We're used to winners here in North Texas. Unfortunately, our professional sports teams, all four of them, are in pretty sorry condition. Makes it hard to be an avid fan when your teams suck.
Texas Rangers -
Two consecutive World Series appearances, the first in the club's history. Neither one resulted in a victory, but still quite an achievement. So, what do we have to hang our head on now? A front office that is incapable of signing anyone, and players who gave up during this past season.
Josh Hamilton is gone to the Angels. Good riddance. He had his moments here, but the good times were over. Josh is a time bomb waiting to go off. Rangers fans and the club have put up with his occastional personal failures over the years, and rallied around him and his family. Indeed, the Rangers rescued his career, and quite possibly his life, when they took a chance on him in spite of his drup problems. He gave us a lot of incredible baseball in return, but in the end just gave up. His disinterest in the game during the last month of the season was a big reason for the Ranger's collapse - a 10 game lead squandered in a month, followed by a pathetic showing in a one game playoff. Josh made 5 outs on 8 pitches, looking like he wanted to be anywhere but on the field - and then got visibly upset when the fans booed him.
Josh's big time years are behind him - he's 32, and has endured health and injury problems each of the last 3 years. The Angels signed him for 5 years - suckers!
Michael Young is gone to the Phillies. Mr. Ranger was let go for nothing, because there was no place for him to play in the field. Apparently a crop of unproven rookies was enough to convince management that a proven, versatile player was not needed.
Mike Adams, their most important setup man in the bullpen, was let go - they didn't even try to sign him. Mike Napoli, backup catcher/first baseman is gone - although with all of his injury problems and streakiness make this a good decision.
Management failed on each and every free agent they tried to go after, except for catcher hated by everyone in the league, and an over the hill middle reliever.
That's it so far for their moves. All the top free agents are gone, none of them came here, and we are left with a team that is much worse on paper than the one that fell apart last year. Wow ... really looking forward to this season ...
Dallas Mavericks -
Two years off of a World Championship, and this team will not even make .500. Last year they let go of their top free agent, in the hopes of sigining one of the blue chippers. Didn't happen, all the big guns shunned Mark Cuban and took their game elsewhere.
Before this season started, Cuban let Jet Terry go in free agency, not even offering him a contract. Jason Kidd pulled one of his patented 'screw-yous' and went to Brooklyn. Cuban blew up the team - 9 of the 12 players on this season's roster weren't on the team last year. Dirk missed the first two months of the season due to injury, and it will take some time for him to get back into form. He's too old to carry the team on his own - and he simply doesn't have enough talent around him to get it done. A bunch of spare parts cobbled together off of other teams has produced a solid .400 team.
Cuban has told us he's saving his cap money to make a big move in free agency in the off season. Same thing we were told the past two off seasons. Sorry, Mark ... ain't gonna happen. What superstar in their right mind would come to this team, considering the condition it is in?
Dallas Stars -
The fact that the NHL hasn't had a season has spared Stars' fans from another miserable endeavor. This team, which was fighting against ownership issues with Tom Hicks' financial debacle, finally got its ownership squared away when a hockey guy bought the team. Things were looking up, then they let Mike Ribeiro go. Then they traded Steve Ott. Following last year's mess when they let Brad Richards go, and we get a glimpse into the 'commitment' that management and ownership has to putting a quality product on the ice. I will admit that signing their goalie to a five year contract extension was a good move, but that's been it. No one but 'prospects' have been brought onto the club to make up for the losses.
2008 was the last visit to the playoffs for the team. It has become a .500 club, with nothing indicating it will get better any time soon.
I love the Stars. Their fan base has been incredible in North Texas. Winning will do that. This extended period of mediocrity has shrunken that base, and its going to continue to get worse. Last year saw the club playing in front of a 2/3 empty AAC each game. IF we have any NHL season at all this year, that's not likely to get better. A very sad state for what was one of the NHL's best franchises.
Dallas Cowboys -
A .500 team since their last championship season. That's what the Cowboys are. 8-8 this year was not a fluke.
It is true that the team was decimated by injuries this year, especially on defense. Ryan's defense earned the not-very-nice nickname of the 'New Name Defense', because from week to week there were 8-12 guys suited up that no one knew. Losing their starting runningback and #1 receiver for significant portions of the season didn't help. If 8-8 was an oddity, then this could be forgiven. It wasn't.
Missing the playoffs for 3 straight years. Having the opportunity to win in their last game to make the playoffs in each of those 3 years, against division foes, and failing miserably in each of those 3 games is pathetic.
I like Tony Romo. He is talented. However, the fact he is 1-6 in win-or-go-home games over his career, with only a single playoff win, just has to be recognized as failure.
Jerry Jones came out early this past week on the radio, and said he will make things uncomfortable at Valley Ranch. The not so subtle message is that no one is safe ... except for Jason Garrett ... except for Tony Romo, and (most importantly) except for Jerry Jones. This team is going to be mediocre as long as Jerry calls all of the shots. He has admitted publickly that he is not a good GM, and he'd fire himself - but that he won't fire himself because he is the owner. Until Jones brings in good, solid GM, this team isn't going anywhere.
Pretty sad ...