Touching base with The Big Four in DFW.

by Dustin Dietz | Posted on Friday, May 25th, 2012

By: Dustin Dietz

The Dallas/Ft. Worth sport fan has become spoiled in a way due to the fact the four major professional teams in the area are considered marquee franchises in their respective sports. While the Cowboys and Stars have not had much success on the field or in the rink recently, both are still highly regarded.

What I am trying to get at is with all four pro teams in DFW being relevant in the sports landscape, there is rarely much down time for the sports fan here. However, with the Stars missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, and the Mavericks poorly defending the franchise’s first championship earlier this month, the Rangers are the only show in town until the Cowboys season begins in September.

To be honest, there really is not much going on at the moment. We have arrived at one of those monotonous points of the sports year. Rather than write an extensive article focused on one team, I thought I would touch base with the four major professional DFW teams. (Apologies to FC Dallas)

First Base – Dallas Stars

I am not much of a hockey guru. So, I will not even pretend to be one. If you crave hockey expertise, then one can skip over this section if he or she so chooses.

A thought did come across my mind when I noticed the 8th seeded Los Angeles Kings advance to the Stanley Cup Finals this week. Is it unreasonable to be slightly bitter considering the Stars were ahead of the Kings in the standings for much of the 2011-2012 season? The Kings finished only six points ahead of the Stars because Dallas finished the season losing 7 of their final ten games.

Are the Kings that much more talented than the Stars? Experts seem to think so, but one is still left to ponder what might have been had the Stars snuck into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Stars have hired Jim Lites and Bob Gainey this off season with the intention of improving the roster so the team can end their long playoff drought.

Second Base – Dallas Mavericks

The Stars AAC roommate heads into an off season aspiring to land the only elite level free agent left on the market after Dwight Howard exercised his option for 2012-2013, Deron Williams.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban decided not to resign key players from the championship team from 2010-2011 to have the much coveted cap space to land a marquee free agent this summer.

After not resigning Tyson Chandler, and seeing Howard become unavailable, The Cubes’ decision looks more perplexing.

Williams recently said, “”I want to reiterate, I don’t know what I’m doing next year. Still. Nobody does but me. Not even my mom, my brother, my uncle, my cousin. I haven’t talked to anybody about where I’m going next year.”

Williams’ words might cause Mavs fans concern, and others confusion, but he cannot say in May which team he is going to sign with. However, if the Mavs fail to land Williams, Cuban’s decision to not bring back most of last season’s championship team will have been a colossal error.

Third Base – Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys began OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) this week at Valley Ranch. I am not going to provide the reader with any robotic commentary from any of the Cowboys’ players this week. Basically, the team is glad to be on the practice field and desires to improve the team in all three areas.

The only news of importance from The Ranch is Mike Jenkins has decided to not attend the OTA’s due to displeasure over not being given a new contract, and fifth round draft pick Danny Coale suffered a broken foot during the first workout.

The Cowboys signed former Kansas City Chiefs CB Brandon Carr in March, and then drafted LSU CB Morris Claiborne to revamp the secondary. Jenkins is understandably upset because he wants to have an opportunity to earn the type of money Brandon Carr just received ($50.1 million dollars).

Jenkins has asked to be traded, but with his history of inconsistent play and injuries, there probably will not be many suitors. The wise thing for Jenkins to do would be to report to Valley Ranch and prove he can play football. If Orlando Scandrick can be rewarded with a lucrative contract, there is a place in the world for Mike Jenkins.

As for Coale, the broken foot should keep him sidelined until the beginning of training camp in July. Many believe Coale can fill the vacant third wide receiver spot Kevin Ogletree was unable to solidify early last season before the team signed Laurent Robinson. If Coale’s injury is a perpetual problem which forces him to miss a substantial amount of time, the only WR’s on the roster are Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Raymond Radway, and Andre Holmes. As one can easily determine, the Cowboys hope Coale is back sooner rather than later.

Home Plate – Texas Rangers

The only team in DFW currently playing any games of significance is the Texas Rangers. The team just concluded a 3-3 road trip against the far less talented Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

The Rangers are 27-18 while still maintaining a 5 game lead over the Oakland Athletics, and a 6.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, but have looked disinterested at times during the team’s 10-12 month of May.

We all know the baseball season is a marathon, and teams will go through stretches of sub par baseball. However, the recent stretch of play is still a little disconcerting.

Mike Napoli is hitting .205 with a slugging percentage of .274 over the past 22 games, and Michael Young is hitting only .207 with a slugging percentage of .297 over the past 30 games. These guys are paramount to the Rangers lineup, and the Rangers are going to need them to be the players they were in 2011 if the team wants to make an extended post season run. I realize 45 games is a small sample, but Young and Napoli’s struggles are still worth paying attention too.

Neftali Feliz went on the 15-day disabled list this past Monday, and will not begin to throw a baseball for four to six weeks. Scott Feldman and his beard have filled the spot vacated by Feliz, but Feldman pitched poorly in the Rangers loss to Seattle this past Wednesday as he allowed 5 walks and 5 runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The Roy Oswalt rumors have been widely reported this week, but no signing has been announced as of this writing. Teams can never have enough pitching depth, and Oswalt would provide that.

The Rangers try to turn things around as they begin a six game home stand against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night May 25th.

I realize this might be a slow time of year, but fear not, things will soon heat up here in DFW. If the sports teams do not provide the heat, I am sure the summer weather will do the trick.

Follow Dustin Dietz on Twitter @DustinDietz18

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