DFW Sports Musings – March 2
By Matthew Postins
The Texas Rangers know a good opportunity when they see one. Today, if you’re in Surprise, Ariz., pick me up a Russell Wilson jersey. The Rangers are going all-out on the merch front with the Super Bowl-champion quarterback. Too bad he won’t take an at-bat. He’s just there to, as my female friends like to say, look pretty.
You can also get the jerseys at the Ballpark and at the team’s store in Fort Worth, if you don’t fee like getting on a plane to go to Surprise.
Jurickson Profar is throwing. This is the only time of year in which that’s a headline in any sport. Ah the incremental news of spring training.
Prince Fielder says he got “lucky” hitting his first home run of spring training. Fielder says the ball just happened to be where his bat was. Prince, I think I speak for all Rangers fans when I say, “Get as lucky as you want this season.”
The Rangers work out Joe Saunders. Jon Daniels sure is turning over every stone for pitching talent, isn’t he? I wonder if that’s a bad sign. Matt Harrison threw long toss the other day and experienced no back pain. I know that’s a good sign.
Another good sign? Catcher Geovany Soto is targeting a March 15 return from foot surgery.
I’m most interested in seeing how Colby Lewis looks this spring. If “Big-Game Colby” shows up and can eat innings for this team, to me, that is a huge boost for this rotation with Derek Holland out until July.
The NFL makes things a little easier for the Dallas Cowboys. The increase of the salary cap to a reported $133 million means the Cowboys don’t have to resort to drastic measures to get under the salary cap. Of course, tell Jerry Jones he doesn’t have to do drastic and he’ll probably do something drastic.
The Cowboys cut four players on Friday. None of them were starters, but did it help their cap situation at all? Actually, it did a little bit. ESPNDallas.com says it shaved nearly a million off the cap bill, and that makes sense. All four were signed to short-term, low-dollar deals, and at this time of year only the Top 51 salaries count against the cap. Everette Brown and Corvey Irvin were set to make the most in 2014, $730,000 each.
But that isn’t nearly enough to assuage the cap issues the Cowboys face, even with the increase of the salary cap to $133 million. The Cowboys still need to shave more than $16 million off top to get under the cap by the new NFL year.
My gut says DeMarcus Ware is a goner. It’s a tough choice. But I think the Cowboys move on, take the cap space and start over up front. You don’t want to get stuck with this guy if he truly is on the way down.
The Dallas Mavericks went 9-3 in February. But no one is going to confuse that February schedule with the schedule that lies ahead in March. The Mavs start the month with the Spurs, the Nuggets, the Trail Blazers and the Pacers. The middle of the month features a tough road trip, including Golden State and Oklahoma City. The Mavs deal with the Timberwolves, the Nuggets, the Nets, the Thunder and the Clippers during a long homestand to end the month. By the end of March we’ll know if the Mavs are going to be a danger to others in the NBA playoffs.
If the season ended Feb. 28, the Dallas Stars would be a playoff team — barely. The Stars would claim the second Wild Card berth, winning a tiebreaker over Vancouver. But the Stars have been in this situation before the past few seasons and wilted. Will there be a difference this year?
Well, it could be Jamie Benn. He had a huge Olympic tournament for Team Canada, leading them to a gold medal. He returned to score a goal and dish out two assists in the Stars’ first game post-Olympics, a 4-1 win over Carolina. Perhaps all of that international competition for both Benn and goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who won a bronze medal with Finland, will push the Stars back into the postseason.
By the way, Ron Washington says he and new bench coach Tim Bogar are working on a post-game celebration that will “shock the world.” I’d much rather Wash keep working on determining the best five-man rotation for opening day, thank you very much.