In the Cheap Seats

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Feb. 15, 2007 - Just a few observations that have come our way lately:

RANGERS ARE LISTENING - Those NASCAR guys who got busted trying to cheat their way to the Daytona 500 title shouldn't despair. If they can't make it in racing, they can join the Texas Rangers. As Sammy Sosa can attest, the more you cheat, the better when it comes to the Rangers.

ONE MORE THING - Speaking of the Rangers, I hope owner Tom Hicks knows more about soccer than baseball after he was a principal purchaser of the Liverpool team. Hicks will spend $250 million on a soccer team, but pinches pennies when it comes to the Rangers. Maybe Hicks will become so enamored in destroying another franchise that he'll sell the Rangers. We can all hope, anyway.

WATCH OUT FOR CONGRESS - Now that we've had the blow-up from basketball's Tim Hardaway about being a gay hater, you can bet that Congress will get into the act if the members think it will help them get re-elected. Don't be shocked if they pass a law that every team must have an openly gay player. If you think I'm fooling, you don't know Congress very well.

ALL IN THE FAMILY - Nepotism hasn't really served the Dallas Cowboys too well the last decade, but it's only getting worse. Along with Jerry Jones and his two sons and daughter being involved neck-deep in the Cowboys, now we're getting it from the coaching staff. The first person new head coach Wade Phillips hired was his son. Then, Jason Garrett, an offensive assistant coach, also had his brother hired today. Hope all that works better for the Cowboys than the whole Jones family thing. Under the Joneses, the Cowboys would have won every playoff game they've played the last 10 years - except they lost them all.

LEAD ON - So, Miami's Dwayne Wade wants to badmouth Dirk Nowitzki for not leading the Mavericks to victory in last year's NBA Finals. Seems like D-Wad wouldn't be running his mouth if near-sided, whistle-happy Bennett Salvatore had not blown that phantom call in the final seconds of Game 5. The Mavericks had just taken a 1-point lead on a dunk by Erick Dampier - off a Nowitzki assist - and would have been ahead 3-1 in the series if not for Salvatore bailing out the big mouth on his out-of-control drive. By the way, where has D-Wad led his team this year? The eighth seed in a mediocre conference.

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