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Marlins fans' dilemma: Can you hate owner, support team? New poll. Vote!; plus FIU loses Pitino, "Schul-man!", Heat, Dolphins & more

1) It is THURSDAY, APRIL 4. New blogpost coming later today. 2) Dan Marino a big underdog to Joe Montana head-to-head in Sweet 16 voting for 'Madden 25' cover. Click here to vote. 3) R.I.P., Ralph Sanchez. If you live in South Florida and you care about auto racing, he deserved your thanks. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins open season, Final Four poll, Ricky Williams' new song, Heat-Spurs, Cavalcade of Creepy Easter Bunnies. 5) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

1aa1kidpitinoFIU losing Richard Pitino after one season: Men's basketball coach Richard Pitino has left FIU after one season for the Minnesota Gophers. It is no surprise. This was a stepping stone all the way for the son of Louisville's Famous Rick. Too bad for The Int'l, though. Kid Pitino did well, piloting an 18-14 season that fell one win shy of an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

MARLINS FANS' DILEMMA: SHOULD DISDAIN FOR LORIA BE TAKEN OUT ON TEAM?: This is a difficult decision without a right answer, and I think either viewpoint should be respected by the other side. I 1aa1marlinstackle this issue in today's latest column; click Marlins Deserve Support Despite Loria to read. The headline on the column (Marlins deserve our support) is a bit misleading because it allows a lazy reader -- don't get me wrong, lazy readers are better than non-readers! -- to think I mean Loria deserves support. He does not; he deserves the disdain he gets, for reasons I outline. But I think Marlins fans must be bigger than the current team owner. Supporting the blameless players in the uniform supports Loria financially much less than it simply supports the hometown team and the idea of baseball here. I am interested in your thoughts. Can you be a Marlins fan while also having disdain for Loria, or are those two things mutually exclusive? We ran a similar poll back in November but it's time for another pulse-read with the home opener just days away. Remember, this is NOT asking whether you support Loria. This is asking how someone who calls himself a Marlins fan should feel toward the team right now. Vote and say why.

Heath Hell Bell has not changed: Former Marlins closer Heath Bell gave up four hits, two home runs and three runs in 1/3 inning in his Arizona debut last night before being lifted to a rain of boos. Sound familiar?

UPDATE: HERALD'S HEAT 'MOST INFLUENTIAL' BALLOT ADDS TICKET TAKER, BALL-INFLATER: I make fun of my own newspaper when warranted (appreciating that The Herald usually is thick-skinned) and feel an obligation to do so over our ongoing poll to name the 1aa1heat25Heat's 25 most influential figures marking the club's 25th anniversary season. You can vote here if you have time to wend through a bloated ballot that started with 46 people and quickly, quietly and mysteriously ballooned to 62 because some folks left off the initial ballot evidently registered their pique. Leading the vote so far are who you'd expect: Pat Riley, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Alonzo Mourning. On the bubble at No. 25, when last I checked, was Grant Long. The eventual final list of 25 will be legit. So is the idea of the poll. It is the ridiculous names on the ballot that beg lampooning. The lowest vote-getters when last I checked included broadcaster John Crotty, arena noisemaker DJ Irie, the Golden Oldies, broadcaster Mike Inglis, team doctor Harlan Selesnick, and front-office background executives Michael McCullough, Kim Stone and Eric Woolworth. Stone had surged ahead of McCullough, 2 votes to 1aa1burnie1, in the battle for last place as of this morning. Also on the ballot and drawing less than one-quarter of 1 percent of the vote: mascot Burnie (pictured) and the Heat Dancers. Was there anyone -- anyone at all!? -- who thought or said aloud, "Why are we putting Harlan Selesnick and the Golden Oldies on the ballot?" Surely the ballot should have swelled to at least 100 so we might have included the kid who mops up the sweat on the hardwood, the guy manning the T-shirt cannon, and the abuela selling game-night 1aa1bananaarepas off Biscayne. Clearly, though, the most egregious, inexcusable ballot omission of all? Banana Man!

STUFF THE BALLOT FOR SAMMY SCHULMAN!: Blog friends, I ask you unabashedly to stuff The Herald's 'Heat 25' ballot for Sammy 1aa1sammysSchulman and to encourage everyone you know to do the same. He is the face of the behind-the-scenes guy who few know but who deserves some public love! Schulman (pictured) is an original club employee who has risen to executive vice president and chief financial officer. He is one of Riley's most trusted right-hand men, and the man most responsible for keeping the franchise's and arena's financial houses in order. Click HERE to vote as many times as you like. He is up to 34th in the overall voting and climbing! Let's rally behind Schulman. Schulman! SCHUL-MAN, SCHUL-MAN, SCHUL-MAN!!

1aa1lebronfakeThree thoughts on star-less Heat's home loss to Knicks: 1) When LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sit out, never be the least bit surprised by a Miami loss. 2) Carmelo Anthony, when in his zone, is as good a scorer as anybody in the sport. 3) Nobody looks good wearing an orange hat. Especially you, Spike Lee. Pictured left is the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's April Fool's joke on readers yesterday. It also serves as a deferred nightmare for Heat fans.

1aa1dolfanfanDOLPHINS FAN TO ANNOUNCE DRAFT PICK: Longtime season-ticket holder Giovanni Estevez of Miramar has won a club promotion to announce the team's fourth-round pick of the NFL Draft in New York on April 27. I'd pay him a hundred bucks to announce his own name. The lucky fan is pictured with the giant, creepy-looking likenesses of Dan Marino and Don Shula. Bo caption was provided, but I'd guess Giovanni is the one in the middle.

Poll result: Most rooting for underdog Wichita State in Final Four: We asked not for a prediction but for who you most want to win the men's Final Four (you may still vote in blogpost directly below), and underdog No. 9 seed Wichita State led comfortably with 36.1 percent. After that it was Louisville 29.5, Michigan 21.7 and Syracuse 12.7.

1aa1catheadDEAR GREG...: "...Your blog's OK but would be better if occasionally you would show a man walking down a busy street with a cat on is head. Thank you." Dear reader: Don't be silly.

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