acknowledge that fact.
"Payroll allows [a team] to cover up mistakes by management," Daniels admitted.
The Rangers don't have that luxury, and Showalter paid for it Tuesday night. Even though the GM insisted the responsibility lies with more than one man, only one was fired.
What really rubbed me the wrong way was Daniels' insisting that the Rangers underachieved this season. Really? What team was he watching?
On to the Red River Shootout. It is sneaking up on me a tad with all of the other Buck/Cowboys stuff. But here we go with some early reading:
In Oklahoma, word is that Stoops needs to get back to the big game wins …
Quizzing Stoops about his hex over the Longhorn coach usually is an OU-Texas week tradition.
Hey, Bob. Will Mack ever again beat you?
Hey, Bob. Why do Mack's teams play so tight in the Cotton Bowl?
Hey, Bob. How do you figure Mack will foul up his quarterbacks this year?
But that was before UT's 45-12 rout last October. Before Brown silenced all critics
with the Longhorns' first national championship since 1970. Before people forgot they ever doubted that Brown could coach.
Now, the coach on the hot seat, the coach whose team seeks a return to past glory, the coach who needs back his mojo, is Stoops.
Stoops' Big Game Bob reputation has long since left him. Defining big games as Texas, Big 12 title or BCS title, Stoops is 2-4 since November 2003, and one of those wins was the 42-3 laugher over Colorado in the 2004 Big 12 title game that hardly counts, since the North Division had to send up some sacrificial lamb.
It seems ages since October 2004, when Stoops outsnookered Brown for the fifth straight time.
This is a series long defined by coaches dominated by their arch-enemy. Bud Wilkinson couldn't beat Darrell Royal; Wilkinson lost his final six OU-Texas games. Royal couldn't beat Barry Switzer; Royal failed to win any of his final six OU-Texas games. Gary Gibbs couldn't beat David McWilliams; Gibbs went 0-3 vs. McWilliams, then 1-2 vs. John Mackovic. Brown couldn't beat Stoops.
But if Browns wins Saturday in the Cotton Bowl, his record vs. OU will jump to 4-5, and Brown likely will win next year, too (who's going to quarterback the '07 Sooners?). OU domination of the 'Horns and Stoops' status as high priest of the Texas State Fair soon could be a faint memory.
Is coaching overrated, in this game or any other? Yes. Was Stoops' mastery of Brown overrated? Yes. Was the prestige that went with such status overrated? No. No way.
Sherrington asks the fair question “can Texas win without Vince doing it?” …
Brown spent portions of Monday's news conference reminding reporters that Young wasn't so hot two years ago, before the comeback against Oklahoma State flipped a switch.
Can't argue with that logic. No player in recent memory came so far, so fast.
And just look how and where it ended: Had Young's play not been so magnificent in the Rose Bowl, the rest of the Longhorns might have received more of their due.
Of course, had Young been any less spectacular, Texas might not have won its first title in 35 years, either.
The confluence of events certainly made for a memorable evening, anyway.
Nothing can take that away from Texas or its fans. But it's a new season. One of the ordeals of any sport is that you're constantly having to prove yourself all over again.
And the Longhorns have yet to prove how good they are without Vince Young.
The Cotton Bowl is failed …
Saturday's UT-OU game will be played in its traditional venue, the aged Cotton Bowl. Both athletic departments agreed to a deal last May that keeps the game in the CBS (Cotton Bowl Stadium) through 2010.
Part of that contract extension involved improving the CBS. Big Texatron, a video board measuring 83 feet wide by 57 feet tall, looms over the south end of the facility. The video board and a new sound system, part of $20 million in improvements provided by the State Fair of Texas, will be up and running for Saturday's game.
Adding a video board to the 76-year-old CBS is like installing a CD player on a horse-drawn carriage. The City of Dallas is hoping for approval of a $30 million bond that will increase seating (all in the end zones) by almost 20,000.
It's all wasted money. The CBS is outdated, cramped and past its prime. No amount of renovation is going to change that.
The City of Dallas fumbled away regaining the Dallas Cowboys' stadium. The Cowboys' state-of-the-art (the required description for any new stadium) facility is being built in Arlington.
Once Jerry's World is complete, watch for a Texas two-step involving the UT-OU game and the CBG (Cotton Bowl game). By the end of this decade, plans will be in place to move the Red River Rivalry and the CBG to the Cowboys' new stadium.
The only question is the order of the moves. By signing only a two-year extension with the CBS, Texas and Oklahoma officials timed the contract expiration with the end of the decade or just about when the Cowboys stadium is open for business.
Sometimes tradition blurs into outdated. The Cotton Bowl is a perfect example.
