Rumblings and ramblings from the world of sports:
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

March 27, 2004 -- Talk all you want about X's and O's, but the only way the Mavericks will get better defensively is if they take it upon themselves individually to be better defenders.

The lack of defense isn't about game-planning -- it's about effort and attitude, and this team doesn't seem to have the same energy it did last year. The Mavs weren't very good defensively last year, either, but they made up for it with high-energy offense and a snarl from Nick Van Exel.

Van Exel's gone and apparently so is the attitude the Mavs need. Nobody likes to lose, but very few will do whatever it takes to win.

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Having said that, I will throw in my two-cents worth about the Mavericks' zone defense. Doesn't work against good teams. Doesn't work in crunch time.

When the game's on the line, throwing your arms up when you're 10 feet away from a squared-up jump shooter is like putting on sun screen before jumping into a pit of fire. You're going to get burned.

And the burn doesn't have to come from the best in the business. Just ask Austin Croshere.

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So the Rangers completed their trade of Alex Rodriguez, regarded as the best player in the game, with the New York Yankees, considered to have the deepest minor league and scouting system in the majors, and they didn't come away with a major league-ready pitcher?

I hope John Hart has Plan B ready. No, wait, Hart went through Plan B three years ago. It was called Chan Ho Park. Followed by Plan C (Ken Caminiti), Plan D (Andres Galarraga), Plan E (Ruben Rivera), Plan F (Hideki Irabu) ...It's time for Plan X: Hart goes out the eXit door.

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Major League Baseball umpires are considering joining the Teamsters union, which will give them some backbone when dealing with belligerent players and managers. The Jimmy Hoffa concrete truck will be running right outside the stadium of every game.

Getting involved with the Teamsters, I would think, is not what MLB wants from an image standpoint. The worries about game-fixing and arm-twisting are already in the air.

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Yes, I did have Nevada in my Sweet 16 picks, thank you very much. And that's all we're going to say about my bracket.

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From the Wish I Had Said That Department: With former minor league baseball players Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson and now Drew Henson on their team, the Cowboys have a better rotation than the Rangers. From Dale Hansen.

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Who's going to cause the first flap on his new team: Terrell Owens in Philadelphia or Keyshawn Johnson in Dallas. My money's on Owens, who seems to be more driven by the spotlight than money or winning.

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