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38 posts from October 2006

October 23, 2006

Unsportsmanlike: Mon 10-23

     Occasional quick hits on topical oddities in pop culture, news and sometimes even sports...

     Aaeid_1Maybe it's just me. I could be wrong. But I believe my newspaper may have  cracked a vertebrae or two bending over backward today with the page 1A above-the-masthead declaration: HAPPY EID-AL-FITR. Considering 95 percent of South Floridians believe Ramadan is an inexpensive hotel chain, what are we thinking? For the love of Prophet Mohammed!

     MSN carries a feature (find it here) on the world's 10 most haunted, scariest places. I checked it out just to satisfy in my own mind that the list did not include Nick Saban's office.

     As we've mentioned before here, scientists are developing a so-called "cloak of invisibility." Unfortunately, it will not be completed in time to make this Dolphins season disappear.

     Is anybody out there familiar with the "Fantasy Blog Stock Market"? I've had a couple of e-mailers tell me they invest in my blog and I have no idea how to respond except to urge them to divest immediately.Aadumb

     Hey, feel good about yourself. Millions of people are much dumber than you, and here's another one!

     Madonna's adoption of that 13-month-old boy from Malawi is in jeopardy. Dear Madonna: If that falls through, would you consider a surly 15-year-old from South Florida who claims he never has homework whenever I ask him?

     Question: If you combined the country music star who just entered rehab with the Florida Gators football coach, would you have a man named Urban Urban?

     Harry Potter nude!

     Saw the headline "Egg salad recalled in 17 states." And I'm thinking: Was the egg salad so outstanding that it was really that memorable?

October 22, 2006

G7: Packers 34, Dolphins 24

Aapack_1 Aadolphins      (A scary Dolphin fan-face Halloween mask represents Miami here. Tried to update appropriately following the game, but could not locate a mask that was frowning or weeping).

     Well, your Dolphins returned home today after an 0-3 road trip, but home was where the hurt is: a 34-24 loss to Brett Favre and the underdog Packers. I liked the Dolphins to cover in what I thought could turn into a pointfest. At least I got the pointfest part right.

     You'd find my game column here if you'd like.

     Finally the Dolphins offense showed some life -- topping 17 points for the first time all season -- and the Miami defense takes a crap instead. Pardon my French. This team simply cannot seem to be a complete team, all together, on the same Sunday. Now playoff hopes are all but mathematically expired at 1-6, with a trip to Chicago up next after a bye.

     Comments welcome below on the game (why it was lost) and where it leaves the season as it nears its midway point.

October 21, 2006

UM 20, Duke 15, Brawls 0

     Not a real impressive win by the Hurricanes, even shorthanded, but a win nonetheless. And best of all? Nothing in it to make Youtube, to feed ESPN SportsCenter for the next five days, or to foist Donna Shalala in front of a microphone.

     Comment if you'd like on the game and where it leaves the UM season.

     On a day when FSU lost to Boston College, a week after Florida's title hopes were submarined, a win is a win is a win. Right?

October 20, 2006

Name the greatest QB ever

     I believe there is a great chance that the consensus of football opinion, a generation from now, is going to be that that the greatest quarterback in NFL history was the man facing the Dolphins Sunday: Brett Favre. (Find today's related column by clicking here).

     The argument obviously will prominently still include Dan Marino and Joe Montana, along with elders like Johnny Unitas and more recent stars such as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

     But Favreites will note their man overtook Marino for career TD passes (likely later this season), owns a record three league MVP awards, has a dad-blasted Super Bowl ring, plus that untouchable ironman streak. Prolific stats, the MVPs, an almighty ring, the durability, the gunslinger aura ... nobody else will have all of those things the way Brett does.

     So, say it's 20 years from now. How do you think the six QBs we've mentioned here (or someone else of your choosing; Graham-Bradshaw-Elway-Young etc etc etc) will be judged when fans are arguing about the greatest ever?Aabrady_1 Aafavre  Aamanning AamarinoAamontana Aaunitas_1

October 18, 2006


     Inviting your opinions on what has been a huge local story and also become a major national sports story the past several days...

THE COVERAGE -- Media and fan reaction to Saturday night's brawl has been:
Too little
About right
THE BLAME -- The fight starting primarily was the fault of:
Both equally
THE PUNISHMENT -- Overall, the disciplining of the involved players generally has been:
Too harsh
Too lenient
About right
THE COACHES -- Should the brawl be a factor in whether Larry Coker and Don Strock keep their jobs?
Yes but only a minor one
THE SERIES -- The UM-FIU football series should:
Not continue

Unsportsmanlike: Thu 10-19

     Occasional quick hits on topical oddities in news, pop culture and sometimes even sports...

Atony_1      Cardinals at Mets tonight, Game 7 for a World Series berth. Delicious! Who you like? I take Birds even though Tony LaRussa looks ridiculous wearing sunglasses at night. Cannot get behind a starting Mets pitcher (Oliver Perez) who is 4-13 with a 6.62 ERA. Haven't seen numbers that ugly since my NFL Week 6 record against the spread.

     You happen to catch FAU's 6-0 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette on ESPN2 last night? The Owls played terrific defense but looked absolutely inept on offense. For a second I thought I was watching a Dolphins game.

