DOGGIN' HANLEY RIPS HIS MANAGER: Big fallout today (Tuesday) from Hanley Ramirez's in-game benching by manager Fredi Gonzalez last night for a lack of effort. I credit Gonzalez for making the move. Hanley, not so much. An angry Ramirez lashed out at Gonzalez in the clubhouse this morning. Among highlights, Hanley said, "It's his team. He can do whatever he f---ing wants." When Fredi's name was mentioned, Hanley said, "Who is that?" Whern asked iof he has lost some respect for his manager, he said, "A little bit." Then: "I respect everybody. But I don't know if I get the same respect back." Ramirez blamed his injured shin for not running full-speed after the ball he'd booted, adding, of Gonzalez: "He didn't play in the big leagues. He didn't understand." Ramirez is emotional, mercurial. This feud could be short-lived. Right now, though, it is a major controversy enveloping the Marlins and their best player. Stay tuned.
[Sidelights: The latest next-manager-fired odds from BetUS.com have Fredi safe at home at 20-1 odds. That's tied for 19th-longest odds. Hottest seats are in Baltimore and Houston at 4-1. Click on SB 1070 for my column off last night's Marlins game. It's about reaction to Arizona's controversial new anti-immigration law. Jorge Cantu? Not happy].
SPORTS RADIO WARS: 790 BEATS WQAM: [Declaring a winner, even though polls stays open]. We last did something like this in the blog in January 2006, so I'm thinking it's time again. Especially with the rivalry between WQAM-560 and 790 The Ticket seeming to get more and more intense and bitter, and with WINZ-940's move to an all-sports format adding a major player to the market mix. 'QAM has taken the offensive (quite literally some might say) with its current promo ads against 790 -- one of them saying, "You could listen to the other station, but you may turn gay." The WQAM station manager also takes shots at 790 ratings king Dan Le Batard, calling his show "sophomoric." (I absolutely love the irony of a a man who would approve "but you may turn gay" calling somebody else sophomoric). Anyway, we don't need no stinkin' Arbitron ratings. We're going to decide right here who's king of the South Florida radio airwaves. We'll take votes for at least a few days before declaring a champion. Vote now, and add a comment saying why you prefer one station over the other.
PANTHERS' GM A SMART CHOICE: How do I know? I don't. But Florida hiring Dale Tallon, 59 (pictured), as general manager appears to be a good move based on his track record and the Panthers' needs. He turned the Chicago Blackhawks around, into the team now playing for the conference title and a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals, in only three years. Most experts agreed he did not deserve to be demoted last summer from GM to senior adviser, but that demotion made him available. Call him a builder or a rebuilder; either is what the Cats needs to help end this embarrassing 10-year playoff drought and make the NHL matter in South Florida again.
THE LIST: LONGEST LOCAL PLAYOFF DROUGHTS: Why are the Panthers changing GM's yet again? Here's why. Playoff droughts of three or more consecutive seasons by our four major pro teams:
9 Panthers (2001-current)
6 Dolphins (2002-07)
6 Marlins (2004-current)
5 Marlins (1998-02)
4 Dolphins (1966-69)
4 Dolphins (1986-89)
4 Marlins (1993-96)
3 Dolphins (1975-77)
3 Heat (1989-91)