7 days since the only loss in a year, TCU faces a very lose-able night …
On to Owens to Philly talk, Pro Football talk with a couple quick hits I wanted you to see …
TUNA WANTED TO CUT T.O.
It's no secret in league circles that Cowboys coach Bill Parcells didn't want receiver Terrell Owens on his team. Like some of the other moves that have occurred since Parcells became the head coach in Dallas, the acquisition of T.O. occurred without regard to the Tuna's input.
We're now hearing that Parcells actually wanted to include Owens in the final September 2 cuts to the 53-man roster.
The move would have avoided $5 million in salary owed to Owens for the 2006 season. And it would have made sense at the time, in light of Owens' chronic preseason hamstring issues that now seem like distant memories in the wake of more recent events.
The move also would have saved the team from the fiasco that unfolded last week regarding T.O.'s accidentally intentional drug overdose. And it almost certainly means that at least one of the two will be gone from the organization before next season.
If Owens creates any further distractions, we wouldn't be surprised by an in-season he-goes-or-I-go ultimatum from Parcells to Jones. At some point, Parcells' image and legacy will be tarnished by continuing to put up with the nonsense -- and at some point his legend will forever be cemented if he stands up and says, "I signed on to be the coach of this team, not the guy who carries the shovel behind the elephant."
T.O. SAYS HE DIDN'T GET McNABB TEXT MESSAGE
At a point in the Monday night broadcast when they weren't giving Packers quarterback Brett Favre a ballcuzzi, our pals Danny DeTirico, Joey Sunshine, and Kornholio of ESPN were talking about a text message that Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb sent last week to former teammate Terrell Owens.
Now, Owens says he never got it. Asked if it was possible that McNabb sent the
message to an old number, Owens said: "Look, I'm not trying to start anything. He's a smart guy. If he wanted my number, he could've gotten it."
Also, Owens was wearing on Wednesday a T-shirt bearing the phrase "funny little football person," a dig at the statement made by the president of the Dallas Police Association last week after publicist Kim Etheredge suggested that officers had essentially included multiple lies in the report generated from Owens' accidentally intentional drug overdose.
Not so sure about that first claim.
McNabb quick to remind people that everything was Owens’ fault, and that the Teflon Donovan had nothing to do with anything …
"There will be no T.O. questions," the Eagles quarterback intoned as he sat down for his weekly Wednesday news conference in the NovaCare Complex auditorium. The assembled media members laughed again; McNabb had gotten his first chuckle by walking up the steps toward the stage and continuing out the open back door.
He knew better. There was no escaping. Truth be told, McNabb really didn't want to escape the high tide of attention precipitated by his first post-apocalypse on-field meeting with Terrell Owens. The proof: Even when he got a non-T.O. question, such as the one about the reasons for the offense's effectiveness this season, he couldn't resist slipping in a T.O. answer.
"I think guys are focused in on what they need to do as a team," McNabb said, without "individual thoughts on how many plays you need to make or whatever you need to do... . We look at the things we've been able to do, and it's been as a team. No one has tried to stand away from the team. Guys are playing well together."
Later: "One guy doesn't make a team. Break a team, maybe."
I usually think the Philly sports community is smart. This McNabb myopia is not one of those cases. How tough is the media up there? They laughed at all of Donovan’s jokes. That is tough.
Turco carries the squad on opening night …81 games to go…
Marty Turco batted away pucks Wednesday night as if he was being swarmed by the ghosts of last season.
And after successfully fending off an arena full of poltergeists, Turco calmly sent a silver bullet through the heart of the 2005-06 playoffs and buried it firmly in the ice at Pepsi Center.
Turco stopped 36 shots against the Colorado Avalanche in the season opener, miraculously allowing the Stars to get to overtime in a game they seemed destined to lose by six. But then the embattled goalie raised himself to hero status as he sent an 80-foot pass to defenseman Darryl Sydor, setting up the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory.
"My whole mind-set is to give these guys a chance," Turco said. "Because they’ve given me a lot of chances in the past."
Turco and his teammates have stumbled in two playoff series against the Avalanche over the past two seasons, so it was appropriate the Stars started their season against old demons. But that motivation of retribution didn’t appear to be working early in the game as Colorado earned five power play chances in the first period, unleashed 22 shots on goal and took a 2-0 lead with two man-advantage scores.
There was not much to like in the first few periods. But, a very impressive 3rd period salvaged things. I’ll tell you this: This may be a more abrasive Stars team than we have seen in sometime. Whether they are any good, remains to be seen…
DallasStars.com looks at the preseason picks across the continent …
Matt Barnaby fights – 4:00
Van Persie Wonder Goal