In the Cheap Seats
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Jan. 18, 2007 - There's good news for Texas Rangers fans ... both of you out there.

When you buy the next ticket to see a Rangers' game, not only will you help pay the salaries of Alex Rodriguez and John Hart, you will also pad the back pocket of one of baseball's biggest cheaters.

In show of either classlessness or cluelessness, the Rangers have reportedly signed Sammy Sosa to a minor league contract and will invite him to spring training in an attempt to make the major league club.

In my book, Sosa goes down as the biggest cheater in all of baseball. Not only did he undoubtedly use steroids to help him hit 66 home runs in 1998, but he also got caught using a corked bat.

He cheated every which way he could.

Then, when he was subpoenaed to appear before before a Congressional committee investigating steroid use, he evoked the infuriating "no hablo" schtick. Sosa speaks and understands English muy bueno, unless it behooves him not to.

Sosa is such a black sheep that no baseball team would even offer him a contract last year. And why would they? On top of cheating, he is washed up, hitting a paltry .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBI in 2005.

But it seems that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is such a poor judge of talent that he can't find anyone else among the thousands of professional baseball players in the world who can hit .221. Daniels would rather rely on a cheater.

The Rangers have long been the laughingstock of Major League Baseball and it starts at the top with money-grubbing owner Tom Hicks and his bumbling clueless parade of general managers and consultants.

That's why Michael Young, Mark Teixiera, Hank Blalock and others won't re-sign here when their contracts run out. You can count on that.

Go ahead and buy tickets, Rangers fans. The money always goes to a good cause.

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES - Isn't it time that the NFL enact a "no tolerance" policy for inane celebrations and taunting?

The latest tiff has the San Diego Chargers angry because New England players disrespected Shawne Merriman by doing his sack dance after the Patriots' victory last weekend. Doesn't Merriman disrespect the other team when he dances around?

Go ahead and let people celebrate touchdowns, if you must, but why does every catch, every run, every tackle merit outrageous antics?

Those "celebrations" are normally nothing but taunting, and the NFL should crack down on them. The incidents of showmanship and poor sportsmanship have reached the epidemic stages.

The antics started getting out of hand when ESPN began showing them over and over and over. If ESPN would institute its own ban against replaying reactions, then I believe we would see a decrease in such boorish behavior.

STAY OR GO - Bill Parcells needs more time to decide whether he wants to be the head coach for the Dallas Cowboys next year. Owner Jerry Jones ought to make the decision himself.

Two coaches have already left Parcells' staff because of his indecision, and three more are interviewing for other positions. By the time Parcells makes up his mind, he may have to reassemble an entire staff.

Also, what good is Parcells on a one-year contract? A lame duck coach is a poor situation for everyone. Jones would do well to cut Parcells loose and get on with the business of improving this team for next year.

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