|In the Cheap Seats: Let the Buck stop somewhere else but Texas|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Sept. 26, 2006 - It's time to give Buck the boot.
The Rangers will end another losing season this weekend, and when Monday dawns, manager Buck Showalter should be shown the door. That should happen, but don't count on it happening.
Tom Hicks, the worst sports franchise owner in the metroplex, would rather save the money by not having to buy out the remaining two years of Showalter's contract than have a team win a championship.
Jerry Jones has never let his pocket book keep him from doling out money to sign Cowboys. Mark Cuban plays with thousand dollar bills like it's monopoly money when it comes to doing what's best for the Mavericks.
Hicks sits on his pile of money like a miser. Proof? The Rangers cut payroll for two years while Hicks raised ticket prices and signed a multi-million dollar naming contract with Ameriquest.
He was behind the trade of Alfonso Soriano for Brad Wilkerson because he didn't want to pay Soriano arbitration money. Hicks will keep John Hart on payroll for some reason, but he doesn't want to pay the players. That's the mindset of a man who is more comfortable in a board room than a clubhouse.
Rather than put money back into the team to win a championship, Hicks rolled in dollar bills like a dog in grass. Now, it's time for him to put a championship in front of his wallet.
There is no arguing that Showalter should be fired. He has lost the confidence of his players, alienated fans and micro-managed the team to three losing seasons in four years.
The players don't like Showalter. A Sporting News poll of players revealed that he was the second-most disliked manager in the league.
His own shortstop, Michael Young who is the heart and soul of the Rangers, said he would only resign with Texas when his contract expires in two years if the team is prepared to win a championship.
"We have championship-caliber players," he said, indicating that there is not championship-caliber management.
One of the reasons Showalter does not incite warm feelings from his players is because he doesn't back them up. When the team gets bad calls - and they had some horrible calls early in the season, especially on two ninth-inning at-bats by Mark Teixeira that caused the team to lose those games - Showalter shows no passion.
Sure, he'll trot out of the dugout and mill around with the umpire, but then he'll duck his head and trot back to the dugout with his hands in his back pockets - probably to make sure his back-side is covered as the team circles the drain once again.
Finally Texas fans started noticing. Attendance at Ameriquest Field is down by almost 140,000 fans, equating to more than $1 million in lost revenue.
Maybe that's what it will take for Hicks to realize it's time to part with his beloved Showalter.
The Buck is going to stop somewhere. Let's hope it not with the Rangers.
NO DH FOR MVP - It'll soon be time for MVP voting in Major League Baseball, and it'll be a travesty if David Ortiz, Frank Thomas or any other designated hitter wins the award. There is no way a player can be the MVP of the league when he's such a sorry fielder that he can't even start for his own team. ... Don't get too caught up in the feel-good moment of the Saints playing once again in the Superdome. The stadium lease runs out in three years, and if the team doesn't move before then, it will likely leave in 2010 for greener pastures - either San Antonio or Los Angeles.