In the Cheap Seats

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

May 26, 2007 - King Midas has spoken, so it's up to his subjects to bow down and heed his orders.

Rangers and Stars fans must have more passion, said Tom Hicks, owner of both floundering franchises.

Of course, this comes from the most dispassionate owner this side of Bill Bidwell.

Which owner did not even travel to the Stars' playoff series against Vancouver? That would be King Midas. Which owner seldom visits the ballyard-park-stadium (whatever Hicks has renamed it lately) in Arlington? Again, King Midas.

Which owner raises ticket prices after losing seasons? Midas. Which owner goes up on the prices of parking and concessions after back-to-back last-place finishes. Midas.

Which owner demands more passion from his subjects? You already know the answer.

Hicks was in merry ol' England, sipping tea and crumpets, earlier this week while watching his newest franchise - Liverpool's soccer team - play. Imagine that, an owner taking an interest in his team. It sure hasn't happened with the Stars or Rangers.

But, King Midas probably feels more at home in England, where royalty is still in vogue.

While in England, he compared the loyalty of the Rangers and Stars fans to that of Liverpool.

��There�s no way either of my two teams� fans have the level of intense passion that Liverpool has," he said. ��I want them to. Hopefully some day they will.��

Hopefully, some day the Rangers and Stars will have a real owner. Hopefully, some day the owner will have some passion for the teams instead of whether or not they are a money-making revenue stream.

It hasn't happened with King Midas yet. Don't expect it to.

The Rangers and Stars deserve an owner with the same all-or-nothing mentality that Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones have. Oh, you can criticize Cuban for his over-exuberance and Jones for his personnel moves, but you can't question their passion for their teams.

Where does King Midas' passion lie? It certainly isn't with the Stars or Rangers.

DRAFT ANALYSIS - Isn't it time to discard the NBA Lottery? Memphis Grizzlies president Jerry West was very vocal this week in criticizing the process that seldom ever rewards the worst teams with the highest picks.

If the intent of a draft is to allow the worst teams to have the best picks, then the lottery is failed. The very existence of the lottery is dubious, indeed.

It was started to keep teams from intentionally losing games to get the best pick. By allowing all of the non-playoff teams to have a shot at the No. 1 pick, the reasoning is that teams would quit trying to lose.

If a league has teams that try to lose, then it's biggest problem isn't the draft, it's the mentality of the GMs/coaches/players.

The Rangers' Sammy Sosa is nearing 600 home runs. He will stay in a Rangers uniform until he does, then Texas GM Jon Daniels will do the franchise a favor by trading him to a playoff contender for good, young players. Of course, we're asking for Daniels make a quality trade - something he has failed to do in two years on the job. ... Now that Portland and Seattle have the top two draft picks in the NBA draft, those two teams will likely have some personnel they could be willing to trade. Portland's Zach Randolph and Seattle's Ray Allen or Rashard Lewis may be available. For the Mavericks, moving Seattle native Jason Terry for one of the SuperSonics may make the most sense.

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