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Rangers Come Up Aces Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Sat, Nov 19, 2005, 06:37 PM

For well over a decade now the Texas Rangers have searched for a true ace to put in their starting rotation. Well, if you believe the rumors, the Rangers may have found their ace.

Here’s the latest Ranger trade rumor as reported by TR Sullivan in the Fort Worth Star Telegram: Hank Blalock and a top pitching prospect to Florida in exchange for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.

Beckett is the type of pitcher Rangers fans have been demanding. He’s a proven ace that is among the top 5 pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. He’s the type of pitcher that wants the ball in pressure situations. He was the MVP of the 2003 World Series. He’s young and he is not eligible to become a free agent for another 2 years. He is eligible for arbitration and will probably make in excess of $12 million over the next two seasons.

Beckett is obviously the key player in this trade. But let’s take a look at Mike Lowell. The Marlins have been trying to dump Lowell for the better part of a year. Lowell is a highly paid player who’s numbers fell horrendously last season.

And, nowadays when a players numbers fall significantly the whispers start. And much like Sammy Sosa and Jason Giambi the whispers about Lowell began last season. As bad as his numbers fell, Lowell still has “doubles power”. And I just can’t imagine that, at his age (32-33), Lowell productive years are behind him.

Blalock on the other hand has faded down stretch in each of the two last seasons. He’s faded so badly down the stretch that I believe the he is now a below average offensive player. And if he’s below average in Arlington, a park that is tailor made for left-handed power hitters, I can only wonder what kind of numbers he’ll produce in a pitcher’s park.

Danks and Diamond are still perceived as prospects with big time futures…But they are just prospects. And neither figures to arrive as truly contributing Major League ballplayers until 2007.

Here’s a chance for the Rangers to control the rights to a brilliant young pitcher. And all they would have to give up is a declining 3rd baseman and only one of their pitching prospects. They would still be left with 2 outstanding pitching prospects.

For me, this trade would be a no brainer. If this is truly the Marlins offer, TAKE IT and don’t look back.
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Mavs Finding Ways to Win Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Fri, Nov 18, 2005, 01:34 PM

When is it good to be playing poorly? Well, when you are winning. Look at the Mavericks. The Mavs are not playing to their potential right now. Not at all. But they are winning.

The Mavericks are 6-2. The team is scoring 96.3 points per game. The team is giving up 96.3 points per game. The Mavericks are shooting 45% from the field and just 35% from 3 point range…I think that those numbers are going to improve as the team and Avery gel.

Despite some poor performances, the Mavs continue to put W’s on the board. One of the key reasons the team has won 6 games is their defensive play. Teams that play good defense can survive when the jump shots aren’t falling.

The Mavericks also have another big thing going for them. And that is a spectacular bench. The Mavs 2nd team is a potent unit. They may have the best 2nd unit in the NBA behind San Antonio. This bench allows Avery Johnson the luxury of depth. Depth at every position.

You can’t expect teams to be very very sharp as the season starts . Coaches realize how long the season is and they tend to just coax their teams into the flow of the season. So, it is great that the Mavs are winning during this process. They are winning games against good teams and they are winning in situations that wouldn’t ordinarily produce victories.

If you are a Maverick fan you should be very encouraged by the team’s ability to win when they are not playing at their best. The NBA is a long long season. It’s a marathon and the Mavs are off to a solid start. 

This club is going to win 50+ basketball games this season. But this team will measure its success based on playoff victories. Playoff position is important and wins in November produce a better playoff seed in April
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Dave Bliss Resurfaces Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Thu, Nov 17, 2005, 06:43 PM

I talked to an old friend yesterday. A friend who made some major mistakes a couple of years ago. Mistakes that were inexcusable and some would say unforgivable. My friend told me yesterday that life is about relationships. And because of his past mistakes, he has lost almost all of the relationships that he had accumulated throughout his career…throughout his life. My question is: at what point do you forgive your friend for doing the unforgivable?

For almost 2 decades, Dave Bliss had developed a remarkable reputation as a solid college basketball coach. He was a coach that could turn programs around. A coach that found ways to succeed at schools that did not have a history of basketball success. He succeeded at SMU. He succeeded at New Mexico. And, he was on his way to turning Baylor basketball into a respectable program.

Then, it all unraveled in the summer of 2003. As much as I hate to say it, Dave Bliss was not running a clean program at Baylor. As a matter of fact, he was violating several NCAA rules.

You see, college basketball programs have a limited number of scholarships that they can issue. And, Bliss was out of scholarships when urged Patrick Dennehy to transfer from New Mexico to Baylor. But that did not stop Bliss from finding a way to make arrangements for Dennehy’s tuition to be paid under the table. This is a clear NCAA violation.

Then, in June of 2003 Dennehy vanished. He was missing and there appeared to be foul play. This is when the end began for Dave Bliss. After weeks of searching, Dennehy’s body was finally found a couple of miles away from the Baylor campus. He had been shot dead.

The suspect in the case was a former teammate on the Bliss’ Baylor team, Carl Dotson. The ensuing investigation exposed accounting discrepancies in the basketball program. Investigators needed to know how Dennehy, a non-scholarship athlete, could afford Baylor’s lofty tuition payments.

Bliss knew that if the truth came out, he and his program would be punished. So, instead of admitting the truth and taking the punishment, he did the unthinkable. He hatched a scheme to cover up the violations.

He met with his assistants and some players that were going to be a part of the investigation. He told them to say that Dennehy paid his tuition from funds he raised from the sale of drugs.

