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Rowdy Time Gamenight: 9/18/13

RANGERS 3 @ TAMPA 4 (12) 

RANGERS 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
TAMPA 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 10 
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Rowdy Time Gamenight: 9/17/13

RANGERS 7 @ TAMPA 1 

RANGERS 1 0 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 10 
TAMPA 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Jon Daniels is Good, But He’s Not Irreplaceable

Say what you want about Randy Galloway. The guy knows how to get people talking.

Mister Wimp Free Sports Talk caused quite the stir last week in the Star-Telegram when he suggested that, above all else, Jon Daniels needs to be the first one held responsible for a Rangers season that has become heartbreaking in a hurry for everyone who wasn’t already wanting it to stop getting in the way of their Cowboys. And that if anyone needed to be fired for this season, it was the general manager.

Thus spurred the outrage toward one of the few in talk radio who has actually covered major league clubhouses regularly in his lifetime, accusing Galloway of outright trolling to saying he shouldn’t wait until year’s end to conclude his radio career.

Galloway certainly has his haters, especially among those who blindly follow a certain AM radio station that might not be in existence had people like him not started sports talk in North Texas. But just because someone says something outlandish to sell papers doesn’t mean there might not be some validity to his words.

Let’s get this out of the way: No one is denying all the good work Jon Daniels has done as general manager of the Rangers, from fleecing the Braves in the Mark Teixeria trade to correctly bidding on Yu Darvish to having patience with Ron Washington (up to this point).

And let’s face it, compared to another team living next door, the Rangers can consider themselves lucky they have a real GM at all.

But let’s be honest. Anyone who would think that Jon Daniels is infallible, or even so much better than any other GM in MLB, is setting themselves up for disappointment in the long run.

With the good has come the bad, like dealing away the likes of John Danks and Adrian Gonzales. I won’t even get into the Chris Davis issue  because that can be argued in so many ways.

And specifically, when you look at this year, I don’t see how you can’t look at the moves Daniels didn’t make. Moves that even I have to admit would have put the Rangers in better position rather than just signing the likes of Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski.

I’m guessing many still agree that letting Josh Hamilton go was the right thing. But how much better would they be if Mike Napoli was still here? How much less complaining about David Murphy’s lack of production be if Daniels had pulled the trigger and traded for Justin Upton?

Anyone who assumes that this winter JD will be Mister Whiz Kid again and make all the right moves to guarantee another World Series run, remember:

It’s clear that any trade during the winter meetings will have to include Perez, Profar or Leonys. Virtually every club out there is demanding one of those, and JD has constantly refused, instead forcing Washington more or less to keep Profar on the roster when there remains no place to put him full time. If he’d been willing to part with one of them, Upton might be wearing a Rangers jersey right now.

Yet he was willing to part with Mike Olt when the Rangers still have no production at first base to get a starting pitcher (an area they haven’t struggled in) who so far has a 4.94 ERA with Texas?

And free agents coming here? Well, I’ve never been big on rebuilding that way anyway, but there haven’t exactly been a lot of those coming here, have there? How much does the GM have to take responsibility for that?

As I’ve said before, Daniels seems to be quickly becoming not well liked among players. A few already in the Rangers clubhouse refuse to talk to him, only to assistant Thad Levine. And once again, hearing the grumblings in other clubhouses from people like Cliff Lee after the Michael Young trade, it looks like more than a few others don’t seem to care for the way the Rangers do things either. And that can’t be good for luring them to Arlington.

Some here continue to brush this off, saying money and the chance to win the World Series will simply lure people here no problem, But the Rangers don’t overpay anymore, the Giants and Cardinals have proven there are other teams you can win on, and oh yeah, how many players has that idea brought in here again? (Aside from Adrian Beltre, who never would have even spoken with the Rangers if the Angels’ Jerry DiPoto hadn’t had a brain fart.)

I’ve been worried for about a year now that Daniels has been getting too much of an ego, starting to believe his own press a bit much. Those promotions he got over the winter may not have helped. Remember, pride always cometh before a fall.

I’m not outright saying JD needs to be fired. But I won’t say getting rid of him would destroy the franchise. Slip Levine into that job, retain the same scouts and player development director, and my feeling is the Rangers wouldn’t miss a beat.

Remember, all the things JD’s supporters are saying about him are pretty similar to what was said about Theo Epstein. Yet the Red Sox were willing to let him go after their debacle of 2011. Two years later, the Red Sox have returned to the top, while Epstein – well, it is still early, but the Cubs haven’t been exactly shaking up the world.

Nor did the Rangers when they lured away the previous golden boy in John Hart, who was supposedly a genius for building Cleveland into a contender. His time in Texas – well, Galloway called him the Empty Golf Shirt for a reason.

Daniels has definitely had a body of work better than Hart’s. But if this season ends the way it’s looking more and more, even he can’t be excused from blame.

And if the Rangers do decide such a change is needed, we may ultimately see he was more expendable than many thought.