     Sports columnists always know when a local story has gone national. It's the phone calls. I've done ESPN's Outside the Lines, MSNBC and a bunch of radio guest-shots on the UM-FIU brawl just in the past few days. Always a delicious irony in this business, by the way: To argue that a story is overblown, yet be a part of the excess.

     Why I'm a Landlubber, Reason No. 486.

     The Broward School Board made a stunning, outrageous decision in dumping successful Superintendent Frank Till, thanks to a baseless coup led by board member Stephanie Kraft. If you agree, let her know what you think: stephanie.kraft@browardschools.com

Agayguys_2     By the way, close pals Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey have issued a statement denying they are gay. Although they look pretty damned happy right here.

     Hey! Put the fun back in dying. Cheer from the grave.

     The NFL has joined the fight against childhood obesity, which is probably only funny  to someone who has been in postgame lockerroms and seen way too many offensive linemen shirtless.

Today's Column: On Nick Saban

     Most days we have a column appear in The Miami Herald, we post a blog entry on it and invite your dissent, agreement or any response in between.

     Today's Column: Find it here. We write about the growing heat on Nick Saban, how he has gone from hero to hotseat in nine months. Don't mistake this for a Fire Nick Saban column or anything close. I wouldn't call his job in jeopardy unless 2007 is as disappointing as this one. But there is fan disenchantment with him at least among a vocal minority.

     What is your approval rating on Saban almost 1 1/2 seasons into his Dolphins regime?

Ask the Blogmaster General (October)

Aq_9    [Updated Thursday morning, 10-19: The question window for October has nicked shut. Pretty good response. Thanks. Ask the Blogmaster General will return mid-November].

     We're back with the latest episode of our incredibly semipopular mid-month feature, in which I directly answer any questions you may have for me.

     The daily give-and-take in this blog is your forum. I read all comments and appreciate the participation, but want the last word to be yours. However, once a month, I invite and reply to your Q's on a variety of topics including but not limited to: Me, this blog, my columns, sports writing, The Miami Herald, the competition, local teams, national stories, singing on the radio and gourmet cooking.

     Any questions you've posted to me in the daily blogs that have gone unanswered -- now is the time and this is the place. I'll check back periodically throughout the next couple of days and reply with the exactitude and alacrity you have come to expect.

October 17, 2006

Unsportsmanlike: Tue 10-17

     Occasional quick hits on topical oddities in news, pop culture and sometimes even sports...

     Sorry, but the overreaction to the UM-FIU football brawl has reached a level of political correctness begging ridicule. Local and especially national reaction leads you to believe this was the worst riot in history. I keep looking for a body count. Please. Enough. Both teams played a role in a fight that got out of hand, OK? A bunch of involved players acted like true idiots. Both coaches disciplined a slew of them. Nobody is excusing the behavior. Everybody is sorry. We are all properly outraged. Now can we move on already?Ae

     Why did E. Clay Shaw drop the E? And will it become a trend that leads the E. coli virus to do the same?

     If the Chicago Bears really do make a run at a Perfect Season, look to Monday night's winning rally from a 20-0 deficit as the moment the '72 Dolphins first reached for the Pepto.

     Steve Irwin's 8-year-old daughter is set to star on TV in a new wildlife series. One word. Creepy.

     The Heat plays its first home exhibition game tonight, answering the question, "Is there anything in sports even more meaningless than an NFL preseason game?"

     A woman from Athens, Ga., was ticketed for having Abush_3an anti-Bush car bumper sticker that read, 'I'm Tired of all the Bushit.' DeKalb County police explained that they were unaware of the First Amendment.

     In case you are ever presented the option and don't know what to do: Never, ever swerve to avoid a flying bra.

     Question: When do you know a has-been fighter has reached the nadir of an embarrassing, desperate, pathetic need for attention? Answer: Mike Tyson is talking about fighting women.

     Marlins president David Samson is training for the Ironman triathlon Saturday in Hawaii, and is expected to do well because the event suits all of his areas of expertise. The competition includes a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike race, a 26.2-mile marathon, and not getting a new baseball stadium built.

October 16, 2006

UM-FIU: Take me out to the brawlgame

Acanes_6 Afiu

[Updated Monday, 10-16: Miami beating FIU, 35-0, will be remembered as the game whose third-quarter brawl led to 13 ejections (eight of them FIU players) and later to 31 suspensions (18 of them FIU). Today's column by me on the brawl, you'd find here].

     Well, the moment arrived. After gradually building anticipation, the day and hour we had all anxiously awaited finally came. Ladies and gentlemen ... it was at last time for ... a really bad football game! Just like we figured.

     It had better have been, from a Hurricanes perspective. It was insulting enough that the once-mighty 'Canes were "only" a four-TD favorite against their winless kid brothers from across town.

     Getting a kick out of the "official" overreaction to the brawl, including today's "open letter" from UM president Donna Shalala, who calls the five-minute melee "an mebarrassment to the teams, our universities and our communities."

     Well, mostly it as an embarrassment to the players involved. As a member of our community, I can tell you I am not the least bit embarrassed. I can also say -- on behalf of most UM fans, I think -- that the embarrassment would have been far greater if a sportsmanlike performance by both teams had resulted in a Hurricanes loss.

     Weigh in here on the game and the brawl and what you see as the future of the series.