This was an out and out lie from a man desperate to keep his job. And he got caught. One of his assistants had recorded the conversations and turned the tapes over to the authorities.

Bliss’ life as a respected NCAA Basketball Coach came to an end. But more than that, his life as a respected human being came to an end. He is now coaching the Dakota Wizards in the CBA. That’s a long way from big time college basketball.

Dave Bliss admits that he violated the trust of almost everyone that he cared about and everyone that cared about him. The ripples of what happened at Baylor in the summer of ’03 are still washing up on shores other places. The Baylor basketball team this year is suffering because of what Dave did.

Bliss came on the show yesterday not to look for sympathy…not to give excuses…he wanted to clear the air. Whether you hate him or not, whether you are ready to forgive him or you will never be able to forgive him, I thought that you’d just like to hear him.

It would be very easy for me to judge Dave Bliss on what happened in that summer of ’03. He was DEAD WRONG. Virtually everything he did was wrong and some of it was despicable. And he knows it. He lost his career. He’s fortunate that he didn’t lose his family. He’s lost his reputation. And there are hundreds, literally hundreds of people he affected negatively.

I will say this again, Dave and I are friends. I don’t condone anything he did. But, all of us need forgiveness from ourselves sometimes. And, I just think that Dave is in the process of seeking his own kind of forgiveness.
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Could Terrell Owens Play for the Cowboys? Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Wed, Nov 16, 2005, 03:49 PM

As soon as Terrell Owens wore out his welcome in the last place he played, there was talk of him coming to Dallas. My first question was, would Jerry really want him on his team? But, I think a more interesting question is, does Drew Bledsoe really want him on the team.

Terrell Owens is a QB Killer. This is a serial QB killer. Everywhere he goes he sticks a knife in the liver of the guy taking the snaps. Maybe the best thing that the Eagles could have done with TO is make him a QB. Let him get his kidney kicked up into his mouth a couple of times. Maybe he’d have a better appreciation of the men that play that position.

Anyway, there seems to be this feeling that the Cowboys are interested in Terrell Owens. Sports Illustrated has come out with their rankings of who’s most likely to sign Terrell Owens and guess who was number one? THE COWBOYS.

Now, Jerry Jones is not allowed to talk specifically about TO since he is under contract with Philadelphia. He did basically tell us last Friday that he would not be afraid of signing a “serious competitor” that may have some baggage. Jerry definitely left the door wide open.

There is no doubt that on the field TO is a great asset. You will be hard pressed to look at TO’s plays and say that he takes any plays off. On the field he is a competitor.

But he is also a guy who can tear up the fabric of a team. But, Jerry also told us on Friday that even trouble makers can change and save their careers. I believe the door is squarely open for TO to become a Cowboy.

I think that before you start thinking that TO will work well in Dallas you need to remember a couple of things:

1) I keep hearing people say, “…well, with a strong coach like Bill Parcells…” maybe TO will change….Wait a minute! Andy Reid is a tough guy who gave Owens chances and finally got so fed up that he decided the team was better without TO.

2) IF Terrell signs here, who loses his job? Terry Glenn that is you…How hard is it going to be to tell Terry Glenn that he is being replaced by this loudmouth.

I don’t think Bill would fiddle with Keyshawn’s role on this team…And I think Bill genuinely likes Terry Glenn but TO would push Glenn down to #3. Can everyone work this way?

I’m told that there some people in the NFL that are absolutely convinced the Dallas is stop #1 for TO. They are convinced that this is the place that TO is going to be next year.

I have to tell you, I'm not a proponent of signing a guy like Terrell Owens.  He has been disruptive everywhere he has been (and even in some places he's never been).  But, I have to admit that, under some very specific circumstances, I would be intrigued with seeing TO wear the Star that he stomped on years ago.

First of all, I'd want the Cowboys to go into this with their eyes completely wide open.  They need to understand that they cannot depend on this guy.  They need to understand that he is not a long term type player.  And his contract needs to reflect this.  The contract needs to be filled with incentives and very easy for the Cowboys to simply cut TO when things get rough.  The contract needs to be short term and require TO to perform.  If he doesn't perform he doesn't get paid. 

Will he (and his squirrel of an agent Drew Rosenhaus) sign this type of contract?  I don't know.  But, if it works can you imagine having Keyshawn, TO, Terry Glenn AND Jason Witten on the field at the same time…Those are some weapons!
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Sometimes It All Comes Down to Four Minutes Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Tue, Nov 15, 2005, 01:27 PM

In the off season players work like crazy…Management is out there trying to assemble a roster of players that will succeed.

Then you go to camp and you work and you work and you work to ensure that success.

Then, it all comes down to 4 minutes…That’s what happened last night. For 56 minutes the Cowboys got their butt kicked blue. The offense couldn’t run the ball and the defense couldn’t stop the run. And quite honestly, the only reason the Cowboys were still in the game with 4 minutes to go was that the Eagles receivers dropped more passes that I can ever remember receivers dropping in a game.

Then, all of the sudden, the Cowboys score a TD to get to within 6 points…Then an incredible turnover put the Cowboys ahead by a point. Then, the Eagles screw up royally by not using a timeout to save precious seconds at the end of the game. The Cowboys win a game in 4 minutes.

In 4 minutes last night, two seasons crossed…The Cowboys are headed up. The Eagles are headed down. All of that work in the off season…All of the work at training camp…All of the weight training…All of the running…All of the classroom preparation…It all came down to 4 minutes last night and the Cowboys came out on top. And the Eagles are left trying to regroup.
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