Rowdy Time Gamenight: 9/16/13

RANGERS 2 @ TAMPA 6 

RANGERS 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
TAMPA 0 1 0 1 4 0 0 0 12 

Longhorns’ Plight May Lie in Their Network

And the panic erupting in Arlington is only topped by the one exploding 180 miles south in Austin.

After the Texas Longhorns lost to BYU last Saturday, giving up more than 500 rushing yard sin the process (refresh my football stupidity; that’s bad, right?), heads rolled pretty quickly.  Arnie Spanier, who may no longer be on the air in DFW but still has an obsession with Texas sports, not only proudly trumpeted his correct prediction on the game but also the aftermath, as it was announced defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

Now according to Arnie and his sources, the anger has not yet been quelled. Supposedly the biggest boosters for UT have issued an ultimatum to Mack Brown: Beat Oklahoma AND go to a BCS bowl game this year or step down. And the Longhorns will gladly go back to enduring the David McWilliams’ and John Mackovics of the world. Or they’ll just unload three Bronks trucks on Nick Saban’s door to bring him to their school with a contract that should cause some people to permanently lose their faith in college sports. (Let me get this out of the way: NO MAN is worth paying 10 million a year to win in ANY athletic program at a supposed institute of higher learning).

Clearly the Texas Exes will do anything to get their beloved football back on top. But they might not be seeing the bigger issue going on at the Forty Acres.

The entire Texas athletics department is in a tailspin. The football team actually wasn’t that bad last year compared to their brethren, as they at least made a bowl game. The basketball and baseball teams failed to make the NCAAs completely.

Some continue to say this is just a rough patch that just happens to be coming for so many programs all at once. But rarely is something like this just coincidental. There is usually a common link.

And in this case, it just might be that big ol’ TV network that got so many up in arms.

The university launched the Longhorn Network in April 2011 intending it to be the ultimate money printing source for what already may be the most luxurious, gluttonous athletics department in the nation. (I still roll my eyes when I see the mini-Metrodome they use for a football practice facility.) It was also looked upon as a wholly unfair recruiting tool by some, especially with the network announcing it would air high school games. That’s the big reason why Texas A&M is facing Alabama this Saturday and another Longhorns-Aggies matchup looks like it may never happen again.

But after two years so far, clearly the network hasn’t been that much of broadcast pied piper luring in every great athlete to come wear burnt orange. Which leads to the question: Could the Longhorn Network actually be repelling prospective student-athletes?

There may be one obvious explanation for this: The Longhorn Network hasn’t been a big player because, well, no one has been carrying it. Turns out the university greatly over estimated its value as being a must-see college athletic department for a national audience. Since its inception, the network has managed to coax the major cable providers at a rate of one a year with Fios, AT&T U-Verse and, most recently, Time Warner Cable. Comcast and the two big satellite providers continue to refuse.

Representatives from DirecTV may have summed it up best: “We understand Longhorn has other programming that may be of value to a small segment of our customers, but two UT football games do not constitute a network.”

If the games it carries aren’t going to be seen by anyone, what’s the point? At the rate it’s going, the network will hopefully be big enough to be a lure by maybe 2020.

Johnny Manziel soap opera, the debate of how much college athletes are supposedly being used as indentured servants is up in full force once again. And therein might just lie the big issue with the Longhorn Network. It may be the final straw for a growing number of athletes getting disenfranchised with how these schools will profiteer off them.

Now, I still remain among those old schoolers who believe college athletes should not be paid for play. But that doesn’t mean I can’t see and understand the frustration said athletes can have when the schools go too far in trying to make money off them with little compensation outside of a scholarship. And with a school creating its own cable network – that’s about as far as you can get.

That’s not to say the Alabamas and the Oklahomas of the country aren’t equally as guilty of the bottom line of profiteering. But UT may have finally found the line to cross – and the athletes are seeing they crossed it and responded with, “no thanks.”

Think I may be getting ludicrous in such a theory? Maybe we should travel to Greece and ask Ioannis Papapetrou, who signed to play pro ball there after last season. Yes, playing professionally in a country on the verge of bankruptcy was more enticing than returning to UT. And he wash’t the only one to leave, as Rick Barnes has recently seen seven other players either turn pro or transfer.

Either way you look at it, many more are taking a hit all at once in Austin, not just those wearing pads and helmets. Suddenly kids aren’t interested in hearing “The Eyes of Texas” over and over again. Not when they see a school trying to collect hundreds of millions off their efforts with a TV network that won’t even be watched by those with a satellite dish mounted on their roofs.

And if that’s the case, it may take a lot more than replacing Mack to get at least Texas football back to national prominence. In fact, UT might want to take a step back from all the money that spend – and consider less might be more in making them more attractive to college athletes.

Rowdy Time Gamenight: 9/12/13

TCU 10 TEXAS TECH 20 

TCU 0 0 3 7 10 
TEXAS TECH 10 0 0 10 20

Rowdy Time Gameday: 9/11/13

RANGERS 5 PITTSBURGH 7 

PITTSBURGH 0 0 1 2 1 0 2 1 0 12 
RANGERS 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 0 0  9