Grade owners Arison, Loria and Ross. Three polls. Vote!; plus Bonds/Clemens hall snub, Musberger & the beauty queen, Heat, 'Bama/UM & more
1) It is WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9. Heat today signed forward Jarvis Varnado to 10-day contract. 2) From Bovada: Alabama an early (really early) 5-1 favorite to repeat as national champ, following by Oregon 8-1 and Ohio State 17-2. Florida and FSU lurking at 14-1. UM Canes tied for 11th at 25-1. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
Roll Tide! Miami crowns unfavorite son Saban; UM gets a hard lesson: You could have an arduous debate whether Monday's 42-14 rout was due to Alabama's wonderfulness or Notre Dame proving overrated. I'll take the former. Click on Give The Devil His Due for my column off the game centered on Saban's continued reign. Another quick thought more parochial: 'Bama destroyed the Irish; Irish dominated the Canes this season. I think we just got a measure on how far UM is from being championship caliber.
GRADE MIAMI'S BIG 3 SPORTS-TEAM OWNERS: They have been in the news lately. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had his postseason state-of-the-team address this week (he likes his Philbin/Tannehill frontline and says he'll open his wallet to win). Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, of course, was at the center of the latest cost-cutting, angering many fans. Even Heat owner Micky Arison, more of a background guy, made news with a Tweet tweaking Heat fans for not being satisfied. [I am purposely but without malice excluding the Florida Panthers' owner Cliff Viner, who simply is not known to nearly the degree of the other three]. Arison, Loria and Ross are pictured, left to right. This is not a poll on your favorite or least favorite team, but on these three men and their ownership/leadership. I invite you to step back and look at all of the Big 3 owners with fresh eyes and a big-picture perspective here. For example, should one weigh credit for the new ballpark against any animus toward Loria? By however you think a team owner ought to be judged, give a grade to each and say why. There are three polls below, followed by other bloggy stuff.
HALL VOTERS TAKE EASY ROAD ON BONDS/CLEMENS, BUT NOT RIGHT ONE: Today nobody was elected for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time since 1996 -- with notable snubs led by first-time balloteers Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the Steroids Era poster children. Click on Voters Predictable, But Not Right for my latest column, online now and shipping to Thursday's inky pulp editions. Craig Biggio's 68.2 percent of the vote came closest to the required 75%. Clemens (37.6) and Bonds (36.2) garnered around half the needed support. Local aside: Of 37 men on the ballot, 11 including "Mr. Marlin" Jeff Conine got zero votes.
ON MUSBERGER AND THE BEAUTY QUEEN: I tried to avoid this topic but ESPN forced my hand with its stupid public apology for Brent Musberger's comments about Miss Alabama during Monday's BCS National Championship at Dolphins stadium. You are in a coma in Tibet if you don't know by now that Miss A is Katherine Webb and that she dates 'Bama QB AJ McCarron. Well, of course, she was shown on screen for about 30 seconds during the game -- it was a game where diversions from the actual football were welcome -- and a very-impressed Musberger called her a "lovely lady" and said "What a beautful woman!" and added: "Wow. Whoa!" It was cartoon-sexist but also harmless, like a playfully lecherous wink from Gramps, especially from a 73-year-old broadcaster who also used the word "youngsters" in the same sound bite. But hypocritical ESPN huffed and puffed and said, "We apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that." Two thoughts. 1) ESPN should apologize for itself, if anything. It was in their production meeting that someone surely mentioned the need to exploit capitalize on the star player having a sexy girlfriend. 2) Have we really reached a point where a TV commentator cannot remark favorably on the appearance of a woman who exploits trades in her own good looks? Seriously? This woman promenades in bleepin' BEAUTY PAGEANTS! Her entire being and life's goal is encapsulated by a sash that reads, AREN'T I HOT!? She is Miss !@#$ing Alabama! But old Brent can't say she's beautful!? Good lord on a horse.
HEAT OPEN ROAD TRIP BADLY: Miami lost 87-77 in Indy last night, a season low for points scored, but the story again was rebounding, or lack of. Heat got out-boarded 55-36, including 22-7 on the offensive end. Warning signs, or at least concern signs, continue for Miami.
Birdman to Heat?: Miami worked out and is considering signing unemployed center Chris "Birdman" Anderson, 34, the former Denver free-spirit who is an aggressive rebounder (a Heat need) but mostly known for his tattoos, evolving hair styles and, well, weirdness. He'd be an interesting hire. For the rebounds, and for the variety. Maybe a jolt in the dressing room would do the team some good.
SAFE-DRIVING SONGS: A study by London Metropolitan University (which obviously has more grant money than it needs) has determined the 10 songs most conducive to safe driving. It's related to heartbeat or pulse rate or some such thing. Click here for the story and list. Hint: One of the song's lyrics is (or should be): "Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer. Don't hit those other headlights on the hiiiighway..."
FUNNY FAKE ADS THAT SEEM REAL: Many know that the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain is owned by a very conservative family that leans on the Bible to oppose homesexuality. It is why many boycott Chick-fil-A and why others have rallied behind it. With all that in mind, I find this spoof ad funny.
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