In the Cheap Seats

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

Mar. 16, 2007 - You have to hand it to the Texas Rangers. When it comes to using steroids, they are at the top of the heap.

In the long list of players who we know have used steroids, and others we strongly suspect, an alarming number have played for the Rangers. Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Pudge Rodriguez, Ken Caminiti, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez, Gary Matthews Jr., and that's not all.

You would think that with all the extra help, the Rangers would be better than they have been in the won-loss department. Seems like they can't even get the steroids thing right.

Actually, if Major League Baseball is truly concerned about steroids, then the league should start holding teams accountable. Lay a $1 million fine on a team for for every positive steroid test, and suddenly some of those Steroidians would find themselves unemployable.

Speaking of the Rangers, anybody that thought Sammy Sosa wouldn't make this team doesn't know how owner Tom Hicks operates. Hicks wants Sosa to be in a Rangers uniform when he hits his 600th home run so the team will draw more fans and get more media coverage.

Hicks doesn't care about winning - it's about how much money he can bleed from the franchise.

Sosa has done well in spring training, but he would be on the major league roster if he were batting .100.

If you think the Mavericks are on a level playing field with other teams when it comes to NBA officiating, you haven't been paying attention this week.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the league is engaging in a "witch hunt" against poor Kobe - a strong indictment that should have brought a heavy fine. Instead, the NBA's goon, vice president Stu(pid) Jackson, fines the Lakers coach only $50,000. - remember, Phil Jackson makes $10 million a year. If Mark Cuban would have said the same thing, the fine would have been at least 10 times that amount.

Sure, Cuban has a history with the league, but so does Phil Jackson, who spouts off like that at least once a season.

On the court, Dirk Nowitzki continues to be the most dis-respected superstar in the game. If he were to get the same foul calls as say, Dwayne Wade, the Mavericks would go undefeated.

Nowitzki will take the ball to the rack, but too many times he gets a hard foul but no call.

And how about the no-call on the foul on Devin Harris Wednesday night? Harris got clobbered in the head by the Suns' James Jones with such force that he suffered whiplash, but didn't even get a whistle blown.

Mavs coach Avery Johnson won't let his players complain about the officiating, but they don't have to. Everybody can see it.

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