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March 26, 2013

End of Miami Herald as we know it (weird stuff found in my long-abandoned desk); plus reason for Heat to worry, Reggie Johnson, Dolphins, Marlins & more

[1) It is TUESDAY, MARCH 26. Reggie Johnson out. Canes big center will be sidelined by a knee ailment at least until the Final Four, if UM's run goes that far. That would have seemed a big loss, once. Now it doesn't. 2) Congrats to Tiger Woods for reclaiming the No. 1 ranking in golf. Now win The Masters, or it won't matter. 3) Didn't do my regular Tuesday in-studio radio spot today on 790/104.3 because LeBatard and Stugotz are on vacation the rest of this week. 4) In the Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes, Heat keep the roll on, Madness, face of Cinderella, Marlins. 5) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

Click on Hoopla: State of Basketball for today's latest column by me, on the Canes and Heat leading the bouncing ball's encroachment on what once was an uncontested football state.

THEY CALLED IT A TOAST. IT FELT LIKE A EULOGY: The other day hundreds of current and former Herald employees (me included) gathered at the doomed building at 1 Herald Plaza (pictured) for a 1aa1heraldproper farewell. The block-long, five-story landmark will soon be razed by the land's new owner, Genting, a Malaysian development corporation that plans to build a resort and (it hopes) a casino. Toasts were made as champagne glasses clinked, but the whole thing was sad. To me, The Herald selling its iconic bayside home and heading to smaller digs in Doral is a metaphor for the state of the newspaper industry. I cleaned out my desk while there, filling cardboards boxes with pieces of my past. It was not as emotional for me as I'd imagined because that was a building and a desk I'd visited less and less over the years. I was surprised by some of the stuff in those desk drawers that I boxed and brought home. Thought you might be interested in a random list...

1aa1desk2 1aa1deskStuff Found In a Sports Writer's Long-Abandoned Desk: This was the cubicle they had Le Batard and I share, so seldom were either of us actually there, let alone together. Here is a random list of a small portion of the stuff I unearthed from the clutter of my desk drawers...

* Tabloid-sized special section for Barcelona Olympics I covered, dated July 23, 1992.

1aa1brownj* Program from Jerome Brown's funeral in Brooksville, Fla., July 2, 1992.

* A 1967 issue of Miami Football, "The First Magazine to Cover Exclusively the University of Miami, Dolphins and Dade County High Schools."

* A Soccer Bowl/'80 special section, dated Sept. 20, 1980; Strikers vs. Cosmos.

* Program from Florida Panthers inaugural game, Miami Arena, Oct. 12, 1993.

1aa1exit* Dust-covered plastic 'Exit' sign. (Symbolism!)

1aa1plaque* Small third-place plaque for sports columns in 2006 from Florida Sports Writers Association. (Never knew about this. Probably just as well...)

1aa1jj* Personalized hand-written (undated) note from Jimmy Johnson thanking me for attending a UM roast. Including, "Thanks for being so nice to my parents."

* Hand-written letter from Ferdie Pacheco (8/29/97) praising me for something I'd written about Jake Scott.

* Golf ball bearing Oregon Ducks logo.

1aa1bowl2* Six-pack of 8-ounce Coca-Cola bottles with Super Bowl II logos, Orange Bowl, Jan. 14, 1968.

* Self-help book (Get a Grip On Your Dream) written by long-lost friend and former colleague, Peter Jeff.

* A baseball signed, "To Greg, All my best, Bruce Sutter HOF06." (Whom I've never met).

* Press pass No. 0523 from 1994 World Cup Opening Ceremony, July 17, Rose Bowl.

* Working Media clubhouse pass No. 00052 for Games 1-2-6-7 of 1997 World Series.

* And dozens of old media guides including, of note, the inaugural-season guides for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (1977), Florida Marlins (1993), Florida Panthers (1993-94) and Major League Soccer (1996).  

A REASON FOR HEAT FANS TO WORRY (YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE...): A Heat-fan friend texted me last night that this was unnatural and felt weird. "I feel like I need something to 1aa1heatcardcomplain or worry about," he wrote. I get his point. This 27-game winning streak (next test: Wednesday at Chicago) finds Miami playing at such a high level that everything seems perfect. Too perfect? That's where I come in! Worry Point I: The Heat is Peaking Too Soon! Miami is so hell-bent on breaking the Lakers' 33-game streak and putting so much into it that they are spending mental and physical energy now that they could then be missing in the playoffs. Worry Point II: LeBron James Is Wearing Himself Out. He has been NBA player of the month in November, December, January and February (likely March, too). Better he should save that level of play for May and June. OK there's your starter kit. Now, ready, set ... worry!

THE DOLPHINS REALLY, REALLY WANT YOUR VOTE: The Dolphins are doing everything they can to win that upcoming referendum vote on almost $200 million in public funds for stadium improvements. They 1aa1dolphnewhave offered to pay the cost of the county-wide vote. Now they are offering to eventually repay what the county would put up, and also to pay penalties if they fail to deliver promised major events including at least four future Super Bowls. All of this is designed to position the Dolphins as square-shooters who are not out to urinate in the public trough. They might as well cut to the chase and just buy billboards that shout, WE'RE NOT JEFFREY LORIA! I expect that, next, the club will offer to have Dolphins players personally drive voters to the polls and have team cheerleaders on your lawn thanking you with Rockettes-style scissor kicks upon your return.

MARCH MADNESS UPDATE: FGCU COACH'S WIFE STILL A HOTTIE: Men's NCAA Tournament doesn't resume 1aa1amandamuntil Thursday and Friday with Sweet 16 games -- UM faces Georgetown Thursday night in Washington, D.C., all but a road game for the slightly favored Canes -- but on this break we'd like to report that Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield continues to have a wife who looks even better than his team plays. And FGCU is about to be eliminated by Florida, so I need to picture and praise Amanda Marcum while I can. It just occured to me that I have become Brent Musberger. This is sad. But not so sad that I would not find this photo to be a distinct blog enhancement.

DOWN-CELLAR WITH THE MARLINS: Sports Illustrated's new baseball preview issue is the latest to consign the Marlins to a predicted last-place finish in the NL East. SI has the Nationals over the Rays in the World Series. One bright spot: The mag projects Giancarlo Stanton as the NL home run leader with 43. (Those might be the only 43 times all season Stanton is not purposely walked).

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

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