Who is "face" of Miami Marlins? Vote now (with poll); plus Panthers' momentous day, Kentucky reigns, uh-oh Heat, WrestleMania, Seinfeld, atheism & more
[1) It is Tuesday, April 3. Our yay-or-nay poll on WWE professional wrestling still welcomes your votes in the blogpost directly below this. 2) Ryan Leaf was arrested on burglary and drug possession charges in Montana. Headline: 'Draft Bust Busted.' 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.
DOLPHINS ACQUIRE PEYTON MANNING FROM BRONCOS FOR TWO FIRST-ROUND PICKS!: OK that headline was my token April Fool's joke from Sunday. Obligation met. Moving on now...
THE "FACE" OF THE MIAMI MARLINS IS...: ESPN named the "face" of every MLB franchise and for the Marlins it was manager Ozzie Guillen. ("Sounds like a poll!," I thought to myself. The timing is right, with the Marlins hosting the Yankees Sunday and again last night at the new ballpark prior to Wednesday's historic Opening Day). I can see the choice of Guillen but for me the current face of the franchise probably is Hanley Ramirez. How about for you? Use your own definition of what the "face of a franchise" even means. Is it always the biggest star? Is it the person who best represents the team? Is longevity a factor? For me it is the person who comes to mind first when you think "Marlins." And for me the face of a franchise demands a national perspective, not just local. What would a baseball fan in New York or California say? Then again I'm more interested in what Marlins fans think. The list is alphabetical, and apologies for initially having "Mike" Stanton instead of Giancarlo. Old habits, ya know? Vote and say why.
Click on Play Ball, Already for my latest column, off Sunday's Marlins-Yankees game.
MOMENTOUS DAY LOOMS FOR PANTHERS: This could be it. Tonight's home game against Winnipeg could find the Panthers clinching an NHL playoff spot after an 10-season drought, finally ending the long suffering of local hockey fans. Florida clinches -- and wins its first division title ever -- by winning tonight. Florida also would clinch if Buffalo lost, or if the Cats and Sabres boht earn only one standings point. Panthers' presumptive first-round playoff opponent looks like the New Jersey Devils. Toughdraw. Whatever. Playoffs! We've missed you Lord Stanley.
WRESTLEMANIA XVIII: CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKIN'?!: The Rock beat John Cena in Sunday night's featured Wrestlemania match at Dolphins stadium. Imagine that? The local hometown hero winning in an upset? FLABBERGASTING! Wrestling: It keeps surpring you, doesn't it? WWE filled the stadium. I kid pro wrestling; not a huge fan. But I respect the business model and how the sport constantly evolves and stays fresh. The packaging and marketing are spot-on.
SPECIAL K: KENTUCKY BEATS KANSAS IN NCAA FINAL: Can anybody stop Kentucky? Since you asked ... no. As coach John Calipari's nearly NBA-ready Cats proved again last night. The 67-59 margin over Kansas suggested a reasonably close game but it didn't feel that way. Felt like Kentcuky was in control throughout. I had Kentucky winning it all in my pool but was long-eliminated from the money pot so found myself rooting for underdog Kansas. That was the team of juniors and seniors against the one-and-done crowd from Kentucky. Credit where it's due, though. Youth was served.
BIKINIS NOW OPTIONAL IN BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Beginning this summer the Olympics will make bikinis optional in women's beach volleyball. I got excited when I heard that because I thought it would be, like, a clothing-optional beach or something. Instead it means women can now dress more modestly in shorts and sleeved tops if they wish. I find this an outrage! A travesty!! Television ratings will plummet as a once-cheeky, titillating sport (yes I can say that in a blog) dresses up, tones down and becomes just another competition. The operative word here is "barely." That word used to describe why most men watched. Covered up, the word will describe most men's interest level.
SHARAPOVA THE SHRIEKER LOSES, DJOKOVIC WINS: Maria "Shriekin'" Sharapova was favored but error-prone and lost Saturday to Agnieszka Radwanska in the women's tennis final down on Key Biscayne. Her loud grunt-squeals on every shot are annoying but when you play that well (except not this time) and look that good (see photo), such idiosyncracies are indulged. Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray as expected Sunday in the largely grunt-squeal-shriek-free men's final.
DWYANE WADE'S NEPHEW SHOT: A nephew of Dwyane Wade, nine years younger, was among six young men shot (one fatally) outside a store on Chicago's South Side late Thursday. Click here for the story. Wade said he expects his relative to recover and that he played with a "heavy heart" in last night's win in Toronto. Just days ago Heat players took a photo wearing hoodies in support of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen killed by a neighborhood-watch guard. Now, for Wade, the gun violence that his foundation works to fight has hit closer to home.
Heat's uh-oh moment in Boston: The week needn't wait for Wednesday's visit by Oklahama City for its drama. Sunday's blowout loss at Boston found the Celtics hot, and a very possible first-round playoff opponent for Miami and a tough draw. Miami was anything but hot. Never I thought I'd see the Big 3 Heat score only 72 points. Celts are creaky-old but still find ways to win. Oprah had her a-ha moment. The Heat (on the road at least) keep giving us uh-oh moments.
HOW WOULD GOD FEEL ABOUT ATHEISTS?: Saw a thought-provoking bumper sticker today that declared, 'God Doesn't Believe In Atheists.' Now I'm no expert on theology, but I am led to think a God who is all about forgiveness would hold no animus against (and therefore, in effect, believe in) His non-believers.
MINI-REVIEW: JERRY SEINFELD LIVE: Saw Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up act at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts the other night. (Because when your wife buys two tickets, you don't complain about missing the NCAA basketball semifinals on TV. You say, "Thanks, dear.") I'm a fan of his but not one of those worshipping types who still watches Seinfeld re-runs for the 34th time and laughs all over again. Anyway, I thought his show was great. I mean great. Nothing ground-breaking, just observational humor about everyday stuff. (A schtick about nothing...) No jokes would even be LOL in print. It's all timing and delivery with this guy, and he's a master. Audience howling. Not a single reference to his long-running, iconic, eponymous sitcom, but no matter. Terrific performance.
THE LIST: THE FLORIDA DERBY: In honor of Saturday's 61st running of the Florida Derby at Gulfstream -- a Take Charge indy upset over favored Union Rags -- here are the 12 Fla-Derby winners who went on to win the Kentucky Derby:
2008 Big Brown
1995 Thunder Gulch
1979 Spectacular Bid
1968 Forward Pass
1964 Northern Dancer
1961 Carry Back
1958 Tim Tam
Click back. Will be updating and adding to this latest blogpost...