Sunday, December 7, 2008

The State of the Dallas Sports Scene

It's been a while for me, so I'll jump back in by evaluating the state of Dallas sports. Putting it briefly: it isn't pretty. A year and a half ago we were looking at a series of near misses. Who knew those were the good old days?

Dallas Cowboys: Dallas has underachieved this year, but the problem is not Pac-Man Jones, Jerry, Wade, or any of the other "distractions" that get all the talk. The real problem is that this team has had to deal with something this year that they have avoided for a few years now: injuries. Since they have gotten most of their players back, they have been 3-0, although against weaker competition, bringing their season record to 8-4. The real test will be the last quarter of the season against playoff-caliber opponents. As tough as that will be, it has been made even tougher with the injury to MB3, especially with Felix Jones already out. Going at least 3-1 will be tough enough against these opponents, and having to do it for at least one game with a third string running back makes it even tougher. But if the Cowboys can do that, they should make the playoffs. They have left themselves no wiggle room, but if the Cowboys can't go 3-1, they aren't good enough anyway. For Dallas, the playoffs begin today.

Dallas Mavericks: I'm getting tired of reading articles or hearing radio personalities say that nobody could have seen the Mavs falling like they have. According to this, this, this, this, this, this and this, here at 110 Percent, we are nobodies. The Mavs are as soft as ever, but at least before they were young and soft, leaving hope that they would become grizzled veterans. Now they are just getting old and soft. They talk the same game of stepping up their defense and taking the ball to the basket, but as always, it's just talk. It stings even more seeing Devin Harris blossom into the Tony Parker starter kit that we were always told he would be. As for Josh Howard, not only is he an immature nutcase who can't play four quarters, but now he is also injured. Meanwhile, Ron Artest, who the Mavs could have aquired by dropping Howard, is a strong contributor down in Houston. Sure, the Mavs are on a 9-1 run, but like the Cowboys' last few opponents, it's been done against weak competition: eight of the ten teams have records worse than Dallas. Bad sign: the Mavs only have three players averaging double digit points. Worse sign: JJ Barea, Devean George, Antoine Wright, Shawne Williams and DaSagana Diop all get significant minutes with this club, and the Mavs are trying to convince us that this is OK. I am reminded of the mid-90's when Popeye Jones, Fat Lever, Loren Meyer and Sean Rooks were all supposed to be viable players. Hello, mediocrity!

Dallas Stars: Such high hopes. The Stars ended last season in the Western Conference Finals, but they haven't been able to carry that over to this season, instead fighting to stay out of the bottom spot for the entire league. Things went from bad to worse with the Sean Avery Incident, who likely has played his last game in Dallas. Tom Hicks has always been kinder to his hockey team than his baseball club, but I don't think he's going to enjoy buying out Avery's four year contract. Oh, well, at least everyone in the lockerroom will like each other as they miss the playoffs this year.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers have so far been inactive in the trade and free agent market, and I'm OK with that. Wheeling and dealing has not been this team's strongsuit. Imagine if the Braintrust had left well enough alone: we could have Edinson Volquez, John Danks and Chris Young at the top of the rotation. Hopefully, the Rangers will stick to their new plan of drafting smart, developing their own and making smart decisions. Who knows, in a couple years, the Rangers may be the most competitive team in Dallas.

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